February 13th

Hi All,

What an interesting time we’re having weather-wise with Ireland sitting with soil temperatures at 9.0°C (thanks Aine :), meanwhile we’ve been locked in snow and frost for a couple of weeks now. Saturday served up one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever seen here in Market Harborough, we had a thick Hoar frost and everything was sparkling white, set against a backdrop of blue sky and snow on the ground. The air was so dry and cold it took your breath away, amazing…I went mountain-biking, but I had to keep stopping to take in the sights, plus my gears froze up in top (knackering), as did my Camelback, awesome.I am however pleased to say that the thaw is well and truly underway today with air temperatures of 5°C and looking at the week ahead, that’ll be it for severe frost for the time-being.

General Weather Situation

For this week we have our resident Atlantic high pressure sitting out over Ireland and feeding north air down across the U.K and Ireland, but because the source of the air is relatively mild, temperatures will be much higher than of late. The other difference will be the wind strength, which has been pretty absent lately, whipping up from early doors Monday and pulling in cloud cover. So Monday should be dry, dull, with the odd light shower for the west mainly, pushed in on blustery north winds. The exception is the south-east corner of the U.K where a continental rain front will push over and bring rain through the day from early morning.Tuesday looks similar, drier for the south-east, but with more gaps in the cloud and for some that may mean sunny intervals. Temperatures pick up a bit mid-week and push into the high single figures, positively tropical compared to late as the winds move round to the north-west and remain blustery. By Thursday a band of rain pushes into Scotland and Connacht and slowly moves south into Northern England during the afternoon, reaching the west coast of Ireland by the evening. Again it’ll feel mild. Overnight that rain may push down into The Midlands and the west of England / Wales. These showers of rain will continue over Ireland, Scotland and the north primarily on Friday, some of them will move inland. Later on Friday temperatures will begin to drop back, particularly in Scotland and the north of England as more moisture moves down and brings colder air from a Scandinavian low pressure into play. These showers will fall as sleet and snow over higher ground in Scotland and The North, but England, Wales and Ireland should remain reasonably dry, if a little cooler in the north and east.

Outlook

For the start of w/c 20th February, it’ll be cooler / cold again as that low pushes cold air down from the north. It may also be accompanied by rain, sleet or snow in the north, but I can’t see it being as bad as of late by any stretch of the imagination (let’s hope).I do however think we’ll be back into night frosts though for the beginning of next -week, but thereafter temperatures should pick up as a westerly air flow comes into play, so sunshine and showers for the latter end of the month and mild… 🙂

Agronomic Notes

Tricky one really as we have some very different growing conditions, the west and Ireland in particular is pushing ahead with mild conditions and obvious growth, whereas a lot of the U.K will be emerging from snow and / or frost depending on where you sit. For the latter, my advice is not to clear any remaining snow and let nature take its course. I had a chat with a course manager on Friday who related to the farcical suggestion from a member that he and other members would clear 9 holes of snow in order to get a game. That equated to approximately 3,500mt of snow by the CM’s calculations, I ask you !.. Not taking into account the damage that you could potentially do to a grass plant by wear and abrading the crown, before subjecting it to severe frost as was the case on Friday and Saturday night. Short-term gain for long-term pain me thinks. As the frost goes out of the ground, I’d just suggest leaving the greens alone to settle down, allow the grass to breathe again and I wouldn’t spray unless absolutely necessary. As mentioned last week, the dangers of Hypoxia are clear and present at this time of the year.

You’ll see plenty of pecking from Corvids as Leatherjackets and Bibionids become active, again, I’d only spray the former if the damage is on greens or too extensive to be tolerated. I found quite large grubs last week in Wales close to the surface and this was clearly the intended target for a parliament of rooks. For Ireland, my advice is different as this week presents much better spraying conditions, with no recent history of frost / snow cover, but the early part of the week looks better than the latter.

That’s all for now, they’ll be no update at the end of week unless something dramatic happens with the weather…

All the best..

Mark Hunt

 

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