Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dec 31st – New Years Eve

Hi All,

As we tippy-toe into 2013, I’d like to start my last blog of 2012 by asking you for all those record rainfall totals that you’ve diligently recorded through the year. We’ll be putting them on a Google Map template and then adding the link in a future blog so you can see how you’ve fared in your area vs. all the other sad, wet, buggers across the U.K and Ireland. It’ll be downloadable so you can print it off and put it up in the clubhouse for all your members with their selective memory buttons. In 2011, we had for many our driest year ever, with the lowest figure – 223mm recorded at The Belfry (Bet it’ll be 3x that this year wee man :) ) According to the Met Office, 2012 will go down as our wettest year since records began (1910 I think) and that’s taking into account the first 3 months were extremely dry. Here’s 2 pictures from the park behind my house that summarise this autumn and winter. (There’s never been lying water there before)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you could please email them to our resident I.T guru – Paul, by clicking here, that would be great, I know he’s eagerly awaiting them (ha ha, drove him mad last year it did)

For the start of 2013, I bring you glad tidings :) as we have a high pressure, yes that’s a high pressure (and a warm,dry one at that) heading our way for the start of 2013, does this mark the start of a change from trough pattern to peak pattern maybe ????

 

General Weather Situation

Starting off for today, Monday, we have the last of the rain pushing through, together with mild temperatures and a strong south-westerly wind. The rain should clear all but the far south-east of England and Wales by this evening so if you’re out and about getting predictably smashed to celebrate the start of 2013 and dry weather, you should be ok. For Ireland and the west of England they’lll still be some showers around though, For New Years Day, we have some snow showers and rain over Scotland, but for the south of England, they’ll be some sunshine and it’ll be dry. Further north, they’ll be more cloud cover, but it should be dry, maybe a little mizzly, drizzle around. For Wednesday, we have a weak band of rain over Ireland and a heavier band of rain pushing into Scotland during the morning and this will push south into the north of England during the day. Winds will be light from the west, so not bad really. They’ll be more cloud about as well, but in places it’ll break to give a nice spell of sunshine and temperatures in the high single figures. For Thursday, we have more cloud cover and again a dry scene pretty much U.K / Ireland-wide and I haven’t said that for awhile :). Friday looks similar with a dry outlook, maybe a bit of weak rain over west Connacht, later in the day the sun should break through, particularly the further south you are. Temperatures will pick up a bit in the sunshine and it’ll feel spring-like, so lovely. The weekend looks like staying dry at this stage, perhaps a little cooler, but with bright conditions on the Saturday and a little more cloud on the Sunday. Winds will be light and westerly, south-westerly.

 Weather Outlook

Next week looks like the high pressure is going to slowly break down as a rain front pushes into the north and west for the start of the week. Temperatures will drop away so it’ll feel cooler with the highest chance of rain mid-week. Winds look to remain light, so not bad, just a bit dull, cool and dreary January, with an increasing risk of night frosts and fog developing from mid-week.

Looking on the bright side, we’re into January, the nights will soon begin to stretch out noticeably and we’ve got a weather window to give everything a chance to dry out. This may allow you to hopefully re-engage / engage with those winter projects, that supply much-needed focus and motivation, after a truly dull, wet and crap time of late.

No agronomic notes this time because I haven’t been out and about on golf courses, don’t forget to wing those rainfall totals to an eagerly waiting Paul :) Many thanks in anticipation.

