Monthly Archives: November 2014

November 24th

141124_gfs_pres_500p_loop_eur

Hi All,

As I type this email, I can hear my neighbours scraping some stubborn ice off their cars courtesy of only our second frost of the year and everything is white and crispy outside. That comes after a weekend when I could mountainbike in my shorts and a frosttop on Saturday, as we touched 14.5°C and then we received 13mm of rain the next day and the temperature never topped 8°C, talk about topsy turvy weather !

My hedgepigs are still feeding every night, (costing me a fortune in Mealworms) but it’s during this week that they usually hibernate and around 100GDD after January the 1st, that they re-emerge ! (Oh yes they’re being monitored in a GDD model ! :))

I’ve had a lot of emails concerning the severe winter weather over in the U.S and the potential for it to come over here. In my humble view I think it’s very unlikely because before that cold winter airstream can arrive here it has to cross the Atlantic and the ocean is warmer than the American continental landmass, but just how warm is it I thought ? big_g_logo

So I went on the net to see if I could track down some info on Atantic sea temperatures and found this surf site with no end of stuff. Love the logo and strap line. My version would be “Sod the forecast, cast a line, ride a mountain bike, go for a run and try to forget about life for a couple of hours)

SST

North Atlantic Sea Temperature courtesy of OCEANWEATHER

Anyway as you can see from the graphic above, the Atlantic is currently sitting between 10 – 12°C surface temperature, so any cold low pressure systems originating from the States have to cross this first and in doing so they’ll warm up, take more moisture on board and then dump it on us. The threat when it comes to cold and snow always comes from the north and east, it’s here we should be looking to for winter’s icy touch. So is mild, wet and windy how we are set to carry on ? more rain and lots of it ? well maybe not you’ll be glad to hear…

General Weather Situation

As intimated above, we have a bright, frosty start across the U.K and Ireland after a very wet Sunday, particularly for the east of the country, where I think Bury St Edmunds recorded 25mm of rain falling (we were half of that in The Midlands). And that’s the way we will stay for most of the day, save for Ireland where a weak rain front pushes into the west coast of Connacht / Munster this afternoon and pushes east and north. Later on this will reach north-west Scotland, but as it does so it dissipates. So for the bulk of the U.K, a nice, cold, dry day with light westerly winds and temperatures touching 10°C.

Moving into Tuesday we have a change in the wind, moving round to the east and so that may bring in some continental rainfronts into the south-west of England through the morning. Tricky to say as we know how fickle these things are but the odds are for rain to push into the south-west and South Wales through tomorrow morning, but maybe not reaching the latter until late in the evening. Elsewhere we have a vestige of Monday’s rain sitting over central Scotland, so a dull, wet day there, though amounts shouldn’t be high. Ireland looks dry and possibly even sunny :) Temperatures will be similar to Monday and the wind, light and from the east. We may touch a ground frost again on Monday night by the way.

Come the middle of the week, we have more of a risk of continental rain pushing up from France into the south / south-west of England and Wales during Wednesday morning. At present this is orientated to move more along the west and east coasts, with lighter rain across central regions. Ireland should stay dry for most of the day with a risk of some rain later on in Donegal. The same goes for Scotland, but here that east coast rain may pop up at the end of the day to finish the evening in a soggy fashion. It’ll be a little cooler in a south-easterly wind and pretty dull with temperatures in the high single figures.

Thursday looks set to repeat this pattern with continental rain pushing in and moving up the west coast of the U.K, it may also push inland, but at present it looks like central and eastern U.K from the M4 up should be drier and we may even see the sun. Ireland and Scotland look to be mainly dry although there are some weak rain fronts kicking around that may affect south Munster later in the day. It’ll remain cool even though the wind will come from the west initially, swinging round to the east again through the course of the day. So temperatures again in the mid-high single figures, typical for late November actually.

