May 9 / 10th

 

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Morning All,

After a beautiful weekend for most of us with temperatures here hitting 26.5°C, you could almost hear the sound of everything growing in the countryside. I managed to get out walking in Rutland and it was beautiful, particularly when just before this picture was taken The Red Arrows did a pass down the Eyebrook valley right in front of me, mega and what a vista.

We are though set for change this week with two weather events, the first is rain pushing into the south of England / Ireland later on Monday and the second is a change in wind direction to northerlies later in the week which will drop our temperatures off a cliff I am afraid.

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Another Tuesday blog I’m afraid as life is hectic at present, but at least it gives me time to improve my accuracy for Tuesday’s forecast looking on the bright side or the wet side more appropriately. Should be back to ‘normal’, whatever ‘normal’ is next week….

General Weather Situation

Tuesday sees a re-run of this really but the rain will be heavier and more prominent from first knockings. So for first thing Tuesday we see heavy rain pushing into the south coast of England and lighter rain over the south of Ireland. By the morning rush hour this rain has pushed in level with The Midlands and there’s likely to be some heavier bursts across the south coast of Devon and Cornwall. Ireland should be reasonably dry save for some showers working up the east Leinster coast during the morning, but there will be more cloud around in general. By late morning that rain is pretty entrenched over southern England up to Birmingham and then it’ll push west into south west Munster with heavy rain potentially for Bristol, South Wales and Wexford. During the afternoon it’ll slowly nudge north as well into Northern England, however  as we get up to The Borders and Scotland, this cloud dissipates to afford you a lovely sunny day with temperatures in the low twenties. Under this rain you’ll be mid to high teens (perhaps cooler in Ireland with that north easterly wind at times), away from it you’ll be low twenties. Winds will remain light to moderate easterlies / south easterlies.

For Wednesday that rain has moved north and lightened as it has done so, so a dry start for the south of England and Ireland early doors and wetter across Northern England and North Leinster / Connacht. By the morning rush hour that rain stays mainly in situ, but elsewhere there’s still a risk of a shower in what will be a much cloudier day for most of the U.K and Ireland with the sunniest spots likely to be north west Ireland and south west Scotland. Temperature-wise we begin to lose that warm air so mid to high teens looks likely, but again cooler across Ireland. Towards late afternoon on Wednesday we see some continental rainfall heading into the south east / south coast of England and pushing slowly northwards by dusk. You’ll notice a wind change later on Wednesday swinging round to the north east and that will eventually pull in cooler air.

For Thursday we have rain sat over South Munster, South Wales and Southern England first off but this will gradually fade away as we reach morning rush hour. So a drier day in general for all areas on Thursday but with that wind in the north east it’ll pull in cloud off The North Sea so a much duller day for many. Ireland being furthest away from the influence of this wind direction should be brighter with plenty of sunshine around through the day. Temperature-wise we will still be high teens across the south of England, Wales and Scotland and mid-teens for Ireland.

Closing out the week on Friday we will see some showers / drizzle pushing off The North Sea into the east / south east of England / Ireland first off in the morning. Elsewhere we will see a dull, hazy start to the day with more in the way of clearer skies for Scotland and the North of England. By lunchtime the skies are clearing but it’ll feel noticeably cooler in that fresh north easterly wind with temperatures in the low to mid-teens for England, Scotland and Wales and that’s how we are set going into the weekend. Much cooler than of late I’m afraid, Ireland though could end warmer than of late because the warm air is pushing out into The Atlantic so the further west you are, the more likely you’ll hang onto some decent temperatures.

So how are we looking for the coming weekend ?

Well the good news is that we look to be dry with plenty of sunshine, the bad news is that the wind will be round in the north and that means cool with a capital ‘C’. So I’d expect a much cooler night on Friday and Saturday with temperatures dipping down to low single figures. The further east you are the lower the day temperatures so I’d say it isn’t a weekend to trek up to the Norfolk coast with your bucket and spade but across the west of England, Wales and Ireland, you’ll be nearer to the slow-departing warm air, so not too bad for you guys and girls. Later on Sunday we may just see some rain pushing into South West Kerry, but it shouldn’t amount to much. By the look of it, the east side of the country will be coolest on Saturday with slightly warmer air pushing across on Sunday though we are still only looking at 10-14 °C in the east and slightly higher in the west.

Weather Outlook

After the cool weekend (for the east particularly) things take a turn for the better at the start of next week as the wind swings away from the north to the south west / west heralding milder air of course. So next Monday looks to start slightly milder, dry for most and with hazy sunshine but it isn’t long before rain showers are pushing in from the west for Tuesday and Wednesday, so potentially a wetter, mid-week period is on the cards. During this transition to wetter, more unsettled weather we will see the wind shift round to the north west. It shouldn’t be too bad temperature-wise though and critically for anyone involved in growing grass for a living, the night temperatures should hang on in there meaning good growing conditions. After an unsettled mid-week spell we could go drier towards the end of next week but those winds are back in the north again so turning cooler I’m afraid by then.

