September 19th

Hi All,

Back on track this week for my usual weather update, apologies for missing last week, pressure of work, full intray, small company, blardy blah 🙂

General Weather Update

The weather pattern for September seems to be pretty fixed with a succession of low pressure systems barrelling over from the eastern seaboard of the U.S (some of them the remnants of Hurricane systems), so we have quiet interludes of settled fine weather interspersed with periods of high winds and rainfall. The rainfall has been following the usual pattern of splitting diagonally across Ireland and the U.K, with the North of England and Scotland bearing the brunt of it. Whilst here in the Midlands, we’re still drier than 1976.

This week starts off fine and settled on Monday, but winds will strengthen through the day as a new low pressure system moves across Ireland and the U.K bringing rain showers into Ireland through the day and pushing into Wales and the North of England later, but the rain will lighten as it heads eastwards.
For Tuesday, Ireland looks dry, but a rain front will push into the South-West of England and move eastwards tracking along the M4 / M25 to bring rain through the day. Wednesday looks dry for most with weak showers affecting the North of Ireland, Scotland and the North of England, further south it’ll remain dry and this could be the best spray day of the week, wind allowing of course. Talking of which, it’ll be breezy all week from a Westerly – South-Westerly direction, so temperatures will be mild, around normal for this time of year, that’s mid to high teens through the day and cooler at nights, down to high single figures if the wind drops. Thursday also looks settled and dry, but breezy, however a new low pressure is projected to form off the North-West coast of Ireland on Thursday / Friday, (I think this one is the remnants of Hurricane Maria) and it’ll push heavy rain into Ireland later on Friday and this rain front will track eastwards affecting the U.K during Saturday.

Outlook

The low pressure system that’s going to affect our weekend weather is projected to merge with another westerly low to form a very intense low, so the start of next week could be very windy and wet for all places. Thereafter it’s tricky to say, but I expect the low to track eastwards and the weather to settle down for the 2nd half of next week.

Grass Agronomics

Fusarium is nibbling away in the background at present, but with the current warmth and moisture, growth rates have picked up recently and at present I think the balance is still tipped in favour of grass growth vs. disease activity, i.e it’s still possible to grow disease out because soil temperatures are currently sitting around 15°C and looking at the weather I don’t expect this to change much over the next 10 days. That said, I’d still be targeting my first preventative fungicide for the last week of September (in the U.K, Ireland is earlier) as historical weather data shows us that this is the time Fusarium activity really begins to ramp up.

There is some late season Take-All and Anthracnose doing the rounds, but because stress levels are now on the decline, it should be possible to keep most of the grass cover and initiate recovery with light applications of well-timed fertiliser.

Worm activity is on the increase on outfield areas and now is a good time to apply treatments if you’re able. The same applies to late season herbicide applications because with the combination of moisture and temperature, uptake of A.I’s is good right through till late October usually. There’s plenty of that Etiolated growth around with the autumnal weather, particularly on collars and approaches, it’s a tricky one this as there is no control option, other than a potential positive side effect when applying a DMI fungicide for a labelled disease, but even this appears hit and miss depending on the applied product.

It’s also a great time to try and initiate recovery on outfield areas with optimum conditions for seed germination, but remember, it’s no good seeding into a thatch layer, you must achieve seed / soil contact. Last year I seeded an area of my lawn with a straight Rye mix in the last week of October, it barely came through before winter started in late November, but by this Spring, it looked great. I also remember back in 2006, we’d had a dry summer and a dry autumn and many greenkeepers overseeded outfield areas damaged by the drought, right into November on the basis of ‘If it comes up then great, if it doesn’t, I’ve only lost the cost of the seed’. By and large it came up and established through the winter and prevailed through the following summer because it had been able to establish a root system, unlike seed applied the following Spring.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

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