Monthly Archives: February 2011

February 28th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

High pressure is set to dominate the weather at present and for the next 7 days at least, as the predicted Atlantic high has moved into situ over the UK and Ireland.

There are a number of consequences of this ;

a) A cooler North wind will dominate proceedings making it feel a tad parky.
b) It’ll be drier than of late after last weeks predicted rainfall
c) A return to ground frosts if cloud cover breaks over your location

So cooler, but drier, is the order of the day as we head into March, with the early part of this week cooler than the end of the week, but typically temperatures will be in mid to high single figures during the day and around 0 – 2°C during the night, but that really depends on cloud cover.

Regional Specifics

For once we have a pretty similar weather pattern over the entire UK and Ireland, so once early showers have moved away on Monday, I can’t see much rainfall thereafter for any area. There’s always a chance of moisture coming in off the North-Sea when the wind is in this direction, so the highest likelihood of showers will be in the East of the U.K and The Midlands. Cloud cover-wise the clearest days look like being towards the end of the week and we should pick up a slightly milder air flow by then to raise daytime temperatures.

Next Weekend and Outlook

After a reasonable, but coolish, dry weekend with light winds from the North-East, we should pick up a bit more temperature as the wind swings round to the South-East,
The chances of ground frost look as high, if not higher than this week, but again we look like staying dry, so that’s probably good news for those of you involved with aeration or finishing off winter projects. I’m keeping my eye on a very deep, low pressure system that is currently projected to skirt over us towards the end of next week.
This is carrying cold air and snow, but at present is projected to pass north of the UK, propped up by the Jet Stream, but we’ll see.

So to summarise, March will start dry and cool.

Agronomics

I’d expect growth on greens to be slow for the beginning of March as the combination of dry-cold is never one to stimulate much above ground.

That said, it is good for stimulating root growth, so any early March aeration should encourage some new rooting, though recovery will be slow until we move out of this weather system. Off-green areas, like tees, approaches and fairways should tick along nicely, but any granular applied this week and next will be slow to kick in as granule breakdown will be slow with the lack of moisture. After last weeks milder and wetter weather, I’d expect Fusarium to be active, but it shouldn’t be too aggressive with the cooler weather forecast. I’ve had some reports of Bibionid Fly activity, so expect pecking activity by Corvids (That’s Crow species to you and me) for these and earthworms brought to the surface with last weeks moisture.

Spray windows are pretty good this week and the early part of next, but I guess just getting a sprayer around site will be pretty tricky at the moment.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

February 21st

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

At present, we’re bang on last weeks forecast with a cold, miserable high pressure dragging cold, damp air off the North Sea, but my hunch was correct and we’re in for a nice change mid-week as the strong Atlantic Jet Stream pulse pushes in milder weather and displaces the high to the continent (best place for it).

So from mid-week, the wind will swing round to the South-West and push milder, damper air in on strong winds. They’ll be a cooler lull at the weekend (typical) when the wind will swing round to the North-West, but by the following week, a Bay of Biscay high will pull warm air up from continental Africa and we’ll be back into mild weather for the start of March.  The Atlantic air flow will pull in rain fronts as one would expect and they’ll move over us on Tuesday/ Wednesday and Thursday / Friday, so a damp week in store.

Regional Specifics

For Monday, we have a cold rain front moving westerly over Ireland, Wales and the North of England, falling as snow at higher elevations, but this clears away and the South of England will escape this. The rain never really leaves Ireland as a new pulse hits Kerry tonight and pushes north and eastwards to affect Wales and the South-West by the morning and then tracks across the whole of the U.K during Tuesday so a wet day is in store. Wednesday sees another rain pulse affect West-Ireland early doors, moving into Wales and the South-West during the early morning, but this clears away to leave a dry day for all and noticeably milder temperatures in the afternoon.

The next rain pulse arrives Thursday late morning in Sligo, Galway and Kerry and moves eastward across Ireland reaching Northern England by early morning, pushing into Wales and Central England during the day, so a wet finish to the week, but it’ll feel mild, maybe hitting 15°C at the end of the week. (Break out the factor 30:)

Next Weekend and Outlook

At present the weekend looks showery on Saturday, but a little cooler than the end of the week as the wind switches round to the North-West, so temperatures will be high single figures. The start of next week should be dry and milder in the South of England, but windier and cooler in the North as a high and low pressure system battle it out, with the dividing line over Northern-Ireland / North England. Longer-term, can’t see any snow still, so either mother nature is saving it up till March or maybe we’ll actually have a Spring this year, you never know :).

