Late, late, late today, my apologies….
Looking at the upcoming weather prospects we are going to have a very interesting week metereologically with a west / east split courtesy of a very deep low pressure system sitting west of Ireland and a high pressure system sitting over the continent. The two weather systems will butt up against each other and funnel warm air up from the continent so for the 6th year out of the last 8, we will have a warm end to October and a warm start to November. For Ireland I’m afraid it means you’ll get the short end of the stick with a very wet week starting today. For the U.K it’ll see-saw between very mild and cooler wetter interludes. So let’s put some detail on it…
So for Monday we already start off wet over Ireland with some heavy rain over south east Leinster and south Munster for the rush hour. That rain will push up the east coast of Ireland through the day and by the late afternoon it’ll make landfall on the tip of south west England and West Wales. For the U.K we have a dull start to many areas with overnight mist slow to clear, but by the afternoon the sun will start to break through, more across the east initially to give a lovely spell of autumn sunshine to end the day. Winds will be south-easterly, moderate and in the sun I expect temperatures to rise to the mid-teens, all in all, very pleasant.
Moving onto Tuesday and you’d expect with a clear night for the U.K it would be cold like Saturday night where we had a widespread frost, but those southerly winds are kicking in so it’ll be mild with the temperature unlikely to drop below double figures. So Tuesday starts off mild and keeps heading that way but that rain over Ireland will now be into the south west of England, South Wales and up the western coast right up to Stranraer, but not much further north. For some it’ll be just light showers, but during the morning the rain in the south west will become localised and heavy. Ireland looks to have a drier day except for the east coast of Leinster where that overnight rain will linger over The Wicklow Mountains. East of this rain it’ll be another dry and settled day with light to moderate south easterly winds and hazy sunshine and temperatures pushing into the mid to high teens in the south east of England (closer to the high). During the afternoon that rain consolidates and forms a band stretching from the south coast of England just shy of The Isle of Wight right up through Avon, South Wales and across Ireland up to Donegal. This band of rain will slowly track east as we go through late afternoon. By Tuesday evening it’ll be into the south east , clear of Ireland but now the band stretches from Kent up through The Midlands, north western England and into the south west of Scotland.
Overnight into Wednesday this rain band will move slowly but intensify, picking up the humidity in the south east airflow so some of that rain will be heavy. By dawn on Wednesday it is projected to sit in a diagonal line from the south east of England up the east coast to the south west of Scotland and some of that rain will be heavy. North, south and west of this line will be dry with hazy sunshine and a little cooler than the highs of Tuesday with low teens the order of the day. During the morning that rain band pushes north into northern England / southern Scotland by lunchtime and closes the day firmly rooted over the Scottish Highlands. Temperatures will be a little down on Tuesday with low double figures to mid-teens and the wind will be a little lighter and southerly in orientation.
Still reasonably mild going into Thursday with a high single-figure night, but again we have a rain feature for Ireland, this time pushing into Leinster / Munster overnight and quickly moving up country, clearing Kerry by the morning rush hour, but into Dublin by the same time. The end of this rain band will reach the south west of England and south west Wales at the same time and quickly push eastwards, widening as it does so, so by midday, most of the U.K will have rain. This rain front is quick-moving so Ireland will be clear by the afternoon as will the west of the U.K, leaving behind sunshine and a clear evening. Temperatures will be a little higher on Thursday, low to mid-teens out of the rain. Predictably as skies clear they’ll soon drop to give a cool night going into Friday.
Closing out the week we have more rain on the horizon as that low pressure sitting out west pushes more rain in overnight into the east and south east of England. By dawn we have rain into south Munster, Leinster and Connacht. Across the Irish Sea we also see rain into West Wales, the south west and south coast of England. During the morning this rain will move quickly to cover most areas including northern England and Scotland so a wet end to the week in prospect. That rain is slow to clear and by the evening it’ll be sitting along the eastern side of England and over Scotland. In the meantime some more rain is heading Ireland’s way in time for the weekend (tá mé buartha ) Feeling a little cooler in that rain so only just making double figures, but milder out of it. All in all a crap day.
OK onto the weekend and after correctly predicting last Saturday would be a “I need to bail my boat out day” when I was fly fishing, is a repeat on the cards ?
It’s likely with rain over Ireland early doors Saturday pushing into the western coastline of the U.K by dawn. This rain could be heavy over West Wales and The Lakes during the morning. By lunchtime that rain will have pushed eastwards but it’s not projected to make it all the way across England so the east and south east may escape it. It will however push into Scotland so a projected wet start to the weekend for you guys…For us in the East Midlands I think we could be ok with any rain earlier on Saturday. Good news for Ireland because after that rain clears in the early morning it’ll be a sunny Saturday What you will notice on Saturday is how warm it is with that southerly wind really ramping up the temperatures.
