Monthly Archives: June 2012

June 25th

Hi All,

Alot of people are asking me “When is summer going to start ?”, well I’m afraid at the moment we’re still stuck in this remarkably consistent, fixed pattern of weekly weather…. That is to say a quiet start to the week, with warmth, light winds and dry, followed by a gradual deterioration from Thursday onwards with high winds and rainfall, as a low pressure moves in in time to trash the weekend. Needless to say I was bailing out the boat again yesterday morning and the waves were wild. That said, if you’ve ever watched a Trout move along and just inside the crest of a 3ft wave to take a fly at close quarters, it’s mesmerising believe me…:)

Courtesy of Southern Water - http://www.southernwater.co.uk/environment/managingresources/bewllevel.asp

The graph right typifies the year so far rainfall-wise, and shows the level of Weir Wood Reservoir near East Grinstead, it’s a reservoir that is filled by rainwater alone so it’s a good benchmark. You can see how the level began increasing sharply in early April, levelled out in early May for that brief dry period and then began rising quickly on it’s way to full capacity. Last weekend the north-east and north-west of England received 100mm of rain over the course of 24hours as that intense low pressure centred over the north of England. The problem occurs because of our lethargic jet-stream, which instead of moving a low pressure quickly across the U.K & Ireland, it ‘allows it’ to circulate and re-circulate over the same area, dumping rain along the way.

So is it going to change this week ?…… in a word…no…..

General Weather Situation

As hinted above, we start this week, dry, warm and settled with light winds and for many this will be the best day of the week as there’s only a light risk of rain in northern England. For Tuesday we have rain moving into west Munster from the early hours and then quickly tracking north and west across Ireland. By late morning that rain is into Wales and the south-west of England, with potentially heavy rain for a time in the latter. The rest of the country looks to stay dry and warm through the day. During the night that rain pushes into the the south of the U.K and again may bring potentially heavy rain for the south coast. By the start of Wednesday the weather is beginning to break down again with heavy rain for Ireland and Wales, with the band of rain stretching across through the Midlands to the east coast of England by late morning.  It will however still feel warm / very warm so we’ll have very high humidity until the low pressure pushes in. This rain clears through the afternoon but I’m afraid the worst is yet to come and I can see more flooding at the end of the week as a new low pressure pushes in and circulates over the U.K and Ireland. Thursday may start off dry for you, but not for long, as potentially heavy rain pushes in during the morning tracking north-east across the U.K, (up the M5) with Ireland also wet, but you should miss the heaviest of the rain. It’ll feel cooler as well as that humidity is pushed away.  By late afternoon the whole country will be experiencing rainfall and into the evening this may be very heavy as the low re-circulates, so more flooding I’m afraid and I think the east side of the U.K is the most at threat. Friday looks a little better unless you’re in Ireland and the west side of the U.K because that low is only catching it’s breath again before pushing in for the weekend, so maybe drier away from the west coast on Friday.

For the weekend I’m afraid it doesn’t look great with that low pushing strong south-west winds and rain showers across the U.K and Ireland on Saturday, but Sunday may be potentially better with lighter winds as that low moves through.

Outlook

So again next week looks to be starting off settled as the low moves away and at the moment I can’t see a new low ready to slot in and repeat the pattern. Coupled with that, there is a high pressure sitting out in the Atlantic, so who knows, maybe that’ll build and give us a settled start to July, here’s hoping….

Agronomic Notes

I’m not going to repeat myself again because the advice has been the same now for at least the last month, but in terms of getting things done, Monday and Tuesday are definitely the days to get product on this week, if of course you can get around the golf course with a sprayer.

One factor that may make life more troublesome this week is the combination of higher temperature with humidity during the early-mid week part of the week. This has the potential to kick off some pretty aggressive disease and in particular Fusarium, Red Thread and possibly Dollar Spot for those places that get it. To be make life slightly harder it’ll be difficult to spray from Thursday onwards because of the strength of the wind.

Nutrition-wise, it’s the early part of the week for applying light rate liquids and PGR’s or if you’re thinking of using a light-rate granular, it’ll be the end of the week onwards that’ll suit, but I’d wait till after Thursday’s predicted heavy rain because that does have the potential to leach nutrients through the rootzone.

