Monthly Archives: July 2011

July 29th

Hi All,

Just a quick update today as the in tray is full and needs to be cleared before I take next week off!

General Weather Situation

High pressure remains in charge for a short while longer, but alas it isn’t to last as our summer stutters once again and fails to get off the mark. A weak low is predicted to build North-West of the UK and this will bring sunshine and showers to the west side of the UK and Ireland over the course of next week, whereas the east will be settled, dry and warm.

So the country will be effectively split in two, in a reverse pattern to this week where the east and middle of the U.K has been cool (until the cloud cover burnt off) as that North Sea Haar has covered the area and taken the warmth out of the high pressure and also brought in some very variable night time temperatures, two nights ago we were 8°C, last night 20°C! The east and South-East of the U.K will be more settled with warmer temperatures as we finally lose that north wind for a few days, whereas the west will be a bit cooler with sunshine and showers and a South-West wind, so not brilliant weather, but at least the waves will be good at St David’s :)

There will be rain through Ireland on Saturday to dampen the afternoon at The Irish Open (Good luck Davey), though Sunday looks ok, if a little dull. Just before I leave the Irish theme, Monday’s bank holiday looks so-so with some light showers over Wicklow and Dublin and another rain front for Tuesday affecting Connact and Munster before moving eastwards. Amounts will be light on the whole and hit and miss, though the Scotland, the North-West and West of the U.K will pick up some of that eastbound Irish rain on Wednesday.

Agronomics

I’m well aware that areas have dried out again since the last rain and it’s no surprise when you look at the attachment.

This morning I took a plug from a fairway and it was bone dry and extremely hydrophobic, not only in the surface, but also deeper down the profile. This means any rain will have either shed from the surface and / or flowed down fissures / channels through the soil profile, rather than wetting it up thoroughly, hence the reason areas are going back under stress so quickly. I’ve attached a pdf of a few images to highlight this point. You’ll also see from the images what an effective competitor moss is, because it can withstand a higher % dessication than the normal grass species found on fairways.

Right that’s it for now, the in tray beckons…

Regards
Mark H

July 25th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

After last weeks distinctly autumnal feel, this week represents gradual change as high pressure begins to exert its influence on the weather, so drier, warmer, even getting hot by mid-week, but the cool nights will remain as the wind stays in the north. The latter will peg back temperatures on the East coast of the U.K somewhat and in this region there’s a chance that rain from the continent may affect the far South-East and East of the U.K towards the end of this week, but most places will be dry.

The warm high pressure system is sitting out in the Atlantic, to the west of us, so as it pushes in, Ireland will get the nicer weather first arriving in the latter part of Tuesday and then over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, other areas of the U.K will warm up to 20°C + during the day, but temperatures will drop markedly when the sun goes down, so plan those BBQ’s early :). Winds will be reasonably light, but as intimated earlier, primarily from the north, moderating between North-Easterly and North-Westerly, so this will peg back the temperatures a bit, especially when they’re from the North-East as this could bring in some Haar (Sea Fog) from the North Sea.

Spray days will be a case of take your pick this week really with only a low risk of rain showers and these will be primarily at the latter end of Thursday and Friday and more so on the East coast of the U.K. A weak rain front will cross Ireland mid-week, but rainfall amounts will be low.

Outlook

The high pressure appears to be on track to stay in position and even build next week, with the wind slowly moving round from the north, temperatures could increase during the day, so this could hearld the start of our summer, good news as I’m off to fair St David’s City in me camper :) !!

Agronomics

The cool, wetter weather over the last two weeks has kicked off alot of disease, most of it the usual suspects that I’ve referred in earlier posts, (Take All, Fairy Rings) but also there’s been a good deal of Etiolated Growth (Ghost Grass) visible in fairways, approaches and collars. I’ve attached a fact sheet from last year to explain the current thinking on this disease, but a number of end-users have questioned wether it’s affected by a PGR, liquid fertiliser application. To my why of thinking, it is likely to be encouraged by a fertiliser application, particularly one utilising fast-acting forms of nitrogen, like ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate or potassium nitrate, because the plant is effectively ‘bolting’ and anything that increases the growth rate, has to affect this process.