All the best and Happy New Year to you and your families, thanks for all the feedback through the year, much appreciated.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

December 24th – Christmas Eve

Hi All,

As I sit and type this blog, it’s bucketing down outside and mild with it, in the grip of yet another Atlantic low pressure. The jet stream has (unfortunately) inched up over the last 3 weeks and that means it’s now blocking cold air – high pressure systems (settled, winter weather) and allowing mild, Atlantic low’s to rattle in, one after another. It’s 8°C outside, the soil temperature is just under 9°C and I’ve never seen so much water in the fields. So mild, windy and wet is how we’ll see out 2012, but I think the heaviest rain will be behind us after today for most, but not all areas and as we go into the weekend, there’s a chance of some drier weather to boot, after an unsettled, wet and breezy,  Christmas week. On a positive note, we’re past the shortest day, so beginning that long haul to Spring and Summer, bring it on I say because interpreting these forecasts is bloody depressing….:(

Before I go onto the weather forecast I’d just like to say to everyone who picks this blog up, Happy Christmas and all the best for the coming year :)

General Weather Outlook

For Monday, we have a rain front pushing up from the south-west, south of England and moving up country. In the process it’s just clipped the east edge of Munster and Leinster, but by the time you read this, it’ll be well away and hopefully reasonably dry for you guys. The rain will push northwards through the morning leaving a showery picture behind it by late morning / midday, perhaps settling over the north-east by close of play to give a soggy start to Christmas Day. By Christmas morning, we have another rain front pushing into Wales and the south-west and moving up country, this won’t have the same amount of rain associated with it as today (14mm and counting) and it will move quite quickly clearing by lunchtime / early afternoon, but if you’re out for a pre-Christmas lunch walk, take your waterproofs. Ireland looks to have a drier (less rain) Christmas day, with just a band of showers pushing across the country and maybe east Munster / Cork will escape these and see a bit of sun at the end of the day :). Boxing Day looks like being a much drier day on the whole after some early morning rain has moved through, but by the late afternoon, another rain band is into Ireland and the south-west unfortunately and this quickly tracks up country, so another damp end to the day. Thursday is a bit of a repeat show, with rain arriving into the south-west, locally heavy, by dawn and this rain is set to track more along the south-coast, so The Midlands and north of England may have a drier and brighter day. For Friday, another rain front is into Ireland early doors and Wales, but this is projected to track further north into Scotland and the south / Midlands looks to stay dry. Temperatures will pick up markedly from their previous 7-8°C, to 11-12°C for Friday and Saturday, before nipping down again. Saturday looks a potential wash out as rain pushes into Ireland and slowly heads south, perhaps not reaching The Midlands and south of England till after dark. Sunday is another re-run of Saturday with more rain for Ireland, Scotland and the north of England, but again, the south may stay dry / dryish till close of play.

Weather Outlook

As we head into next week and New Year’s Eve, (my least favourite night of the year incidentally), the unsettled picture remains, with mild temperatures and strong winds. They’ll be rain, but again it’ll be more north and west-orientated, rather than hitting the south-west and south of England, although New Year’s Eve could be potentially a wet one for all….By mid-week, I expect us to be drier and mild, still set in a westerly air flow, with any moisture confined to the north of England and Scotland (sorry) and that’s the way we’re set to stay for the foreseeable. So as for the coldest Christmas / Winter on record as forecasted by all the ‘experts’, don’t think so…..and it just goes to highlight two things, 1) – Nobody is a weather expert (present company included) and 2) – You can’t forecast long term weather trends, past 10-14 days, full-stop.

 Agronomic Notes

Just a few pointers really that I’ve noted on my travels ;

Firstly, ryegrass isn’t liking this prolonged period of wet weather, in particular, exposure to constant, low light levels, so  areas like shaded tees, greens complexes, etc are looking pretty tired at present, with Fusarium and Red Thread, both still active.

Moss is liking this weather and there’s a general increase in moss population levels on all areas of the golf course, but particularly greens. No surprise really because as I’ve mentioned before, we generally have a higher level of surface fibre present on greens,  as a consequence of less-topdressing / aeration possibilities and lower levels of organic matter breakdown due to cooler, wetter, low-oxygen, soil conditions. This fibre layer is perching water and providing ideal conditions for moss establishment. Another contributing factor is the lower light levels of the past 8 weeks which is tipping the balance in favour of moss growth over grass growth. Hopefully the milder conditions of late will tip this back a little, but for sure, we’re going to have a higher moss content in greens coming into the New Year.

