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

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