Closing out the week, we have a dull, cool day for most of the U.K and Ireland, but again it’ll be largely dry and that’s what we need so don’t moan about the lack of sun :) There may be some weak rain fronts pushing into Munster through Friday and later on some heavier bursts may just brush into Co. Mayo and Co. Sligo. For the U.K, another largely dry day, cool in a brisker, south east wind and in the south and Midlands you may see some sun as well. Further north it looks largely dry, but dull.

So how does the weekend look at this stage of the week ?

Well that deep northern low will kind of split the U.K in two, with the north affected by the low pressure system and that means, dull, windy with some rain, but nothing like what you were due to receive. Further south and I think for the majority of Ireland, we look dry, milder due to the wind direction, with some sunshine and a southerly / south-westerly wind, so that means not a bad weekend in my books. I’ll be heading up to Arran for my Christmas cheese run, first time on the island for years and I can’t wait to get ‘up top’ whatever the weather.

Weather Outlook

Now you may remember last week I said that the end of this week looked to be very wet as a new deep low pressure was set to swing in from The Atlantic, but that there was a chance a high pressure could deflect it ? well it has and that demonstrates two points ;

1. Long-term weather forecasting beyond 7 days is for la la land..

2. High pressure may just end up saving our backside in terms of deflecting some of that Atlantic rain.

So how are we looking for next week sitting here on a Monday morning with my Mystic Meg hat on and a second steaming mug of Kenco Costa Rican Instant on the desk ?

Well, we have a rare ceature making an appearance, an Atlantic high pressure system, that is set to push that low pressure off to the east. So that means unsettled for the north and north-east of the U.K for the start of next week as that low moves through, but further south and west, settled, cool, dry and possibly cold later on in the week, but the outlook is dry. By mid-week that low pressure is away and that means that the high begins to dominate, however it will produce a northerly airstream, so it will feel quite raw in the wind, crisp and sunny though, so don’t complain because we need to dry out and this should do just that for us.

One last point, it’s the first time that we have cold weather to the north and east of us going into December, so that’ll increase the chance of winter proper at some point in the future, but we will see.

 Agronomic Notes

Microdochium

I’m guessing that Saturday’s mild temperatures following on from a wet end to the week will have seen a resurgence in disease pressure for most ?, particularly on older scarred areas where the disease population is higher. Well looking at the weather that’s heading our way I think it’ll make disease management much easier because we’re losing temperature, maybe not totally because next weekend looks mild again, but for the majority of this week and after next weekend, I expect disease pressure to lessen significantly and that means life should be easier.

For the time-being if you’re going to apply a fungicide on active disease it has to be a contact because systemics will have very slow uptake at present. I’d always tankmix this with iron because we know from our own research work that there is a synergy between fungicide and iron in terms of maximising disease suppression. Are all iron sources the same though in this respect  ?, no they’re not is the short answer and I’ll elaborate more on that in my short 30 minute BTME talk in January. For the time being I’d be looking to use an acidifying iron source with my fungicide application provided it is tankmix compatible of course.

1/2 Rate Systemic Fungicide Applications  – When 1/2 + 1/2 doesn’t equal 1

I’ve had quite a few comments regarding fungicide rates of late and that age-old cheshnut concerning 1/2 rate systemic fungicide tankmixes and their efficacy. The simple answer here is that systemic fungicdes by their very nature are applied to give longevity of effect, whereas contact fungicides are as we know comparateively short-lived.

So if you half-rate a systemic fungicide, even if it’s mixed with another half-rated product, the result will be 1/2 the longevity of fungicidal effect vs. a full rate application. It’s common sense really, if you applied a fertiliser at half rate, you wouldn’t expect it to produce the same colour, growth and longevity vs. a full rate application would you ? Well systemic fungicide applications should be viewed in the same way.

Just as importantly we know that even with full rate applications sometimes it is very difficult to control disease outbreaks because the climatic conditions are driving the disease population growth faster than the fungicide can slow it down. If you subject the pathogen to half the concentration of active ingredient, then it follows that you’re only likely to make this situation worse, full stop.