If you do have to spray, I’d be going with my earlier advice and that is to combine a systemic like Azoxystrobin or Propiconazole with a half-rate Iprodione to knock as many birds on the head as possible in one application. You could argue that the likelihood of Anthracnose in the summer with the current lack of stress seems unlikely, but I’d argue the contrary that the current combination of warmth and moisture is ideal for the development of all fungal pathogens, so I’d still expect to see Anthracnose and Take-All in July, especially if and when we get a hot, drying weekend with high winds and obviously high E.T.

All the best….

Mark Hunt

June 18th

 

Hi All,

Back from my French travels and now fully ‘in sync’ with our lovely summer weather, no more factor 30, Croissants and Pain au Chocolats for me :( . Cracking MotoGP and congrats to Cal Crutchlow for riding from last to 6th with a broken bone in his ankle incurred the day before and also to the loopy Scott Redding finishing 2nd in Moto2, if anyone caught the latter, they’ll know why it’s the best, hardest racing on the planet bar none and makes Formula Snore (1) look like the dull, expensive procession it is.

Unfortunately my optimism from last week that we were heading for some drier, settled weather is going to take a bit of a hammering because a new low is now projected to form later this week to return us to wetter, cooler conditions. On a brighter note, I still think that the weather pattern is slowly changing, with the jet-stream inching its way higher, so that means the chance of drier, warmer, weather increases. (I’m an optimist at heart)

General Weather Situation

At present we have settled conditions after the wind and rain of Friday and Saturday, but as intimated earlier, it’s just a pause between the arrival of a new low pressure later in the week unfortunately. Monday is a day of sunshine and showers with light, warm winds. Rain fronts are pushing into Ireland and the west of England and moving eastwards and northwards, so there’s more chance of rain a.m and more chance of sunshine p.m. Tuesday looks dry with the only rain confined to showers for the north and Scotland, winds will be south-west and I’d expect high teen temperatures, so all in all, pleasant. Wednesday follows a similar pattern, but with more chance of rain for the north-west of England and Ireland, particularly in the afternoon. By Thursday, that low pressure is winding itself up and pushing a heavy rain front across Ireland and the U.K, so a wet start to the day is very likely. Friday will be windy from the west / south-west , with frequent blustery showers and this will set the scene for the weekend really, feeling a little cooler, with strong winds and frequent rain, but there will be some sunshine as well.

Outlook

This low is due to move through much like this last weekend’s, so for the start of next week, the winds will decrease and temperatures will pick up. At this stage it looks to continue this way through till mid-week, with no sign of another low pressure, but that can change as we all know.

Agronomic Notes

A bit of a re-occurring theme here and until I get out and about, a little thin on content I’m afraid because of the holidays and the prevailing weather patterns.

It’s a case of picking your days to get work done. For the majority of places this means, Tuesday and Wednesday to apply products because Thursday’s looking pretty wet and that may mean conditions are tricky in terms of getting out and about on Friday, plus the wind will be up, so that’ll rule out spraying.

As per my recent notes, priorities at present would be PGR’s on hard to maintain areas and also herbicides because the combination of warm and wet weather is certainly making weeds grow at a phenomenal rate.

Fusarium is still about and it’s the usual toss up between growing the disease out or spraying, I prefer the latter, but it’s not always a viable option. Red Thread is also very prevalent with the current high moisture levels and Fairy Rings are also making an appearance.

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

June 15th – Mini Update

Hi All

Although I’m sitting on a lovely mountainside in France basking in the sun, I appreciate it’s been a rough week in the U.K weather-wise and I’m sure with the amount of rain that has fallen already and with a wet and windy end to the week, you’re probably wondering whether there’s any light at the end of the tunnel or if it’s been turned off !.

The good news as you can see from the Unisys-animated-GIF above is that the warm weather affecting the south of Europe is set to push up into the U.K over the course of next week and finally we’ll see a start to summer.

So once we get this wet and windy low pressure out of the way (the weekend and early part of next week), the weather will start to settle down from Tuesday next week and progressively get warmer as the week goes on. Since the weather is coming from the south, it’ll reach the south of England first and then gradually move up the country and it’ll also cover Ireland.