Agronomic Notes

Grass Growth and Application Planning

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As you can see from the Meteo Turf graphic above taken from my location here in a very humid Leicestershire, the prospects for growth are good from Tuesday through to Thursday, but then as we get to Friday those northerlies kick in and we drop off a cliff both temperature and growth-wise with only 25% of the growth on Friday compared to Thursday. That means that the current growth flush that started on Saturday with warmer day and night temperatures will come to an abrupt end by Friday and thereafter we’ll see precious little growth until those winds swing south westwards again from Tuesday next week.

So if you’re planning on making a foliar application this week then it’s definitely the case that the early part of the week will work better than the latter part.

That said for south and westerly regions, the early part of the week will be dominated by rain, some of it heavy, so you’d be unwise to go out with a liquid feed, PGR, selective herbicide, etc in those areas until things dry up later in the week.

By then though we will be on a backward slide temperature-wise so it is touch and go whether you’re better keeping your powder dry for next week when we have a return to milder temperatures and better potential uptake.

If you’re north of the rain line then it is an ideal opportunity to make an application because uptake will be rapid and you have a drier picture than the south for a change 🙂

Poa Seedheads

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As you can see from some grown-on plugs I have, Perennial Poa is full steam ahead in seedhead mode, brought about as predicted in last week’s blog by the sudden increase in temperatures over the weekend and early part of this week. Surprise, surprise it’s the first week of May, just like it is most years 🙂

Plant Pathogen Activity

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Not the best quality image, but then again it’s difficult to turn the weather station on and try to get an I-Phone to focus at the same time 🙂 If you look at the top left you’ll see it is registering 18.9°C with 70% humidity (and rising) at 22.10 p.m. Monday night. So we have high night time air temperatures and a damp, humid atmosphere kicking off in The Midlands and South of England and unfortunately that means only one thing…great conditions for disease…

So don’t be surprised to see Microdochium patches on your turf tomorrow morning, well this morning (Tuesday) when I will be posting this blog. It’ll probably manifest itself as copper blotches across the sward and because it coincides with a faster rate of grass growth I’m hoping a lot of it will grow out and be cut off as fast as it occurs. My bet is that the drier, not the normal indicator greens will show it first as well….(let me know on that one)

High humidity and surface wetness is also a likely calling card for Superficial Fairy Ring species, so expect to see a sudden increase in patch activity. We may also see be warm and humid enough for some Waitea Patch, which looks similar to Superficial, maybe a tad yellower and it also occurs on wetter areas of the green, increasing the wetter the area becomes.

We’re drier than you think…(in some places)

Lastly with the windy and hot conditions over the weekend, things have dried out big time in some areas and that follows a dry April in the south and south east of England. Not the case in the north and west I know but some locations in the south and east only received 30-40mm of rainfall for April (whereas I think 55-65mm was more typical). If you take into account that we’ve probably evaporated 25mm off over the last 4 days, it’s not surprising that we are starting to see issues linked to low soil moisture.

Some of these relate to the activity of plant parasitic nematodes which have been quietly working away at the root system of affected plants but with no apparent symptoms. When temperatures and E.T rates suddenly increase, the plant tries to compensate by taking up more water through its root system but because it is damaged it can’t, so you start to see symptoms, typically a yellowing of the sward in irregular patterns (in the case of Spiral / Stunt Nematodes) The other species that’s been very prominent this spring has been the Cyst Nematode which produces patches of dark green turf (often looking like Thatch Fungus) similar to the top image below. (though this was caused by another Endoparasitic species, The Root Gall Nematode)

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Root Gall Nematode Damage – Note invasion of affected area by Bentgrass….

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Spiral Nematode damage in the familiar ‘Horseshoe’-shaped pattern..

If you see these types of symptom then look for a contributory factor as to why the particular turf area has been affected. In my experience there is usually a primary factor that is weakening the turf and it is because of this that we see plant parasitic nematode symptom expression (now that’s a mouthful !)

Ok that’s it for this week, chose your timings carefully if you’re applying products because there’s no sense in doing so just before we lose 10 – 15°C air temperature because uptake will be limited and so efficacy compromised.

My apologies for the late blog this week but by the time I finished it on Monday night (11.30) I don’t think you guys / girls would have appreciated it dropping into your inbox. So better bright and early on the Tuesday me thinks…:)

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

 

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