True you save money in the short-term, but what price a scarred surface sitting staring you and your customers in the face all winter ? and of course if you have disease scars, the likelihood is that you’re going to have re-ocurring disease outbreaks during winters mild spells.

Worm Activity

Lots of people commenting recently on worm activity and how bad it is this autumn. These comments are invariably followed by a suggestion that a recent Carbendazim application has been ineffective. When you look at the fact that we have had very wet and very mild weather this autumn to date, it is no surprise that worms have caused a lot of issues (and of course if you’ve made a Carbendazim application I think the volume of rainfall will have worked against its efficacy). Some people have applied sulphur with the carbendazim to try and acidify the soil surface and make the product more effective. This will work but to get the most from a sulphur application it must be made at least a month prior to the Carbendazim because in order to acidify the soil, the sulphur must be converted to sulphuric acid (and then to hydrogen ions) in the soil by microbial (Thiobacillus) activity. The equation goes something like this ;

SulphurpH

So it’s not the sulphur that does the acidifying, but it’s subsequent conversion to sulphur acid and ultimately the production of hydrogen ions, this is what drops the pH (Remember from your school days that pH is the measurement of hydrogen ion concentration [H+], what do you mean you were staring out of the window at that point ? :))

So if you do try sulphur, apply it first, ideally when rain is due as you want it washed off the leaf and into the soil (else this may scorch depending on your rate) and then leave for a month before applying your Carbendazim.  In a normal autumn this will mean applying sulphur in early October and then Carbendazim in November.

MossMoss251114

You can tell it’s been wet and mild of late and that we’re heading into winter because moss is now in the ascendency. I took this pic at the weekend of my shaded back lawn (Cue twitching neighbours curtains, “He’s at it again walking around staring at his grass” ). You can clearly see the new growth on the moss as the combination of low light and high soil moisture tip the balance away from grass and firmly towards moss. I believe that the period from mid-November to late-February is when moss out-competes grass on most playing surfaces (though it can also out-compete it during summer as well !).

So now is a good time to hit it with a high rate of iron, ideally combined with some nutrient because we’re trying to knock the moss back, reduce it’s photosynthetic ability, whilst encouraging grass growth to ‘out-tiller’ the moss and further reduce light availability.

Ok that’s all for this week, I hope you’re week is largely dry, that next week’s forecast stays on track and we all get a dry one :)

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 17th

141117_gfs_pres_500p_loop_eur

Hi All,

Wet

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

With another 17mm in the rain gauge overnight and the headlines full of warnings that this may be our wettest year and our wettest winter to come, it’s difficult sometimes to be positive ! This sense of impending doom is further compounded for me with the end of the fly fishing season at Thornton Reservoir on Saturday. As I walked around the reservoir, even though it was mild, everything had a feel about it that winter is just around the corner.

A number of newspapers featured articles over the weekend (Thanks Matthew for bringing it to my attention) detailing various Met Office boffins who are commenting that the pattern and orientation of the jet stream is all set to bring us Atlantic low after Atlantic low, and that means rain and plenty of it ! Certainly with the very wet start to 2014 and what looks like a very wet finish to date, we’re on record for a very wet year, maybe our wettest ?

As we sit just over a month away from the shortest day and so far we’ve only had 1 decent frost here, is winter’s cold a thing of the past ? Comparing how the jet stream was orientated last November with the current pattern shows a remarkable similarity, in that we have a split into 2 air currents, one south and one north.

jetstreamcomp1314Nov

To my amateur way of thinking, the fact that mild air is pushing up into Scandinavia and Russia means that there’s very little likelihood of very cold weather until this upper stream either stops or drops south. The bit where I differ from current thinking is that this pattern just means we’re likely to get wet weather all winter, more like we’ll head into a period of successive low’s and high’s, so wet and mild, then cooler and settled, wet and mild, then cooler and settled, you get the picture.