If you read the fact sheet, you’ll see that the suspected cause is the action of a Gibberellic acid (GA) type hormone produced / stimulated by a species of Fusarium fungi and although PGR’s do not appear to affect this process (because they work on a different GA), the fact that they may inhibit the growth of the affected grass less than unaffected grass, may mean that the symptoms are more visible on areas treated with a PGR. All things considered, the biggest driver for Etiolated growth is the weather and typically wet, cool conditions, more normally encountered at the end of summer and during the autumn. So for everybody who’s experienced this phenomenon over the last few weeks, the arrival of drier, warmer weather should lessen the severity as conditions move away from those that favour fungal activity.

Although I’m away next week, I’m going to try and sneak out an update at the end of this week to keep you posted on the progress of the high pressure system.

regards

Mark Hunt

July 18th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

Well the rain arrived and along with it, cool breezy weather, exactly as forecast and I have to say it made for a great Open Championship.

Rather than explaining why the weather has been so cool and changeable over the last 6 weeks, I’ve attached a graphic/explanation which I think illustrates the point nice and clearly :)

So for this week, the low pressure system remains in charge and will push down heavy showers on a brisk northerly / North-Westerly wind, pegging back the temperatures, with the main rainfall in the first part of the week and gradually drying up from mid-week onwards, but currently I’m tracking a very heavy area of rainfall for next weekend. Since these are heavy showers, some people will get them, so won’t and to illustrate this point, my Dad measured 14mm in his rain gauge over the last four days, whilst I measured 19mm and we only live 2 miles apart !. Night temperatures will be on the cool side, dipping to 10 – 12C and day temperatures will be mid-high teens, the latter if the sun pops through…

Weather Outlook

Gradually this low pressure system will drift off eastwards from the start of next week and this will allow a ridge of high pressure to affect Ireland and the south and west of the U.K, so the temperatures will warm up and the wind will lessen in intensity, but wether this will last is tricky to forecast, my hunch is that we may go into August with fine weather, but like I say, it’s tricky.

Agronomics

The cool, wet weather will bring much-needed rainfall, but as I showed last week, the ground is still very dry underneath the immediate surface, however I expect outfield areas to continue their recovery, though they could benefit from light foliar feeds to help them on their way. If you’ve an event coming up, definitely mix in a little iron to optimise colour whilst we’re on the cool side. That’ll also help to dry out the leaf and discourage Red Thread activity.

Greens are showing plenty of fungal activity at present with Fairy Rings the main culprit and Anthracnose / Fusarium reported to me last week.

I’d suggest keeping nice and tight application frequencies (every two weeks) with cool-temperature available nitrogen sources – ammonium sulphate / potassium nitrate, mixed in with urea / or slow release liquids and light rates of iron to maintain colour. Personally I wouldn’t be growing mad with a PGR at present on greens because with the cool night and days, soil temperatures are lower than normal and so is the growth potential, therefore there’s less growth to regulate.

Spray days are limited this week because of the rainfall and wind strength, so it’s a case of picking your moment really.
If you have damage from Anthracnose, now would be a good week to apply a light rate granular fertiliser, Sarrell Roll to encourage recovery root development and if you can, topdress between the showers…all of this will aid recovery.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

July 13th

Hi All,

An added bonus this week with two weather related emails !!. (I know the excitement is over-whelming)

I’ve attached a pdf summarising the weather stats from The Oxfordshire (thanks as always Sean) for year to date end of June 2011 vs. the same period last year and it makes interesting reading. You’ll see from the graphs that;

  • 2011 rainfall is 96% of 2010 – So pretty much the same amount of rain year to date, but the pattern is very different.
  • 2011 E.T loss is 23% higher than 2010 – this is the major change in 2011 as the warmer temperatures have evaporated more moisture from the soil and the plant.
  • 2011 moisture deficit is 120% higher than 2010 – currently we have 4″ (100mm) less moisture in the soil than the same time last year, with the cumulative moisture deficit standing at 7.3″ in 2011 vs. 3.3″ in 2010. This explains why outfield areas are going under stress so quickly after rain because the moisture reservoir in the soil has been severely depleted.

I appreciate this is just a snapshot from one part of the country, but it does highlight how different this year is than last.

