Winter Covers

Covering greens to protect them from winter injury (see Winter Injury publication) are often used in the northern temperate regions. Covers can be broken down into two major categories permeable and impermeable. Permeable covers allow for air, light, and water to penetrate the cover. Permeable covers are used to protect greens from wind and sun exposure (desiccation). In addition they are often used in the spring to promote spring green-up and where turf has been damaged used to help in turf recovery.

Impermeable covers are resistant to air and water penetration. They are most often used in areas where extreme cold and long-term winter conditions exist that can result in a high probability of winter injury.

Covers may also be used in conjunction with an insulating layer, which may add additional protection to the turf. Insulating covers can be straw, foam or fiber type products. It is important to keep insulating layers dry as possible.


Larsen, A. 2010. Protecting greens in winter: A cost benefit analysis can help superintendents design a winter injury program that suits their needs. Golf Course Management 78(3): 86-102.

Dionne, J. 2008. Under the covers: Putting protective covers to the test. GreenMaster 43(4):16-20.

Table (Larsen, 2010) 

Cover Type Desiccation Freeze Injury Freeze Smothering Advantages
Permeable non-insulating Yes No No Accelerated spring green-up, easy to install and remove
Permeable insulating Yes Yes/No Yes Pretty good against winter injury
Impermeable Yes Yes Yes Effective for freeze injury