General Weather Situation

Coming back to this week, do we have a drier outlook after last week’s deluges ?  (For Ireland and the west particularly). Well it won’t be totally dry, but it will feature a lot less rain, even for the west of the U.K, though I’m afraid Ireland is still in line for a wettish one :(

Well Monday sees that wet, weekend rain in situ over the U.K, so likely the wettest day of the week for many as an easterly wind pushes the rain back over the U.K. It should have already cleared eastern coasts,The Midlands by mid-morning and by early afternoon most of the country should be dry, except the south-west corner. Ireland looks like picking up some rain over Dublin and east Leinster, but again it should clear during the morning leaving a dry day for most of Ireland. It’ll feel coolish because of that easterly wind, with temperatures just breaking double figures, possibly a little higher in the west if the sun makes an appearance.

Come Tuesday there’s still spit-spats of rain coming in off The North Sea and potentially just along the south coast, but for the whole of the U.K and Ireland a comparatively dry day (haven’t said that for awhile!) With the wind still orientated round to the east it’ll be pulling cloud off The North Sea, so plenty of Haar around keeping the day dull, but at least it’s dry. Across the west and over Ireland, there’s a higher chance of that Haar thinning to give some hazy sunshine and slightly milder tempertaures, 11-12°C, which for the third week of November is bunce.

Overnight into Wednesday, there’s an Atlantic rain front pushing into Kerry and this will track diagonally (\) across Ireland reaching Leinster by the late morning rush hour and the south-west of England at the same time. Through Wednesday, this rain pushes across Ireland, but dissipates as it does so. Across the U.K, it makes little progress and currently is set to fizzle out in the south-west, so another dry, dull day in store, but at least we get a chance to dry out. The wind will swing round to the south-east during Wednesday and this signals a change on the horizon.

By Thursday, that rain is still hanging over Ireland, so unsettled there. It’ll also have made landfall into north-west Scotland by Thursday morning. Elsewhere another dry day except for an increased risk of some rain pushing into the south coast of England and tracking slowly northwards into The Home Counties, thoguh it shouldn’t get much further than the M4 hopefully. Dull again, staying mild, with little difference between night and day temperatures as that cloud cover continues to dominate.

Closing out what will have been a pretty undramatic, dull November week, Friday sees a more unsettled outlook over the U.K, with rain pushing into the south-west and south coast and tracking northwards into Central England. This should clear during the afternoon. Ireland sees an equally unsettled day, but by late afternoon there’s a chunk of heavy rain pushing into Kerry and moving across the country to give a very wet end to the week there.

So how does the coming weekend look ?, hmmm mild and unsettled with plenty of rain around on Saturday, particularly for Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the south-west coast of England. This rain will push inland during Saturday, so central areas may pick some up later into the morning. Temperatures will be milder, up to 11-13°C, Sunday looks drier for everyone, staying mild, but dull over much of the U.K, though Ireland may see some longer spells of sunshine. (rejoice!)

Weather Outlook

Next week looks like starting pretty dry for most areas as a high pressure drifts in from the east and stabilises our weather, albeit momentarily. We have another deep Atlantic low pushing in from the west on Tuesday and as these two pressure systems meet, the air will be squashed between them, producing packed isobars. This means windy from the south, so pretty mild I think for the time of year. it also means potentially wet, especially across Ireland and west coasts. By mid-week, that high is set to weaken, drift eastwards and that’ll allow the low pressure to swing in, so wetter for everyone mid-week. There is a little ray of hope on the horizon in that a small high is set to develop below the U.K and Ireland and if it does occur, it may push that low over us, giving a drier end to next week.

Agronomic Notes

Thanks…

A quick thanks to the BIGGA South-East Regional Semniar organisers for hosting their event last week and particularly to the IOG Yorkshire Branch for making me feel so welcome after a long drive up from Essex last Wednesday. Cheers to Rod and Peter in particular.

Anthracnose Basal Rot

Awhile back I made a comment about the risk of this summer’s Anthracnose Foliar Blight becoming this autumn’s Basal Rot and it sounds like this has come to pass, at least along the west side of the country where they’ve received the lion’s share of the rainfall (Not that anywhere else is dry like !) I know from taking samples in the field that a lot of the Acervuli on the leaves of Anthracnose Foliar Blight-affected plants have already produced their spores and they have been distributed into the turf layer.