Another invasive species that has found the wet year to its liking is Yorkshire Fog, and even on greens, this grass is becoming a significant problem. I know some lads have seen beneficial effects with using a Gramminacide like Rescue and if they’re happy to share their experiences, good or bad, please feel free to post a comment on the blog, provided of course you don’t work for Everris or Syngenta, no commercials here please :)

That’s it, all the best for 2013

Mark Hunt

 

 

December 17th

Hi All,

I spent the weekend hawking around various Sainsbury’s car parks….Christmas shopping you may ask ?, of course not :)  I was looking for flocks of Waxwings that seem to like the Rowan trees and other berry yielders that they are planted up with. These birds are special, I found them in a little park opposite Loughborough Railway Station. You can walk right up to them when they’re feeding and they just sit and twitter quietly to each other..cute.

As we limber up towards the Winter Solstice (Dec 21st), the point where the sun sits at its most southerly position in the sky, rising barely 15° above the horizon and providing a headache to all with shady greens and the like, we should all welcome this tipping point after which the days slowly start to get longer. It has been a long, wet year, truth be told, and unfortunately that’s how it’s going to see itself out with a succession of low pressure systems rattling in over the next 10 days, with a quiet, dry interlude inbetween.

General Weather Situation

As we start the week we have the remnants of that low pressure system, that gave us 14.2mm of rain on Friday, sitting over the U.K and it’s slowly weakening, so a quiet start to the week. A dry start for most, but they’re some showers around, with heavier rain moving into Connacht, west Munster, Wales and the north-west of England around lunchtime and slowly pushing eastwards through the afternoon / evening into The Midlands and the south-west of England, so a damp finish to the day here. For Tuesday that rain is sitting over north London and slowly eases out into the Thames Estuary leaving a dry day for just about everyone and with calm winds, this is the best spray day of the week, if you’re hankering to apply. By midnight, a heavy band of rain is just reaching south-west Munster and the south west of England, pushed along on strong, mild, southerly winds. This rain will push diagonally across Ireland and the U.K during Wednesday, giving a heavish dollop in places and lasting around 4 hours in duration, before clearing away in the evening. Unfortunately hot on its heels is another heavy rain front, that pushes into Munster and the south-west / south coast of England early doors Thursday and then pushes up across country, with The Midlands in line for a good chunk of this rainfall. That rainfall shouldn’t reach Dublin till lunchtime and will be lighter in intensity. Friday looks to be a drier day for many, with only a concentrated band of showers nipping away at the south-west of England, but I’m afraid Saturday looks like a repeat of Thursday, with heavy rain pushing into Munster, Connacht, the south-west of England and moving across the U.K over Saturday, so heavy rain again I’m afraid and with it so closely following the mid-week rainfall, more flooding is on the cards. Sunday looks to be wet as well, though not as heavy rainfall-wise.

Weather Outlook

As I look to Christmas week, low pressure remains in charge, with the predominant factor being strong winds, from the west initially, but turning more north-westerly towards the latter part of the week, so knocking the temperature down. The outlook appears unsettled, showery, but no particularly heavy bands of rain in sight, so maybe a reprise from this weeks deluge. Those showers may fall as snow / sleet across higher ground, particularly in Scotland towards the end of Christmas week, but going into The New Year, I can see another mild interval on the way. We’re definitely not stuck in a trough now, more like teetering on the edge of a peak and a trough, hence the alternating weather patterns.

Agronomic Notes

Fristly, I’d like to ask you to kindly send in your year-end rainfall data in early January, so we can see how the year fared vs. last year and the national average for your area. It always makes interesting reading and I know it can sometimes help to explain course playability issues as well, often to a membership with their selective memory button firmly stuck in the ‘on’ position.