Agronomics

First, I’d like to point out that when I mention spray windows, it’s not purely a reference to fungicide applications, it means liquid tonics, fertilisers and possibly fungicides if they’re appropriate, this isn’t Greencast.

The mild wetter weather will initiate growth on all areas and I’d expect to see more Fusarium activity, especially around the circumference of large patches of Snow Mold from the winter, but one would like to think that these will also start to grow out and recover. In general higher-height of cut areas on tees and elsewhere have already started to show good recovery with the milder weather in February.

A number of clubs have cored / tined / vertidrained of late and can expect to see good recovery continuing from this work, but it’s going to be difficult to get out there this week because of Saturday’s rain from last weekend and this weeks forecasted rain.

Nutrition-wise, more of the same, granulars where they are due, particularly on moss-affected areas as the moss will be fully wetted up by now.

I’ve started doing a few nematode analysis of late and it shows that the milder January and February has influenced an earlier start to their life-cycles, particularly endoparasitic species like Root-Gall, Sub Anguina and Root-Knot.

On the insect front, you can expect a bit of pecking activity this week from Corvids looking for worms and probably Bibionid species which are close to the surface at this time of year.

The best spray window this week is Tue / Wed for the south of the U.K, but chances are few and far between in the North of  England, Scotland and Ireland.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

February 14th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

We continue the weather pattern that has characterised February so far, with a succession of Atlantic low pressure systems bringing wind and rain, followed by a colder, drier lull, before the next low approaches. These lows are extremely deep, sometimes 2,000 miles across and are carrying cold air originating from the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S and responsible there for heavy snow.

By the time they reach here, they are milder and bring rain. Again we shouldn’t complain as normally these last two weeks are the coldest of the year and often we’re under snow.  Will we get through February without snow cover ?, who knows, but I’d say we may well do, judging by the projected Jet Stream pattern.

Regional Specifics

For Monday, we have some blustery, wintry showers affecting the North of the U.K and Scotland, whilst in many areas it’s a clear, dry day with bright sunshine and a touch of air / ground frost.

A new weather front bringing rain is heading our way and due to reach the S.West of Ireland and the U.K late afternoon.

These showers, often wintry at times will move north and eastward through Monday, affecting the whole of the U.K on Tuesday and will fall as snow on higher ground and in Scotland. Temperatures will be cooler than last week, with mid to high single figures during the day and zero or close to it at night, with ground frost if skies clear.

The rain clears the majority of the U.K by Wednesday and thereafter it’ll be largely dry, with cool / cold nights and an increasing risk of ground frost.

Ireland will hang onto a band of showers on Wednesday in the south and east moving up through Cork and along the Wexford, Wicklow coast, so Dublin will be wet.

Cold air will be in charge at the end of the week and this means any new rain front coming in may initially fall as snow as it meets it.

Another band of rain moves into Ireland on Friday morning and this is likely to fall as wintry showers over higher elevation and particularly when it reaches in the south-west of England and Wales on Friday evening.

Cold air will predominate over the weekend for the majority of the U.K, but particularly in the east, so frosts are likely over the weekend.

Next Weekend and Outlook

This is a tricky one because we have a strong Atlantic low pushing up against a ridge of high pressure over the continent and it’s a battle to see which one dominates.

Unisys has the Atlantic low prevailing early next week pushing milder air through from Monday and if this is the case, we can expect to be mild / very mild by mid-week next week.

Agronomics

Well not much to report from the U.K because I was in Orlando last week, but much to report from there.

I attended two full-day seminars on Monday and Tuesday, one on cool-season disease management which had some very interesting new data on Anthracnose with respect to cultural and nutrition practices. The other was on aerification and irrigation management and given by two Superintendents from Maryland and Virginia.

These guys were graduates, extremely intense and managed top class facilities with budgets to match.

As professional as they were, I still couldn’t help feeling that common sense was missing to a large degree and that they, like alot of American Supers are currently chasing their tail. What I mean by that is they fertilise heavily, then growth regulate to keep up greens speed and then aerate heavily to remove the thatch they have created with the high N input. When I say heavily, one of guys was aerating with 0.512 inch I.D hollow cores (see what I mean about intense) twice over and removing over 20% of his greens surface in total !!, little wonder that he had to fertilise heavily to get recovery !!

