Monthly Archives: December 2016

December 20th

161219_gfs_pres_500p_loop_eur

Hi All,

Firstly an apology for being a day late, sorry about that but work and other matters conspired to make it impossible to post a blog yesterday.

As one of my customers stated though I’m only posting on Tuesday so I can get Monday’s forecast spot on ! which I thought was unfair but entertaining nonetheless (thanks Mr Porter :))

So the last blog of 2016 for me and before I embark on a weather resume and why it now looks like I’ll lose some or all of my Paddy Power White Christmas bets for a third year running (maybe only by a day up north bah bloody humbug :( ), I’d like to wish you a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2017.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank those who have diligently sent in their weather data for my usage during the year, it’s so appreciated and without it I couldn’t make this blog as relevant as I hope it is to you all.

So thanks lads and lasses, you all know who you are, cracking service and much appreciated by me.

sunseeker201216

We are a day away from the Winter Solstice and as you can see from the Sunseeker image above, the yellow line that marks the path of the sun today is on top of the blue line that marks the path of the sun on the shortest day. After tomorrow the days gradually start to get longer again. Yipee….:)

jetstream211216

Not that some of us are going to be seeing much of the sun over Christmas unfortunately because we have an ‘L-pattern’ formation in the jet stream which means that it’ll push frontal low pressure systems across the Atlantic and straight to us, so in a couple of words, wet and windy will describe what’s on the Christmas menu. Now it only needs for that ‘L’ to take a little nudge down south and it’ll also bring in cold weather with it, hence my Paddy Power comment.

General Weather Situation

Ok Monday looks like being…..ahahaha thought I’d try that to see how awake you all are…

Tuesday looks like starting off quiet for us all with some hazy sunshine over the east of Ireland and central areas of the U.K but it won’t last I am afraid for the former. As mentioned above we have a succession of low pressure systems heading our way courtesy of a strong ‘L’ signal in the jet stream and the first of these rain fronts will push into the west of Ireland mid-morning. By early afternoon this will moisture band will also reach north west Scotland but because it’s colder up there it will fall as a wintry shower mix so maybe good for skiing in the Cairngorms over Crickey ?. By Tuesday evening that rain will be into the south west, Wales and the north west of England but amounts should initially be light. For the rest of the country away from this rain you can expect a settled cool, dry and sunny day with a slowly strengthening southerly wind. Temperature-wise I’d only be looking at mid to high single figures in the wind.

Wednesday sees that scuddy rain by and large clearing the central and southern U.K overnight with maybe a vestige hanging on across the east. Ireland will start largely dry with only Connacht likely to see rain from early doors but the north west of Scotland will see a mix of rain, sleet and snow (for higher ground) right from the off I’m afraid in what will mark for you a concentrated spell of wet weather over the Christmas period. By lunchtime we should see that cloud break over Ireland and the U.K from the north of England down to give long spells of winter sunshine marking the Solstice. Scotland will hang onto its wintry showers / rain mix and some of this may drift south into north west England and West Wales through the course of Wednesday afternoon. With clearing skies we may see a ground frost in areas of the U.K and Ireland for Wednesday night, Thursday morning.  Cool again in strengthening westerly winds.

So onto Thursday and more or less a dead ringer of Wednesday with that rain embedded over central Scotland right from the off I’m afraid and some of that murky rain may be lingering over north west England during Thursday morning. South and east of this for the rest of the U.K and Ireland you should enjoy a bright, dry and sunny day so don’t ring me because I’ll either be on a bike or in a boat :) By the afternoon on Thursday we may indeed see some rain drift into West Wales and then fizzle out. Cool again with a strong drying wind in the south and west but wet again over Scotland so expect high single figures temperature-wise.

Closing off the week (I like these 4-day weeks) Friday sees the first of those low pressure systems really start to wind up so that means tight isobars and a strong westerly wind reaching gale force up north I’m sure. By dawn that system will be pushing rain into Ireland and Scotland and this will move quickly eastwards aided by that wind. That rain will increase in intensity by lunchtime on western coasts and it’ll move down into northern England by early Friday afternoon pushing down into The Midlands by close of play and then onto southern England, clearing Ireland as it does so. Similar temperatures for most except Ireland where it’ll feel noticeably milder.

This is when it gets interesting for me as I have some spread bets on Paddy Power and they are orientated to the north not surprisingly. So for Christmas Eve (one flake, just one flake…) we kick off Saturday with that rain band still in evidence over north west Ireland, Scotland and England but elsewhere it’ll be a bright start for most. That rain will be falling as wintry showers over elevated ground in Scotland and over The Pennines first off. By lunchtime that rain / wintry shower mix will still be in evidence across Scotland and the north of England but south and west of this it’ll be a nice, sunny and very windy day (good for drying things out though) with a very strong westerly wind in situ. By mid-afternoon that wind will be introducing fresh rain fronts into the west of Ireland and these will move rapidly eastwards to reach the west coast of the U.K late on Christmas Eve providing a strong headwind to Santa’s efforts so expect delays in present deliveries. (that’s what I’m going to tell all of my relatives anyway to explain the lack of presents :)) Cool across the U.K but remaining mild across Ireland with double figure temperatures likely.