AnthracnoseFoliarBlightOldleaftissue

Since Anthracnose Foliar Blight and Basal Rot are in effect the same disease, but just having different environmental drivers, that of plant stress and elevated moisture levels at the plant base respectively, it is no surprise that following a high disease pressure period in late summer / early autumn, we now see a re-occurrence of the disease later on. The question is what do you do about it ?

A fungicide application made when Anthracnose Basal Rot becomes visible will control the mycelium and possibly the spore production of the disease, depending on what product is applied and where the disease is in the sporulation cycle. It will not make a yellow, diseased plant healthy. For this to occur we need a change in the weather patterns, for surfaces to dry out and for temperatures to drop which will reduce the activity of the disease.

So in reality I think you’re better off, raising the nutrition with a granular, winter analysis-type product and if you’re able to get machinery out and onto your greens, punching some light aeration through the surface fibre layer. It goes without saying that all of your summer and autumn aeration work and topdressing pays dividends when we got through such a wet period like this or it should do anyway.

Microdochium nivale pressure

MicrodochiumSurprisingly I think that the current period of wet, mild weather will not promote widespread disease activity in the field, except in cases where there was significant scarring earlier in the autumn which allowed a high disease population to establish. Last year we saw the same thing, i.e a mild and wet winter did not result in aggressive disease activity during November, December, January and February. I’d be interested to note if you see this or not, so don’t forget to post a comment.

Growing yourself out of a problem – what’s the chance in mid-November ?

Looking at the projected temperatures and assuming you’re an Anthracnose Basal Rot / Microdochium nivale-affected golf course in the west of England, Ireland or Wales, what’s the chances of maintaining growth with the current forecast ?

GPNov172014

Well as you can see from the graphic above showing projected minimum and maximum air temperatures for the coming week, you can see that the Growth Potential (G.P) is looking good. This suggests that application of a granular or liquid fertiliser this week will produce a good response and although light levels in terms of dull, cloud cover and shorter days will limit efficacy somewhat, you should still be gaining a benefit in terms of clipping yield. I’d be looking to use a cool-temperature N source, so ammonium sulphate, potassium nitrate-based products will work well and if you’re applying a liquid, be sure to add iron as we know the suppression effect on Microdochium is significant, more about that at BTME2015 in my short 30 minute slot :)

Ok that’s all for this week, sorry for the late Blog but our server decided to throw it’s toys out of the pram mid-morning, hence the delay :)

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

November 10th

141110_gfs_pres_500p_loop_eur

Hi All,

Back after a nice relaxing break away from work and what a nice weather week it was. For the 5th year out of the last 6, the last week of October was extremely mild, peaking at 20.5°C here in The Midlands of England, but it got higher elsewhere and I think for most, it was the warmest Halloween ever. Just 3 days later I was scraping frost off my windscreen. All of that was courtesy of a peak in the jet stream that pushed warm up up from Africa, followed by a trough that pulled cold air down from The Arctic. You can see this below in the graphic from Meteoblue.

141029_Meteoblue_500p

Looking at the way our weather is shaping up I don’t see any more warm peaks on the horizon, more so a stack of Atlantic low pressure systems that will drop way below the U.K and that’ll mean the wind direction will pull round south-eastwards from the continent when they do so. So unsettled with cooler spells of drier weather I think will be the trend to come.

Fitbit

A Fitbit

One of the good things I achieved when I was away was to try and get on top of a long-time problem I have, that of sleep or more specifically not getting enough of it. So I decided to do something about it because I’ve always known that I sleep badly, but haven’t been able to quantify it.