Sunday looks a better day as the high will keep any more rain from spoiling the party, so if you’re planning a good walking day, Sunday is likely to be it with a dry sunny day and temperatures up into the mid-teens for many. Not bad for the first day of November. (That said I’d suggest getting out of bed earlier in Ireland though as more rain is due on Sunday night)
I know some of you will be wondering how come we’re getting such mild weather when all the predictions are for a low-lying jet stream and a hard winter ? Well the jet stream is lower-lying than normal, but the trough is not centred over us at present, it’s to the west of us and like many times in the past it’s the position of the peak and trough that dictates the weather we’ll get. I still feel we will have a harder winter, remember back in 2010, we went from 20°C plus at the beginning of November to -5°C by the middle on the same month, so the bottom line is this current weather means nothing.
For me I don’t think you can tell how things will shape up till at least mid-November, but with the El Nino event looking set to be the biggest ever, the odds are stacked in favour of a trough in the jet stream bringing cold weather to us at some point. When ? no one knows so you can confine the predictors of doom and gloom to the recycling bin for the next 2 weeks I’d say…
So next week looks pretty much a re-run of this week, but with one crucial difference and that is the line between the low and high pressure systems will tilt from vertical to acute, that means a shift from a southerly air stream to a south westerly.
So we will have a sunshine and showers-type week, next week with a mild airflow and the rain will again be westerly, but also northerly in orientation with the south and east missing most but not all of it. The winds will be moderate to strong and increasing in strength the more north and west you are. By the end of next week I think the winds will lighten and the high pressure will sit over the U.K, so a more cooler, settled end to next week, possibly with night frosts.
Last week I commented on the projected forecast producing a growth peak mid-week and sure enough it was bang on. Last Wednesday we had a mild day and an extremely mild night and as you can see from the attached picture above, we were sitting at 14.5°C late on Wednesday night and still plus 13°C early in the morning (thus proving that firstly it isn’t just you guys that get up early and work long days and secondly I don’t like putting my heating on :)) So as predicted we saw increased Microdochium nivale pressure last week and we’ll see the same this week because of that milder southerly airflow bringing mild temperatures and moisture.
Meteoturf shows the sharp upward progression in Growth Potential nicely this week and because it’s sustained over more than a day it will represent a significant growth spike on all areas but particularly outfield turf with it’s higher height of cut. So we’ll see good grass growth but it won’t just be grass that’s growing well, I expect fungi and algae to be pretty active as well, so keep an eye on disease activity.
Focussing on algae, the combination of moisture and temperature has seen a lot more activity this year than I can remember and with the growth balance tipping more away from grass due to shorter day length, I expect this to continue. Algae is a hard nut to crack because it hasn’t just been prevalent where turf cover has been lost or on shady sites, this year it’s been quite active right back from August and on healthy turf as well. For sure it does like and in fact need surface moisture so the first thing to look at if you’re dealing with an algae problem is surface organic matter levels or more specifically “Are you perching water in the surface ?”
Holding water in the surface isn’t just about surface organic matter, it is also affected by the properties of the rootzone below in terms of water infiltration and of course there’s the small matter of E.T. If you are managing an areas with poor air flow (like shaded sites) then we know that less water will be lost to the atmosphere because the E.T rate will be low, so more water stays in situ. This will undoubtedly tip the balance in favour of algae. (and moss for that matter)
We must also remember that now we’re into late October the sun is starting to sit very low in the sky (see pic below, today’s sun arc is shown in yellow, the middle of winter’s in blue) and in fact we’re only 8 weeks away from The Winter Solstice.
In low light conditions I think moss and algae are able to out-compete some grass species, especially those that tend to grow less well in low light – Bentgrass and Ryegrass to name but two.
Looking at the latest research in the States it appears there are some clear differences with respect to algae colonisation and nutrient type with ammonium sulphate and in some studies, potassium nitrate coming out well in terms of reducing algae compared to less benefit with warmer temperature N sources like urea.
When you think about it this isn’t surprising because both ammonium sulphate and potassium nitrate are immediately-available N sources so they’ll give a boost in grass growth quite quickly and this means they’ll tip the balance in favour of grass growth. (over algae) There is also a suggestion that phosphites rather than phosphates can discourage algae colonisation but no explanation as to why…In the old days when Chlorothalonil was around as a single active, I think that was doing quite a job on algae, but now it’s gone as a straight (though it remains in a mixture) I think algae gets to show its true colours.
Bottom line for me is if you’re seeing algae on your turf, check your surface organic matter, rootzone moisture levels first before you reach for the bottle / bag and try (and it’s not an easy job I know) to improve air flow on the affected areas….
Ok that’s it for today, sorry for the tardiness..
All the best