Monthly Archives: June 2011

June 26th

Hi All, ,

General Situation

Those of you in the southern half of the U.K will be sweltering under the effects of the Atlantic high pressure that I forecast to influence the weather over the latter half of weekend in the U.K. Yesterday here it hit 30.5°C and on top of 8mm of rain and very high humidity, conditions are challenging, but fear not, because this current weather doesn’t mark the beginning of a heatwave, as those of you in Ireland and Scotland will already testify, where temperatures are mid-teens at best.

This dichotomy in temperature is due to the approach of a weak low pressure which is currently affecting Ireland, Scotland and the North of England and as it moves southwards, it’ll meet the warm, hot air over the south of England and spark off thunderstorms, which will signal the change to fresher conditions over the next day or so.

Thunderstorms are notoriously difficult to predict as their formation starts as a warm updraft of air, the source could be a ploughed field, an empty car park, etc, anything that heats air, so I’m not going to predict specifically where and when they’ll form, but I expect the band to be from the Midlands south and to form from this afternoon and continue over night into tomorrow, with the far South-East possibly not affected till Tuesday lunchtime onwards, with possibly heavy rain in the South-East and East for Tuesday later p.m.

This week low pressure will bring in a fresh feel to the temperature and light showers of rain bubbling up in the afternoon from Tuesday onwards, with the pattern for the week being a dry start and then showers moving in on a North-West wind, with these showers prevalent from Tuesday till Thursday. The showers will be mainly over Ireland, the North Midlands, North of England and Scotland, with the South-East staying reasonably dry most of the week. Temperatures will be mid to high teens most of the week in the South of England and just mid-teens for Ireland, Scotland and the North of England, though warmer towards the end of the week.
The best spray day is definitely Friday, but you’ll probably be able to get away with it most mornings.

As we approach the latter half of the week, temperatures will rise again as another Atlantic high moves in and displaces the low pressure system, but its effect will too be short-lived as another low moves down and pushes showers into Ireland and England for the weekend.

Outlook

The low pressure system that is due to arrive for the weekend will push cooler, moist air into Ireland initially and then the U.K, so plenty of showers around, though no great amount of rain visible at present. Mid-week, next week may push a rain front into Ireland and the North of England, Scotland with significant rainfall.
Winds will be mainly westerly and breezy, but not particularly windy.

Agronomics

The combination of rainfall, followed by high temperatures and high humidity will cause two notable issues, the first is another growth flush, particularly on higher heights of cut and chatting to a few lads in the South-East this morning, they’re amazed at how areas have recovered already from the dry spring.

The second is with respect to disease and this combination of moisture, humidity and temperature will no doubt trigger off alot of Fairy Ring activity, Fusarium and I’m also seeing plenty of Red Thread. There may also be some Dollar Spot about, particularly on the continent where this disease is much more of an issue.

In the past we’ve always associated Red Thread with low fertility, but in my mind this is a bit of a misnomer because when you fertiliser Red Thread-affected areas, all you’re effectively doing is encouraging growth and removal of the fungus on the leaf by cutting, so rather than low fertility being the cause, I think Red Thread activity is mainly down to environmental conditions. Of course it’ll be associated with slow growing grass because less fungi is removed by cutting, but moisture, temperature and humidity are the drivers. We’re also seeing more Red Thread because of the frequent use of PGR’s which by slowing vertical growth and clipping production effectively decrease the rate of fungal removal by cutting, so the fungi is able to develop more. Finally, I think the breeding of finer-leaved Ryegrasses has increased the potential for Red Thread development or more specifically increased its potential to do damage. Light foliar feeds with iron are good ways to quickly and cheaply grow the disease out on outfield and higher-height of cut areas, with the iron also serving the purpose of drying the leaf out.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

June 20th

Hi All,

Firstly, apologies for those people that received multiple copies of last weeks update, I sent it from France and the hotel internet was un peu temperamental n’est pas :)
Also thanks for everyone who sent their rainfall totals in, it gave me a good picture of what everyone’s been getting and certainly the South of England has topped up significantly over the last week, especially the Surrey area it would seem.

General Weather Situation

As for the last few weeks now, pretty much the whole of June, low pressure stays in charge and so more rain is on the way this week, but it’ll be of a more showery nature, a couple of degrees warmer between the showers than last week and the showers themselves will be a bit more hit and miss. Winds will be from the West / South-West from early to mid-week, but as we approach the end of the week, they’ll swing round to the North and quieten down a bit.

I read in late May on Greencast about ‘who would bet against another flaming June’, as per last year, well the weather doesn’t work like that. This years June weather has been characterised by low pressure systems that have circulated over the U.K and Ireland, giving us cooler, wetter conditions and with no effective jetstream to move them on, they have dominated. Last year, we had high pressure stuck over the U.K and Ireland, again the jetstream was weak and this gave hot, dry conditions, the difference therefore between this year and last was down to what type of weather system, (low or high) that was in place when the jet stream weakened and you can’t predict that year on year, or even month to month. This is why to me forecasting long-term, beyond 10 days is highly inaccurate and anyone who claims to predict the season ahead accurately is either gifted or mistaken, or both :).

