As we nearly say goodbye to April and another Bank Holiday looms in quick succession after Easter, we can reflect on an ‘up and down’ month, temperature and rainfall-wise, with very changeable conditions for many. I think this picture sums the month up for me…Still let’s be honest that’s what April used to be like, changeable, but if you look at 2013 weather data you can see that we’ve actually been cooler for the back end of April 2014, than we were last year, after the long winter.
That’s because we have a recalcitrant jet stream, currently still split (see image left) in two or even three segments..
As you can see from the image, we have two bands in yellow/orange , one below and one above the U.K and Ireland, it should be one continuous band crossing the mid-part of the U.K.
General Weather Situation
Well it looks like the first part of the week will be distinctly warmer than the second, but potentially wetter for some. Monday looks to start off dull for most with some light rain projected to affect the south-east of England and move west along the coast into the south-west of the U.K later in the day. Winds will be easterly and light and so temperatures will be pleasant, up into the middle / high teens and you may even catch sight of the sun from time to time. It’ll stay mild at night through till the end of the week.
Overnight into Tuesday, that rain continues to affect the extreme south-east of England, whilst another band just skirts the west coast of Kerry later in the day, pushing up the west coast into Connacht later in the evening. Elsewhere it’ll be a nice day, pleasantly warm with more in the way of breaks in the cloud, so quite lovely really Winds again will be light and from the east.
For Wednesday we have a band of rain pushing into Kerry and then moving up country through the morning, perhaps not reaching Leinster til the evening rush hour. For the U.K, it’ll start dry, but showers are set to bubble up in the afternoon and these look to be potentially heaviest from The Midlands north, right up the east coast of the U.K and into Scotland. Winds be be light to moderate, swinging round from the east to the south-west / south with the arrival of that rain. Temperatures will remain good, mid-teens, maybe higher in the south-east of England. Later on, that westerly rain reaches the south-west of England and Wales.
Overnight into Thursday, that westerly rain pushes into the west of the U.K and consolidates with the central and northerly rain, so a wet outlook at present for Thursday, particularly a.m. for the U.K, though Ireland looks drier at this stage. Later on that rain starts to drift south-east, so clearing Scotland and the north of England first, before finally clearing the south-east by close of play Thursday. By this time another rain band is into Kerry and pushing slowly up country into Friday. Temperatures will be a little down on the start of the week with low to mid-teens in that rain and the winds will intially start off southerly, but later in the day are projected to swing round to the north, so that means a chillier night than of late. 😉
We end the week with a northerly / north-easterly airflow in charge, so feeling much fresher in the wind, even when the sun is out. That change in the wind stops the Irish rain in its tracks so it will only affect the south-west of Munster in the morning before nipping off out to sea again. A dry, bright day in prospect to end the week, so that means good dry cuts going into the Bank Holiday. As the skies clear, temperatures will drop sharply and that means a potential frost for the start of the weekend, but this will soon go as the winds pick up from the north-east to moderate strength and whisk cloud cover over. So sunny and cloudy with a coolish north-easterly wind. Sunday looks a little better with the wind pushing round to the east / south-east and that means slightly higher temperatures and a sunnier outlook I think. Still feeling cool with a cool start in particular and ground frost likely. Bank Holiday Monday looks pretty good really with temperatures climbing as that wind moves more south-easterly / southerly through the day, so dry and sunny with some cloud cover.
Well not a bad outlook really with warmer winds for the start of next week, southerly and then south-westerly in nature. That change in wind direction though will signal the arrival of a rain system that at this stage looks to affect more westerly and northerly areas early on next week. Further south it will be unsettled, but mild and that wind direction / cloud cover should mean a return to milder nights, but still nothing in the way of higher temperatures on the horizon. Indeed the problem is that all the time the jet stream still has a propensity to track south of the U.K and Ireland, we’re likely to drag in cooler air from the continent and that’ll peg back temperatures.
April Growth Perspective
An ‘up and down’ growth month for sure and that’s principally affected greens / fine turf with low growth rates for most of the month. You can see from the daily GDD chart below, the peak and trough nature of the month quite clearly…Most positive growth peaks have only lasted for 2-3 days before we hit a trough and that’s why growth has been like it has..
The troughs coincide with cold nights, often with ground frost and that pattern is set to extend into the start of May.
So actually that means not the greatest conditions for recovery from aeration, particularly in the 2nd half of this month with some clear growth checks. On the flipside it has made the run of shorter, 4-day weeks more manageable from a growth perspective and with the cold nights forecast for Friday and Saturday this coming weekend, that should mean you won’t return to mountains of growth and clippings round your ankles come next Tuesday. That said it may not be good cutting weather for the west and north with a more unsettled theme to the weather.
GDD Total Y.T.D
I’d be interested to see where locations are come the end of April because we have some very clear differences between locations and for me that’s one of the best uses of GDD, to see where you are, how your growth has been and how you compare. Often I know you get visiting players commenting that they played at such and such a venue recently and it was “drier, more advanced, better conditons, blah, blah” and having a GDD figure handy can allow a nice, curt response. (And you never know they may even understand it…) So if you’re happy to share them, send me in a total y.t.d End of April, by posting a comment on the blog and I’ll chart them out next week.
Just another reminder to look out for that Weathercheck email and respond because if you don’t, you’ll see the feature become unavailable after the end of the month. If that happens, get in touch with us through this blog and we’ll sort it……
With some rainfall ( alot for the west I know) and a bit of temperature earlier on last week and this week, we’ll start to see more in the way of Superficial Fairy Ring and Thatch Fungus, particularly on areas where organic matter has accumulated. Typically I see this away from the ‘Wear TrIangle’ on a golf green (for example) i.e the accumulation tends to occur away from the normal foot traffic pathways and so the disease tends to follow in its tracks.
It doesn’t always hold true, but often the areas that don’t receive the wear, tend to show the bulk of disease outbreaks, be they Fairy Ring or Microdochium related.
These have followed a strange pattern through April, with the early part of the month looking like we were due to hit the main flowering period in mid-April, but since we lost daily GDD and haven’t had any really high spikes, they’ve just crept along with increasingly more and more seedheads visible. The annual Poa biotype has been seeding pretty much since the early / mid-part of April, but the seedhead on the perennial biotype is still slow to come. I think the weather for the early part of this week will see a further increase before it halts again over the Bank Holiday weekend with the loss of GDD.
Pale and Pasty
The successive checks in growth, visible in the graph above has also resulted in a loss of colour from turf surfaces, particularly if a cold night is accompanied by strong, cold winds, as we had on Saturday, for example. With the onset of Poa seeding and the ‘up and down’ nature of day / night temperature, it has introduced a paler colour to grass which may need a light tonic with iron to pick it again, though with ground frosts forecast for the end of the week / weekend, you may come in next week to some more pale surfaces. There’s also more of that purpling around as the grass plants growth rate stops and starts. I know a lot of people judge on colour, but if the surface is firm and true (speaking greens here) then that’s the most important parameter in my mind. If you do want to pick areas up, you should try (rainfall allowing) to use the warmer temperatures of the first part of the week to do this.
Ok that’s it for this week, have a good one…