Obviously, spray windows are the order of the day and realistically Tuesday represents the best spray window of the week, with quiet winds and no rain forecast. We have, of course, a pretty wet interlude mid-week and at the weekend, but with mild temperatures arriving along with the rain, I think you’ll still get good uptake of fertilisers, irons and / or fungicide tankmixes, though there may be some loss through leaching. Friday may present another opportunity, but less likely, as the ground will be so saturated, just getting to surfaces may prove more trouble than it’s worth.

Frost-related issues should be less of a concern over the next 7-10 days because the wind and cloud cover will reduce the potential for frost formation. This week should be no problem frost-wise.

Plenty of pecking and Badger activity reported, mainly for worms located close to the surface with the wet weather, but I expect Bibionids to turn up anytime now on the menu, with the mild and wet weather we’ve had.

Ok that’s it, as I look out of my office window, I can see a neighbour nipping off in his camper van, what a great idea, pack the boogyboard, fishing gear and drive south till it gets warmer and drier, I simply must try that sometime…

Mark Hunt

 

 

December 13th – Mini Update

Hi All,

Just a quickie update on the weather front heading our way for Friday.

My hunch on Monday appears to be correct and this looks to be falling as rain rather than snow during Friday morning / afternoon, though initially there may be a brief period of snow as it hits that cold air over the south-west of England and Wales in particular.

The rain is due to reach Kerry around about midnight and then move across Ireland during the night. It’ll then push into the south-west of England and Wales early doors (7 ish) and move across country (north and east) through the morning, reaching ‘The Smoke’ and The Midlands around lunchtime, by which time it’ll have cleared most of Ireland (except the north) and by late afternoon it’ll be into the lowlands of Scotland, again falling as snow initially before turning to rain. Air temperatures will begin to rise with the advent of the rain to 6 – 8°by midday, so a rapid thaw will set in. The rain will take the best part of the day to clear the U.K and fortunately will be followed by a relatively dry Saturday before more rain arrives over Ireland and the north-west of England / Scotland for Sunday.

Agronomic Notes

The problem with this temperature rise and rain combination, is that it is falling onto very frozen ground, with sand-based greens in particular frozen to a depth of 3-4″, by my reckoning. The rain will cool quickly as it hits the soil, so will only slowly thaw out the rootzone below. This means a high likelihood of flooding for all areas until the rootzone is thawed through, preceded by that very tricky initial phase when the surface becomes unstable as the thawed surface rootzone slides across the frozen rootzone beneath.

This intial phase represents potentially high damage to the grass sward with root shear, and in addition will also present a health and safety issue with a very unstable surface underfoot. My advice would be to keep golfers / players on temporary greens where practically feasible until enough of the surface has thawed out to impart stability underfoot. It will probably be pretty academic advice anyway because the rain could be reasonably heavy in places (12mm ish is my best guess) so if this is falling onto frozen ground, it’ll probably close the course itself due to flooding. (but you never know with the golfing fraternity)

The good news is that after this initial period, we look to be into a spell of mild, westerlies, so no White Christmas (damn and blast to my bets on Paddy Power), with little in the way of frost. There will be rain though :(

All the best.

Mark Hunt

December 10th

Hi All,

As we rapidly bear down on Christmas, the key topic in question is obviously weather-related, will it be a white one and most importantly for our industry I guess, will it be a playable one, as many clubs have busy Christmas and New Year calendars, both on and off the course. In truth, I’m about 5-7 days away from being able to give a definitive answer on that one.

Got a call on Friday (thanks Ray) asking me about the “Beast from the East”, that the popular papers say is on the way to us, sadly I’m only capable of reading Motorcycle News and New Scientist on a weekly basis, so missed that one, but I’ll do my best to enlighten you. Suffice to say, I can’t see any weather from the east being a problem, from the north and west maybe though :(

General Weather Situation

Before I start I have to say that the weather at the end of the week is going to be extremely difficult to call, some models say mild with rain, some say cold with snow, so keep your eyes on your Weathercheck information, updated daily.

