Monthly Archives: January 2011

January 17th

Over the last week we’ve had the predicted mild and wet weather system dominating the weather, with a good drop of rain and some mild temperatures up to 13.5°C in the Midlands. Soil temperatures have increased dramatically because the rain that fell was 10C and so soil temperatures quickly increased from 4.5°C to 9 – 10°C. I’ve also noticed a bit of growth on greens and longer height of cut areas as dormant feeds have kicked in, so this will help to grow some of those old disease scars / frost damage out, if indeed you have either.

The weather is now set to settle down for the next 7-10 days with winds dropping and high pressure establishing itself over the U.K and Ireland, so that will mean cooler days and nights with frosts returning early this week. These frosts will be nothing like the magnitude we’ve experienced in November / December, dipping to maybe -1°or -2°C at their worst, with daytime temperatures around 5 – 6°C. Frost likelihood and severity will be entirely dependent on cloud cover in the evening, but I expect Ireland to go into frosts from tonight and then Scotland, the north of England and the south to follow from Tuesday, though the far South and South-West may sit at 0°C . The highest risk of frost is on Thursday and Friday morning and this may be accompanied by fog. It looks like January will see itself out in this pattern, so we then look forward to the first two weeks of February, traditionally the coldest of the year, though this year I’m not so sure. The jetstream is forecast to remain high and if it does, that will stop cold, Artic air from pushing in, but we’ll see as that is two weeks away and alot can change in that time.

Rainfall-wise, there’s a likelihood of rain on Tuesday morning in the south-west and south-east England, but otherwise pretty dry, so that means we have a pretty good spraying week coming up once this rain has moved away and hopefully areas will dry out nicely over the next week or so.

Agronomically speaking, we currently have a bit of growth with the mild temperatures and rainfall of last week with soil temperatures presently sitting at around 7.5 -8.0°C.

Now is a good opportunity to aerate if the greens are workable, be it solid tining, hollow coring or vertidraining because the grass plant will be developing roots during these conditions and sometimes this window is better than the one we get in April for recovery and also minimsing disruption to golfers.

Disease activity seems confined to the patches that appeared after the snow with little sign of new activity, though off-green areas are still showing plenty of activity where snow mold established itself last month. I would hope that if your disease population has been kept low up until now on greens, this will remain so with the help of plant hardeners, etc, without the need to apply a fungicide.

All the best
Mark Hunt

January 6th

Happy New Year to you and the best for 2011.

Looking back briefly to my last forecast pre-Christmas, it was pretty accurate with the predicted thaw and subsequent milder weather than of late. Most courses re-opened on the Tuesday and Wednesday of that week, but this really depended on the depth of snow cover on the ground. I’m happy to say Paddy Power paid out early (again) on all my bets (why?) and therefore Christmas was a relatively cheap affair.

Looking at our current weather, we have a cold low pressure which is giving cold rain, sleet and snow over higher elevations at present with the majority restricted to the far S.East of the U.K. Another band of wet weather comes in on Friday morning to the S.West of England first and extends north and west as it goes meaning the start of the weekend will be showery for Ireland and Scotland as well, with some of those showers falling as snow, sleet or very cold rain. Sunday is a clear day by and large for all before a new weather front moves into Ireland on Monday morning bringing rain to Kerry and Cork early doors, with showers affecting the west side of the U.K on Monday and further East on Tuesday.

A new rain pulse is forecast for mid-week next week on a strong Jet Stream, so this means a mild pulse of weather will briefly make itself felt on Wednesday and Thursday with strong westerly winds and temperatures I think hitting double figures for a brief interlude. Looking further ahead, it wil cool again, but I think another low pressure will rattle in from the west at the end of next week, so no return to the snowfall of December on the horizon and with a strong Jet Stream pulse, I think January will turn out to be sunshine and showers.

Feedback from most courses has been good with respect to low levels of Fusarium / Snow Mold on greens, but much higher levels on higher-cut turf, particularly tees, tee banks, approaches, surrounds and fairways. This turf has matted down with the weight of the snow, so if possible, a light brush to flick out the dead tissue and the mycelium, followed by an application of fertiliser to try and encourage new growth will be useful.

There’s also alot of Red Thread around as growth has been non-existent for the last 6 weeks and the grass plant is at a low nutrient status. Next weeks milder weather will see the first growth of 2011, so now is a good time to get on light tonics to greens if they’ve paled off, or apply winter granulars, particularly high iron products on mossy areas.

All the best
Mark Hunt