This week and the outlook for next week

Monday starts off fine, though chilly as those cool nights are still around, but a band of showers is moving in from the S.West affecting Connact and Munster in Ireland and the South West of England, South Wales from early afternoon. These will push eastwards later in the day and affect most of the south of the U.K from the Midlands down. This sets the theme for the week, showers pushing in from the west, with the day starting off dry and then clouding over with rain moving through. The further west you are, the quicker the rain will start in the morning, with the heaviest rain for Ireland on Tuesday, but they’ll be plenty of showers around there through the week. For the U.K, it again follows a similar pattern to last week with the heaviest rain from mid-week onwards and Thursday and Friday looking particularly wet. Spray days will again be tricky with the threat of rainfall and blustery winds, particularly mid-week, but if you can’t get on this week, don’t worry because early next week appears much better.

Thereafter a high pressure system nudges in, bringing settled conditions over the 2nd part of the weekend, with a drier and warmer feel to the weather and this extends into the start of next week. Temperatures will nudge into the twenties for the start of the week and it may well last until the mid- latter part of the week though forecast opinions are divided thereafter. Unisys suggests that another low pressure may well form to continue the spell of unsettled conditions and I tend to feel it may go this way.

Agronomic Situation

Growth on higher height of cut areas should be in full swing at present as we get our Spring flush in June ! and certainly reports I’ve had from around the country suggest outfield areas are starting to recover well after the recent rains. Now is a good time to get a herbicide treatment on, if you can apply between the showers because uptake and grass recovery will be good. Greens growth appears to be ticking along with the cool nights keeping it in check to a certain extent.

Disease pressure is obviously higher than of late with the arrival of the rain and both Fusarium and Fairy Rings top the charts in terms of reports back from end-users, the latter can be quite tricky to eradicate, particularly when it appears in the form of Thatch Fungus.

Key to successful management is good surface fibre maintenance, with sufficient topdressing to negate any sideways ‘bridging of the roots’, regular and light vertical aeration in the form of solid tining / sarrell rolling. If treating with an approved fungicide :), combine it with a wetting agent in a good spray water volume, ideally 600 – 800 litres per hectare, or better still (if practically feasible), follow application with irrigation. It’s very important to identify the depth that the fungus is active before you treat because you have to get the fungicide into this region to achieve effective control and sometimes that may be in the first 10mm of the surface (as it often is with Thatch Fungus) and other times, it may be down 100mm, as can be the case with Type I or Type II Fairy Rings.  Interestingly there’s still much debate on what exactly causes loss of grass in some cases of Fairy Rings, some postulate that it’s the hydrophobic action of the fungus itself, others that ammonia gas / ammonium ions is released and accumulates to such a level that it is toxic to the plant roots. I have a fact sheet handy on this subject if it’s of interest.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

June 13th

Hi All,

Before I start, I’d like to warmly congratulate Jim McKenzie on receiving the MBE for services to sport, fair play to you Jim, it’s thoroughly deserved for all your efforts at Celtic Manor on the run up, during and after the Ryder Cup.
That said, I hope I don’t have to bow from now on when I call in, I was never that well up on etiquette

After what seems like a very long time, most of the country received a good drop of rain when last weeks predicted rain front crossed the South-East of Ireland on Saturday night and moved across England through the day, clearing the east coast late on Sunday night. As mentioned in last weeks update, this rain is a result of a low pressure system that’s remained over the U.K for the best part of two weeks now, providing hit and miss showers on the whole, until Sunday’s deluge…..Incidentally that rain front at one stage stretched from Southern Scotland right down to the middle of France, I’d estimate a 1,000 miles or so, so pretty tasty :)

In the Midlands, we were getting pretty dry and although I know the situation won’t be reversed overnight, it may help stave off the hose pipe bans for a couple of weeks or more..

As usual, I’d be interested to know how much rain people received on Sunday, so shout out those figures please if you get a chance…..

General Weather Situation

The low pressure that brought this weekends rain gradually moves away during Monday to be replaced with warmer temperatures, a drop in the wind and pleasant conditions, but this is only a short-term lull, because another low pressure is building in the Atlantic and this is due to push rain into the west coast of Ireland Tuesday p.m and these showers will also affect the west side of the U.K, from Scotland down to the South-West. Temperatures will pick up for Monday and Tuesday, but drop again to mid to high teens, as the new low pushes into the U.K over Wed and Thur bringing more rain towards the end of the week, with a possible wet end to the week and a soggy start to the weekend.  Winds will be from the south / west initially, pulling round to the South-West as the low pressure system moves in. With this in mind the best spray days are likely to be at the early to mid part of the week, rather than the latter part. Night temperatures will be highly variable, feeling quite chilly when the wind drops, but as the low pressure moves in, they’ll hold over double figures.