For Monday, we have a quiet start to the week, and unfortunately a ground frost for many, as temperatures dipped last night as skies cleared. I’m hoping this will rapidly thaw, but of course, it depends upon the severity at your location. This may be aided by a general increase in cloud cover in the morning. (I can see it building already here) Winds will be moderate to light and from the north / north-west. No rain or snow is showing on the forecast module for Monday. Skies are set to clear through the afternoon evening for Monday and this may give a light / hard frost depending on wether that cloud reforms again overnight into Tuesday. Again Tuesday looks to be a pleasant, cold day, with bright intervals and dry for many. A rain front from the west is due to reach Kerry and Connacht in the evening on Tuesday and this will slowly push eastwards across Ireland overnight, so a wet start and indeed a wet day for most of Ireland on Wednesday. And here the uncertainty begins, because it’s as that rain moves eastwards into the west coast of England, Wales and Scotland later on Wednesday, that it meets the cold air overland and this gives a risk of sleet / snow for many areas on Thursday. For the rest of the U.K, Wednesday looks set to stay dry, if a little dull, as cloud cover begins to build and the wind swings round to the south-west. Overnight into Thursday, that rain band pushes eastwards into Scotland, the North of England, Wales and the south-west, but its main emphasis is on the former two areas and that’s where the main risk of snow is on Thursday. The Midlands and south-east / south should miss the brunt of this. Thursday evening sees more rain, potentially heavy at that, push into Kerry and the south-west of England / Wales, thereafter moving north and east into Scotland and the rest of the U.K for Friday. This is where the models start to disagree, one says this moisture will arrive as rain on milder, south-westerlies, the other that it will arrive as sleet/ potentially snow as it hits a colder air mass on Friday. This is key really because it sets the tone for Christmas week, if that mild air pushes in, we’re likely to have a cool, wet week, if the cold air wins the day, it’ll be colder with frost and perhaps some snow. On balance, I’m going to go with milder, wetter air scenario for the end of the week, but of course I’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Through Friday we’ll have rain, potentially heavy in areas and later in the afternoon, that rain clears away to leave a showery, milder picture going into Saturday. Winds will be strong and from the south-west / west. The low pressure that pushed in milder and wetter weather for the end of the week is set to dominate the weekend, so a mild, wet, windy weekend is on the cards at present.

 Weather Outlook

At this stage and taking on board everything I’ve said about uncertainty :), I think the start of next week will be unsettled, with some showers around and definitely a little cooler in outlook, with an increasing risk of overnight frost again and those winds, though lighter than the weekend, will assume an easterly / north-easterly perspective.  For mid-week, next week, we’ll be delicately poised between cold and mild weather fronts, with cold air holding the fort. Odds on for a White Christmas ?, on balance I think Paddy Power will have my money for the 2nd year in a row :(, so no…..

 Agronomic Notes

A short one here because there’s not been much to see of late…A little Fusarium still doing the rounds after quite an aggressive spell in mid-November (last mild weather) and also I saw on Friday, some Yellow Tuft, on a wet area of a green. This shows as small, raised yellow shoots / leaves, in 10p / 1 Euro (aren’t I so balanced :) size spots, typically forming on wetter areas of greens, and is caused by the Water Mold – Downy Mildew fungus, Sclerophthora macrospora.  I’m sure Kate will put me right on that if the classification has changed :). It’s not easy to control, doesn’t tend to take grass cover, but looks a tad unsightly, a bit like Etiolated Growth in that respect and actually the raised growth / tuft habit is purportedly due to a similar mechanism, i.e release of growth-stimulating hormones from the causal organism. As areas dry out, so the activity declines, so no great shakes.

Spray windows as intimated in my mini-update on Friday are very limited at present, you’ll either be waiting for frost to thaw or later in the week, the advent of wind and most likely rain, some of it heavy, will also make life tricky. Over in the west, you may be slightly better off, as that’s where the milder air is supposed to originate from, but of course at this time of year, mild = windy and wet as well. The start of next week may potentially work, but it depends how cold we’re going and how wet we were for the weekend.

All the best.

Mark Hunt