September 17th

Hi All,

FRAME

After not a bad weekend, the gentle slip into autumn continues, with some chilly mornings,heavy dews and a pretty cool interlude on the horizon. As you can see from the graphic (right), we’re still in essentially the same jet-stream trough pattern that has dictated our weather since the 1st week of April. The issue going forward is that if it remains so, the weather it’ll bring down will be unseasonably cold for this time of year.

General Weather Situation

The dryish theme continues this week, but the U.K is neatly bisected by the influence of a northern low pressure system that is bringing strong winds and some rain to Scotland and the north of England, so very much a north-south divide at present, though things are set to change at the end of the week. For Monday, in the south of the U.K, we start off with a heavy dew and bright sunshine after some overnight light rain. That cloud soon thickens and rain will push into Connacht and north Leinster by late morning / early afternoon and moves south to affect all areas of Ireland during the afternoon. This rain front pushes east to affect Scotland and the north of England p.m, but the south should stay dry all day, with just a risk of a shower. For Tuesday it’s a day of sunshine and showers for us all, though amounts will be light and the greater risk of rain will be on western coasts and across Ireland. It’ll be breezy with winds mainly from the south-west / west and temperatures in mid to high teens, though towards the end of the week, the wind will be northerly and temperatures will dip. Wednesday looks dry again, but there’s a greater risk of showers for Ireland, Scotland and the north of England from late morning, pushed along on a cool wind that may blow from the north-west for a time. Thursday sees a heavier band of rain pushing into Connacht, N.Ireland, Scotland and the north of England, reaching as far south as Manchester at a guess, so The Midlands and the south will stay dry. For Friday, that rain front is due to push south into Leinster and Munster, The Midlands and south of the U.K through the day, pushed along on a cool northerly wind, that’ll dip the temperatures a little to mid teens at best I think, so feeling nippy….time to dig out the buff me thinks…:)

The weekend looks to be a cool affair as that cold trough sinks south, with strong south-westerly winds and potentially some heavy rain for Sunday, so not great really.

Outlook

For the start of next week, that cold low is weakening so winds will drop, but that may well pave the way for some chilly nights and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get a ground frost or two if skies clear that is. So dry and cold for next week I think and maybe pretty dull as well.

Agronomic Notes

No.1 topic for this week is the huge amount of Fairy Ring and Thatch Fungus doing the rounds over the last 7-10 days, with lots of greens affected. The latter can be an inaccurate description because you don’t have to have excessive thatch to have Thatch Fungus. That said as the picture shows below, it does a great job of taking out organic matter, so rather than see these as a blemish, look at them as an indicator that there is an organic matter fraction in the surface of the greens that’s providing a food source. To determine if that organic matter level is excessive, push down on the affected area and if it depresses significantly, then you do have too much surface fibre.

An interesting aside is that the picture above was taken at the end of November, 2006, so some species of thatch fungus are clearly active at low soil temperatures. With respect to treatment, I’d just make sure the affected areas don’t stand out significantly by maintaining adequate nutrition and iron applications. If possible solid tine and apply a penetrant wetting agent to neutralise any hydrophobicity present and prevent ammonia accumulation. One issue that may occur on higher surface fibre greens, is that you may get more heave on thatch-fungus affected areas when running over the affected areas during hollow coring or tining.

The Superficial Fairy Rings tend to be less problematic at this time of year and often fade naturally as temperatures drop (which they will do soon) so no need in my mind to reach for the fungicide, except in extreme situations and even then treatment isn’t fantastically effective with Azoxystrobin.

Out walking at the weekend I noticed the high levels of Yellow Rust (see boot) present on coarser grasses. This is often the case at this time of year, particularly during a dry spell and it tends to affect semi and uncut rough areas most. Rust is linked to growth and hence fertility, but normally once we get rain and some natural growth, it grows out.

I’m off working in Germany and Austria for the rest of the week where it will be interesting to learn of the impact of the E.U Thematic Strategy on turf management, yet another brilliant piece of E.U legislation that confuses many, achieves very little and misses the target by a country mile… ho hum…

 

All the best…

Mark Hunt

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