Outlook

This low pressure system is due to stay in place till at least the early part of next week, when an Atlantic high pressure is predicted to follow it through, so largely unsettled with good levels of rainfall till then.
Temperatures will remain cool over the weekend and into next week, but I think mid to high teens will be the order of the day till then. That rain may well affect the east of the U.K next weekend as it becomes inter-twined with continental low pressure systems, so no bad thing there….

Agronomic Notes

With a bit of temperature and moisture comes disease pressure and no doubt they’ll be plenty of Fusarium pressure following on from last weeks.
That said, I’d hope that growth rates also pick up, so it should negate the need for a fungicide.

I’ve had my first reports of Anthracnose last week, which comes as no suprise when you consider the dry start to the year and the warm, dry Spring, but it’s a month earlier than normal, so be on you guard.

Stress areas such as high points on greens, the clean-up strip and traffic pathways are always the best places to look, even if you don’t have a history of this disease, fore-armed is fore-warned.

Both diseases will cause more problems on weak, droughty turf, so common sense should prevail as always with balanced nutrition, this is especially important in terms of anthracnose, with ‘little but often’, the order of the day. Sometimes this simple nutrition strategy is as effective as an application of fungicide, but if you are unfortunate enough to get hit, up your nutrition, lightly aerate (solid tining or sarrell rolling, rather than verticutting) and topdress to speed up recovery time.

With the arrival of the rain, growth should pick up measurably, so light applications of PGR will be in order unless you have active disease of course and yet again for this week, light rates of iron will work nicely if you’re gearing up for Captains Day this coming weekend……

All the best.
Mark Hunt

June 6th

Hi All,

Briefly back from my campervan stint in St David’s, Wales, lovely weather for bodyboarding and eating freshly caught Mackerel from the sea to pan in less than an hour takes some beating :)..(and it’s free)

General Weather Situation

Low pressure is in charge this week and accompanied by the lack of a significant west-east jet stream to move it along, means that it’ll effectively do circulatory laps of the UK and Ireland bringing sunshine and rain to most parts over this week with cool (ish) temperatures.

Regional Specifics & Outlook

The themes of this week is a succession of rain fronts coming into Ireland and moving eastwards into the UK on the back of southerly winds for the UK.
With the position of the low pressure system and lack of Jet Stream, this type of rain pattern is more likely to bring rain to the South-East and East of England and indeed as I type this, that area is currently on the receiving end of some heavy rain, with Mid-Kent reporting 43mm over the last 24 hours and Surbiton 29mm. What’s amazing about that, is that for Kent, that’s more rain than they’ve had for March, April and May combined !.
The rain that’s over Ireland and the South of England will move away this afternoon, but almost immediately will be replaced with a new rain front arriving into Ireland and then into the South-West and Wales by Tuesday early morning. This rain will push eastwards through the day. The cycle is repeated all week continuing into the weekend with a dry start early in the U.K and then showers arriving by the afternoon. (So if you are spraying, first thing is ideal)
Temperatures will be cool, mid teens and today will probably be the least windiest day of the week with winds picking up from tomorrow and staying with us all week with the weekend looking very windy and possibly quite wet on Sunday.

Looking further ahead, this low pressure is going nowhere fast, but a subtle change at the end of the weekend will tweak its orientation to push strong South-Westerly winds and rain across Ireland, North Wales, the North and Scotland, with slightly warmer temperatures for those areas compared to this week. At the same time, the top of a high pressure system influences the South and South-East bringing warm to very warm weather there by mid-week, next week.

Agronomic Situation

The arrival of moisture on the back of the high temperatures of Thursday, Friday and Saturday will kick off latent Fusarium and here as always it’s important to maintain good growth and plant health in order to grow out any outbreaks. If you’ve been PGR’ing and your growth rate is low, it’s important to keep an eye on the progress of the disease because you’re unlikely to be able to grow it out naturally. If you did receive rain and the greens have responded growth-wise, now is the time to lightly verticut and groom to present an even putting surface.

Alot of greens are pale at present and this is a result of Poa just coming out of the seedhead flush, combined with the hot, drying winds of Thursday, Friday and Saturday and now the cool temperatures of the weekend / this week. It’s important to encourage Poa to begin to re-direct it’s energy reserves to growth, rather than seedhead production, so light liquid feeds and aeration such as Sarrell Rolling, Solid Tining will work well together. Again utilising iron with these liquid fertiliser applications will be ideal to perk up colour is the order of the day.

Those winds stayed with us 24hrs of the day and were responsible for 8mm of E.T loss over Friday and Saturday alone, so theoretically you’d have to be applying or receiving 5mm of rain over those two days just to keep up. (Not that many irrigation systems would be achieving even coverage in those winds)
Wind strength seems to be a feature of this year and it does make life difficult, both from an irrigation perspective and from the amount of water lost through evapotranspiration.

All the best.
Mark Hunt