So when I told my ‘significant other’ over a cup of coffee that I had ordered a ‘FitbitFitbit2 off the internet’, there was a long and somewhat strained silence. Can’t imagine what she was thinking, but of course I was talking about the little gadget from Apple that measures your personal activities, one of which is sleep :) . So I’ve tried to quantify the problem and now I have a basis, a benchmark to work with, because I really do have a sleep problem !!!! (see left)

What has this to do with turf management ?, well a lot as it happens, not the Fitbit per se, but the principle behind using it. A lot of aspects of turf management are not black and white, they’re grey, so we have to try and understand what we are looking at, why it’s ocurring and then quantify it, so we can set a benchmark.

This helps with communication as well. For example, if we have 6% organic matter in our top 40mm of rootzone, this would be considered excessive. By measuring it, we know what we have and then we can put together a plan of action to deal with it and we have a parameter to communicate i.e We have ‘Y %’ organic matter, this is excessive and causing the following issues and we need to tackle it by this aeration route in order to reduce it to ‘X %’.

Onto the weather…

General Weather Situation

After the deluge at the end of last week and over the weekend, I’m afraid there’s more to come, with the end of the week looking extremely wet I’m afraid.

So Monday starts off dry for most, here it’s a cool, bright start with the mist slowly receding, but I’m afraid the next Atlantic weather front is already winging its way towards the west coast of Ireland. You should be able to see it by now if you’re down on the Dingle Peninsula and shortly you’ll be experiencing it as well :( So by mid-morning that rain will be into Kerry and pushing north-eastwards across Ireland. By mid-afternoon it’s into the south-west of England and Wales and thereafter it pushes into the west coast of the U.K and inland, though the east and south-east should stay reasonably dry all day. Temperatures will remain about normal for this time of year, 11°C ish and the wind firmly in the south / south-west.

By Tuesday that rain has cleared Ireland so a drier start for you guys, but a chunk of that rain looks set to push back into the eastern coast of Munster / Leinster and stay for most of the day, role-reversal there due to a change in the wind direction. The other side of this rain front looks set to stay in situ affecting the west coast of the U.K inland to around Birmingham. In fact if you draw a line up from Southampton through Birmingham to Stirling, west of that line looks to have a wet day and east of that line looks drier. It will be a dull day for all of us, but that cloud cover will keep night time temperatures up and again around 11-12°C in a brisk south-easterly wind.

By mid-week we have a very mixed picture with that rain still affecting the east coast of Ireland and the west coast of the U.K. Just to add insult to injury, there’s another rain front pushing into the south-west of Ireland and the U.K to give another wet start to the day here, but it will clear the former. By late Wednesday morning that rain is pushing across the U.K, as the wind shifts around again to the south-south-west and this time it looks to reach the south coast, south-east, Midlands. It’ll soon clear to leave a clear end to the day, so a much cooler night in store for Wednesday.

By Thursday we have perhaps the driest start to day for the week, with only a smidge of rain lingering over the north-west coast of Scotland. By morning rush hour we have a heavy rain front moving into Kerry and then across Ireland and I mean pretty heavy rain unfortunately. This will reach the south-west of England by early evening, so for England, Wales and Scotland a largely dry day on Thursday with a chance of some hazy sunshine and reasonable temperatures, BUT this is the calm before the storm :(

Friday sees that heavy rain band clearing most of Ireland (maybe a vestige across Wexford and Clare) and pushing into the west coast of the U.K, before it intensifies during the morning to give heavy rain across most of the U.K, particularly the middle of the country and the north-east of England / Scotland.

So how is the weekend is looking ?

Well that heavy rain clears the U.K overnight, but because the low is in a trough, it sweeps back around into the north-east of Scotland and the east coast of England, with another swirl affecting the south of Munster and the south-west / south coast of England. Away from this it looks a reasonable day, some showers, but also some hazy sunshine as well, with temperatures similar to the start of the week.  Sunday looks similar for most, so drier away from the same rain affected areas on Saturday, but still there’s a risk of rain across the north-east and along the south-west / south coast. A little cooler as the wind shifts round to the south-east again. This will be a feature of November.