Mini Weather Update

As I sat reading New Scientist last night, trying to warm up after spending an evening in a boat shivering on Eyebrook reservoir, (Is it really July?) I did smile when I glanced upon the article relating to this years drought and the statement that the exceptionally dry Spring was due to a faltering of the jet stream, a blocking event in other words. Those of you who’ve followed this blog will know I’ve been on about this for a good while now, highlighting it as an explanation for the last two very hard winters we’ve received.  Sadly it looks like Paddy Power have now clicked on as they’re not taking any bets on a White Christmas for Dec 2011 !!!.

The low pressure system that I referred to on Monday as likely to affect the early part of next week’s weather has developed much quicker than predicted and is now due to move down over the U.K and Ireland this weekend, so expect a wet Saturday and Sunday, particularly p.m. Rain is now due to reach Ireland on Friday lunchtime and move south and eastwards. The orientation of the low pressure means it is much more likely to bring rain to the Midlands, South and South-East of the U.K than previous low pressure systems. They’ll be more lighter rain around at the start of next week, then it’ll settle down, but still feeling cool as the winds move back into the North-East. For those planning summer holidays late in July, there is a large high building in the Atlantic and this may just bring a very warm end to what will have been a cool and lack-lustre July.

regards
Mark Hunt

July 11th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

A reasonable settled, but still pleasant, cool(ish) week on the way, as the low pressure that brought last weeks rain moves away and our weather begins to be influenced by an Atlantic high sitting to the west of Ireland. Nights will be on the cool side of normal for this time of year and with the wind direction primarily North-East / North-West, this will continue to re-inforce the feeling that summer hasn’t quite started. It will dry on the whole this week, so a welcome break from heavy rain for Scotland and Ireland in particular, though the South / South-East may cop some from the continent mid-week. Temperatures will rise as we approach the end of the week, with the south of the U.K, particularly pleasant on Friday / Saturday.

Outlook

Next week looks to start with a low pressure system winging down from the North-West, so that’ll mean breezy winds, mainly westerly and rainfall, particularly for the North of the country. The south should remain dry and warm, still influenced by the Atlantic high, so this will produce high E.T rates and plenty of hand-watering required
:( for some.

Rainfall

The main rainfall event will be mid-week, but only for the extreme South-East and East of the U.K as heavy rain from the continent threatens to spill over to this region on Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning. A weak rain front wil push into Ireland and Scotland at the end of the week and move southwards, but this will be largely showery in nature.

Spray Window

Winds will be quite blustery on Tuesday, but gradually lessen as we go through the week, so really any day but Tuesday and the closer to the end of the week, the better it will get.

Agronomics

Quite alot of reports of Anthracnose and Take-All doing the rounds and this is primarily a result of the recent wetter weather kicking off fungal activity combined with the very dry weather of March, April and May = Elevated Plant Stress. Sometimes what appears to be Anthracnose is the result of nematode activity or just natural die-back of old Poa leaves at the base of the plant, but they both produce the clear, yellow discolouration that we associate with Anthracnose. A quick way to tell is to hold the affected plant and try and detach it from the rootzone, if it pulls away easily and you can see the familiar darkening at the base, it’s likely to be Anthracnose, if it doesn’t detach easily, it’s likely to be either due to natural senescing of Poa (after May and June’s seedhead production) or sometimes endoparasitic nematode activity (Root-Gall and Cyst the usual suspects).

Opinions are divided as to wether to spray for anthracnose affected areas, personally I feel once you see the yellowing, the best you’ll achieve with an expensive fungicide is to ring fence the problem areas, but they’ll still display the symptoms for a good while. I always suggest at this time of year, tightening your foliar / liquid fertiliser spray window from the more usual 3-4 weeks, to fortnightly, to maintain plant health and nutrient levels and trials from the U.S universities have consistently shown good suppression of this disease with light, regular applications of fertiliser, typically 5kg / Nitrogen / Hectare / Week. Incorporating phosphites into this regime will also be advantageous at this time of year.

Light sarrell rolling, hand watering of affected areas and topdressing will encourage quicker recovery, because often Poa will produce adventitious new roots from the crown when affected by Anthracnose or Take-All and if these new roots are subject to drying out, die-back of the affected area is likely, but if you can keep them healthy, recovery can be rapid.

All the best.
Mark Hunt