So I’m hoping that’ll mean plenty of dry cuts, a chance to get bunkers re-instated without it all washing back down the faces the following day and a reduction in disease activity(Fusarium) as the sward begins to dry out.

It will of course mean a potentially large growth flush with the saturated ground and then a hike in temperatures. If it’s anything like here I’d expect temperatures to hit 20°C + by the end of next week, so again it may be a good opportunity to PGR the harder to maintain areas like bunker banks, tee banks, ditches, etc…

I’ll update next Monday to see if it’s still on track, fingers crossed.

Finally, I’d like to wish good luck to all the English riders, but particularly Cal Crutchlow in MotoGP and Scott  Redding in Moto2 at this weekend’s British MotoGP at Silverstone, the rostrum beckons lads :)

Mark Hunt

June 11th – Mini Update

 

Hi All,

Writing this from a pretty gloomy France, caught up in the same weather system that has affected the U.K, but luckily The Med weather further south is good, so that’s where I’m heading. Understanding the weather can be both a benefit and a handicap depending on your perspective. My Dad keeps saying to me “It’s supposed to be summer, how long is this going to last for ?”, in between dropping hints that he may relocate to France if it continues…The fact is that this trough pattern has been fixed since early April, prior to that we were under a peak for the best part of 7 months and in truth I don’t understand the mechanism that causes the shift from a peak to a trough or vice-versa. I’m not sure anyone does, but I’m going to email my chappie at Reading University to get his take on it and hopefully I’ll include that in next weeks blog.

This is just a brief update because I know a lot of you have had heavy rain over the last week and with a short week last week, it’s a bit of a lottery when you’re going to be able to spray, cut, re-instate bunkers, etc…so that’s the part I’m concentrating on…

Firstly, wherever you are the weather is still projected to be very bad at the end of the week, with a heavy front of rain pushing into Munster, the south-west of England, early on Friday morning and moving up the country to affect all areas during the day, though I don’t see it reaching Scotland till late afternoon. At a guess this could be another 25mm on top of what you’ve already had, which I know varies between 70 – 130mm so far this month depending on where you’re situated.

This rain front should clear by early Saturday morning to leave a day of sunshine and showers for the south and Ireland, with another band of rain pushing through Saturday on a diagonal line from the south-west upwards.

Looking at this week, it’s a case of using the gaps in the weather to bring things under control cutting-wise, applying fungicides if necessary and potentially shutting the grass plant down a tad on higher-height of cut areas with PGR, as the latter are I know a particular headache at present.

Best Potential Dry Periods

 

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Ireland

a.m.

X

a.m.

a.m.–p.m.

X

South-West / Wales

a.m.

a.m.

a.m.

a.m.–p.m.

X

South England

X

a.m.–p.m.

X

a.m.–p.m.

X

Midlands

X

a.m.–p.m.

a.m.

a.m.

X

North England

X

a.m.–p.m.

a.m.

a.m.

a.m.

Scotland

X

a.m.

a.m.–p.m.

a.m.–p.m.

a.m.–p.m.

The above doesn’t mean you’ll be totally guaranteed dry weather during those periods, let’s be serious, we do live in the U.K and Ireland after all :) , but for more local forecasting you’ll need to use your daily forecast and RainNow features on your Headland Weathercheck facility.

Outlook

A very wet end to the work is likely, with showers through Saturday and potentially drier on Sunday. Next week it looks like another Atlantic low is due to bring high winds, warmer / milder temperatures, particularly for the south, but more rain I think, with the highest potential in the west and north as the winds will be south-westerlies.

Agronomic Notes

The advice from a spray perspective is pretty much as per last week in terms of product / A.I choice. My addition this week really concerns the use of PGR’s to shut down some of the higher height of cut areas and free up maintenance times. I’m thinking of cut-rough, bunker and tee banks in particular, and of course I appreciate that it’s always a tot up in terms of labour availability and budget. Personally I’d be using any of the dry windows above to apply a PGR + Iron combination to the most difficult to maintain areas on the course (within reason) because with next week looking potentially wet again, but definitely windy, spray windows will be few and far between.