Both chaps were applying fungicide on a weekly basis ( The chemical companies stands at the show are very big :)  and spraying wetting agent, PGR and fertiliser every Monday and Friday in 800 litres of water. When asked if that didn’t wash most of the foliar-acting Primo off the leaf, they admitted it did, but they just put in extra to compensate, ah… the appliance of science.

Before you go away with the view point that all U.S Superintendents are like that, they’re not, many are starting to question this practice and applying sensible amounts of N, though chemical use is much more widespread with many clubs zero tolerance policy to fairway disease.

One U.K-based point to make, last year over the first two weeks of February, our soil temperature averaged around 2.5°C, this year it’s been closer to 7.5°C, so we’ve enjoyed a nice growth spell and this has provided good recovery from winter disease.
If next weeks temperatures do occur, we could have another flush of growth and possibly some heightened disease activity on the Fusarium front.

The best spray window this week is Wed / Thur for the  U.K, but chances are few and far between in Ireland due to the lingering showers on Wednesday and Thursday.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

February 4th

Hi All,

Just thought I’d sneak in an update before setting off to the GCSAA Educational Conference / Show for the duration of next week.

General Weather Situation

As predicted we’re currently sitting in the grip of a deep low pressure that is rattling in gale force westerly, but mild winds over the south of the UK and cooler, wintry showers over Ireland, the North of England and Scotland. The air temperature here in the Midlands is a balmy 10.7°C and the soil temperature is currently sitting at 7.2C, but it’s definitely hang onto your hat weather :P.

Looking ahead, I can see a line of low pressure systems forming off the east coast of America and this suggests a strong Jet Stream will dominate for the time-being, so it’ll be a slow, bumpy flight out to Orlando, but a well-quick one coming home. The outlook is one of mild, low pressure, punctuated by short periods of colder, calmer weather as one weather system moves through and before the next one arrives.

Regional Specifics

Over the weekend, the wind will continue to be strong / very strong and it will push rain into Ireland, Wales, the Midlands and Northern England with wintry showers in Scotland on Saturday. The main rain pulse will push diagonally across the U.K and Ireland on Sunday and will give a wet day for Ireland and Scotland, but elsewhere, dry and mild (Wexford and Wicklow may stay dry till mid-Afternoon).

After this rain band, the weather will settle down, so the start of the week will be quieter and cooler with clear skies and possible ground frost on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, however the next low pressure system arrives into Ireland on Wednesday and across the U.K on Thursday, so winds strengthen, swing round to the south-west and temperatures rise again. Rain is expected to reach Western Ireland and Scotland by Tuesday night, early Wednesday and then move into the rest of the U.K over Thursday and Friday, so a potentially wet end to next week.

Next Weekend and Outlook

Next weekend looks like being mild and calmer, as we experience another temporary lull, before the next low arrives early w/c 14th February.

Agronomics

We can’t really complain because for the last three years, the start of February has brought very cold weather and snow cover, so this is a welcome change in my mind.
With mild temperatures, we start to see growth on higher height of cut areas and it gives a chance for areas affected by the winter snow to begin to recover.

With soil temperatures >6°C, we will see growth initiated on alot of areas, so it’s the first chance to grow out dull, damaged, winter grass.

None more so than on tees, approaches and collars, some of which have been battered with Snow Mold.

I’d be looking to scarify / verticut / brush these areas in order to remove the dead and matted grass and then give them a light, quick release granular feed to get them moving, before scheduling the main renovation / overseeding for March. The lull between the low pressure systems is an ideal time to do this, so for the South, this will be Monday / Tuesday. Monday and Tuesday also represent the best spray days if you’re looking to spray, though this window will be tighter in Ireland and Scotland because of the higher rain pressure.

Light aeration on greens, micro tining, solid tining, vertidraining, etc is also pertinent as this period of weather represents a great opportunity for the grass plant to develop roots. These short days hold back top growth and thereby prevent the plant using its stored energy to develop leaf, rather than root growth. This also applies to turfing.

Ok, there won’t be an update next week unless I can overcome my jet lag next Friday when I return.

All the best.
Mark Hunt