Weather Outlook

gfs_500p_7d_eur

The propensity for low pressures to sink below the U.K (see above) is a new feature of our weather and doesn’t happen very often, but I think it may do this year. When it does that means that the top of low brings weather over from the continent on a south-east / easterly wind, typically cool and dry. If this trend continues into the winter I think it’ll bring over cooler and cooler weather and ultimately snow. That’s why I just put a sneaky 15 smackers on snow for Rome at Christmas (25/1 odds !!!) Of course it could all all change so please don’t blame me :)

Anyway I digress, next week sees the low pressure sat below us, with a south east / easterly wind and a much drier week in prospect for all of us you’ll be delighted to hear, at least for the early part of the week anyway. So a dry start to next week, cooler in those winds, but typical for November. By mid-week though another Atlantic low is heading our way and this is set to bring rain across Ireland from early doors Wednesday and this will move eastwards as the wind swings round to the south-west. So a dry, cool start to next week and potentially a wetter, milder finish.

Agronomic Notes

So all the things we normally associate with this time of year are well and truly here, that is, a saturated soil, worm casts, leaves and grass still lush from that late October growth flush. Looking back at October we can see that it was another exceptionally mild month, nearly the same as 2013 in terms of GDD days.

GDDmonthlycumulativeJantoDec2010to2014image

GDDmonthlycomparisonJantoDec2010to2014image

Interestingly if you look at the above totals for October, the 2 years when we’ve had a severe winter (2010 and 2013) were already showing a much cooler weather pattern in October in terms of GDD totals for the month.

There were some extremely pronounced peaks and troughs in growth during October and to highlight this I’m using Growth Potential data from The Oxfordshire and Long Ashton (Cheers Sean and James for this).

GPOct14

We can see that the start of October was exceptionally mild, then temperatures dropped, so growth slowed down, however by the 14th, we had another warm peak in the jet stream and temperatures shot up, giving a flush of growth as the G.P nearly topped out at 1.0 (which is optimum growth conditions). It then dropped back again before that last warm peak pushed in to shoot temperatures back up in the last week. To be looking at a G.P of 0.99 on the last day of October highlights just how much our weather has changed at this time of year !

Disease Pressure

The last part of October represented extremely high disease pressure and many facilities experienced severe outbreaks of Microdochium nivale, as well as Red Thread on sports pitches and Fairy Rings (I was walking during my week off and there were mushrooms everywhere popping out of the ground !!!). Below I have charted G.P vs. Relative Humidity and you can see there were periods during the month (highlighted in red) when the G.P was climbing quickly (so day and night temperatures were increasing) and the humidity was over 80%.

GPRHOct14

This combination of high G.P and high relative humidity represents ideal conditions both for spore germination and mycelium growth of Microdochium nivale and highlights why October is THE MONTH for this disease. That’s why you have to be protected with a preventative fungicide application prior to this type of weather.

Late October Score ……..Fungal Growth 1   Fungicidal Suppression 0

Even when you had this full-rate systemic fungicide or a full-rate systemic / contact  combination applied, some clubs still reported active mycelium growth and this is because of a phenomenon I’ve explained earlier this autumn. That is to say, the rate of fungal growth is exceeding the rate of fungiostatic suppression by the fungicide. When the conditions drop back, then you get control (green line drops away), when it increases quickly, then you’re in danger of a disease outbreak even when you have apparently ticked the boxes for fungicide application. Of course another consequence of an increasing G.P is an increase in clipping yield, so removal of the fungicide in the clippings is quicker, plus new growth emerges that may or may not be protected.

Unfortunately if you did experience heavy scarring during this period, you’re likely to see continued activity on the worst scars because it is here where the disease population is the highest.

Grass is still the favourite for Football League Divisions One and Two

At the back end of last week there was an important vote for our industry when football club chairmans voted for or against the use of artifical surfaces in League Divisions One and Two, you can read about it here

It was a tied vote, but carried against the motion, so grass and indirectly our industry was the winner, for the time-being. The closeness of the vote however suggests this issue isn’t done with yet.

……………………………

Ok that’s all for now, have to get some trials sprayed out before the rain arrives…

All the best.

Mark Hunt