All the best..

Mark Hunt

June 8th

Hi All,

Just squeezing in a quick post between coming back from a very wet and windy St David’s in the camper and heading off to France (where the forecast is equally poor).  There’s nothing like a spell of wet and windy weather when you’re camping to appreciate the design of the modern day tent and how resilient they are to a pounding. That said, I was just commenting how well my girlfriends, lads tent was holding up to the pounding when it collapsed in a heap, on the plus side I’ve never seen teenagers get up so quickly in the morning :)

Looking at my rain gauge we’ve had 60mm + here since the start of June and I expect even the reservoirs in the south of England like Bewl Water (currently 78% full) to reach capacity by the mid part of this month as this deep Atlantic depression continues to give us unsettled conditions. There seems to be some relenting of the restrictions on golf courses, but it isn’t consistent, even within the same water company.  It seems bizarre to still be talking about them when we’ve had so much rain over the last 10 weeks. Of course one of the main issues with this rainfall is keeping on top of your grass, it’s been really difficult since the last week of May and in my agronomic notes I cover the reasons why…

General Weather Situation

Today sees a continuation of high winds and rain as that low pressure drives in rain fronts from the south-west along a diagonal line from the south-west of the U.K and Ireland upwards, though the south-east appears to escape the worst the rain. Saturday appears drier though there’s still some rain around for the north of England, Scotland and later, the south-west of England and Munster. Winds will still be strong and primarily south-westerly / westerly. Sunday starts dry and bright, but  cloud will build later in the day as rain moves into the south-west and Ireland. The winds will however be noticeably lighter and they’ll swing round to the north, but it’ll definitely be the best day of the weekend. For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we are still in the grip of that low pressure, but it’ll be the tail end of it, so north winds, cool and plenty of rain showers I’m afraid, but not with the intensity as we’ve experienced this week you’ll be happy to hear. Thursday at this stage looks the driest day of the week because there’s another low building at the end of next week that looks to bring more rain and strong winds for the end of the week, but it’ll be milder, maybe even warm dare I say for the end of the week.

Outlook

That low pressure projected for the end of next week is destined to keep us unsettled and on the cool side for June for next weekend and the early part of the week. We’re still set in this trough pattern with warm air either side of us and essentially we’ve been in this state since the early part of April. That said, I think eventually warm, hot air will prevail and push in and then the tables will turn very suddenly.

Agronomic Notes

It’s not difficult to see why keeping on top of growth has been an issue since the end of May when you look at the graph below showing the pattern of rain closely followed by a rapid rise in soil temperature. Anyone professing ignorance of this (golfers) just has to look at their own garden or the roadside verges, they are growing as you look at them.

This issue has been further compounded by the very wet start to June (60mm+ here) and of course the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (in the U.K of course) which has meant very short weeks and great difficulty getting clean cuts without lots of clippings. Next week will continue the unsettled theme but I think the amount of rain will be less so more chances will be available for getting those cuts in and maybe mid-week onwards a topdressing.

Disease activity as you would expect with the combination of rain and high (ish) soil temperatures is an issue with Fusarium pretty rampant, though it’s a race between growth and therefore fungus removal and fungal infection at the present with some people choosing not to spray. If you do have to spray, maybe think about combining a half-rate contact (Iprodione typically) with a systemic, with the latter designed to take care of some of the more prevalent summer diseases like Fairy Ring, Take-All and Anthracnose, here Azoxystrobin is a good choice. I know it comes with a cost, but it’s two jobs in one and with this cool and wet weather I expect summer Take-All to be quite problematic this year once higher temperatures arrive.

Red Thread is also an issue with the combination of moisture and humidity and typically I like to use a water-soluble fertiliser and iron to grow this out and dry the leaf off, but I accept that finding your window is tricky at the moment.

This is the first year I’ve ever seen Cockchafer Beetles in abundance, but some lads tell me they’re very common and even remember playing tennis with them as lads (tut tut Stewart). I had one sitting on my pillow the other night, not the best offer I’ve ever had as a sleeping partner :(

Al the best

 

Mark Hunt