Christmas Day looks at this stage like being a story of two halves of the U.K and Ireland with Scotland and the north of England cool with a lot of rain around, some of it heavy and very, very windy. Down south we will have a very stong wind early on Christmas Day but gradually it’ll ease through the day. That mild air from Ireland is predicted to reach central and southerly parts of the U.K by then so you may see people in shorts enjoying low teen temperatures.It won’t be dry though initially because that rain from Christmas Eve will be in situ across most of the U.K for Christmas Day morning but by the afternoon we should see the sun breaking through away from western coasts and across Ireland just in time for you to walk off Christmas lunch with attending methane clouds quickly dispersed in that strong wind pnar pnar blaming the sprouts and parsnips I’m sure :)

Weather Outlook

A short outlook for Christmas week starting with Boxing Day…

I think Boxing Day will take on a much cooler feel as the wind tips round to the north west so maybe, just maybe a late Christmas Day flake, come on Santa, make my day. There’s likely to be some more rain over the north of Scotland but this may be the last of it.

So potentially glad tidings I bear particularly for Scotland which will have had a hammering with the rain and wind over Christmas. At this stage the projection is for high pressure to build south of the U.K from the Tuesday of Christmas week so that should push any unsettled weather over us and relieve saturated areas in the north with a spell of settled, dry weather for the rest of the week. So that means a return to cold nights, frosts and settled conditions. These should last until the run up to New Years Eve when I think new low pressure systems will push in to introduce windier, wetter and milder air for start of the New Year.

Agronomic Notes

mycelium

This year I think the ‘m’ in December stands for MYCELIUM !!!!

I cannot remember a time when I have seen so much mycelium from Microdochium nivale but also Red Thread on outfield areas be they tees, approaches, fairways and some winter sports pitches. It’s interesting because when you look at the past week it hasn’t been especially mild but two factors alone have contributed to this huge flush of disease.

The first is humidity, that is atmospheric moisture levels. We have been running on pretty much moisture-saturated air for the last 5-7 days with little wind to dry out the grass leaf. So now we know that if we have humidity levels over 95% during December we will have disease ?

Well not quite, because if we have rain we will also have high humidity levels but when we have cool, wet and windy weather we don’t see anything like the disease pressure so it’s not just having a wet atmosphere, it’s the ‘type of moisture’ that contributes to disease pressure . (I’ll explain later)

The second factor is overnight temperatures and last week what we saw was some nights when the night air temperature was identical to the day air temperature at 7.5°C. So we had a comparatively mild night, little air flow and fine, misty moisture in the air.

Dew

Now I’ll come back to the ‘type of moisture’ that contributes to disease and mycelium formation. When we have misty, foggy conditions what we are seeing is very fine droplets of moisture in the air and these are very effective at coating a surface with droplets including a grass leaf. With little wind / air flow there is precious little E.T to move these droplets off by evaporation and so we have a saturated leaf surface for the majority of a 24 hour period. Even if you are physically removing the dew by swishing, brushing, cutting, it will only be a short-term solution because moisture from the air will settle onto the leaf afterwards.

Fungal mycelium grow favourably in just such an environment and utilise the moisture to move up a grass leaf and to cross between one leaf and another. So that’s why we are seeing such disease pressure at present on higher-height-of-cut areas, air temperature and an atmosphere saturated with fine moisture droplets.

As we pick up a stronger wind this week we will see this disease pressure drop even though the humidity will remain high but the type of moisture and the presence of a strong wind / air flow will prevent droplets of moisture remaining on the grass leaf and this will make it harder for the mycelium to form and move IMHO.

What to do on affected areas ?

If the disease pressure were to remain high you wouldn’t actually achieve anything by trying to fertilise out the damage and that’s because when the plant is being attacked by a pathogen it is being damaged physiologically so even though you may have applied a fertiliser you won’t necessarily see a response.

I remember a few years ago I had an aggressive attack of Red Thread on my front lawn even though I’d recently applied a granular fertiliser. So to test the hypothesis that the disease was holding back the grass plant from taking up nutrient I sprayed half of the lawn with a fungicide. (cue twitching curtains)

In the picture below you can see the two halves, the area on the left of the augur has been treated with a fertiliser and a fungicide, the area on the right just a fertiliser. Hopefully you can see how healthy the area on the left looks because with the disease controlled, the grass is able to grow normally but on the right, it isn’t…

RedThreadThrottle2

So looking at the weather this week I think we will see a lowering of disease pressure (even though we may see a spike on Christmas Day) because of the change to windier weather and so if you did get out and apply a light foliar with iron then you should see a benefit and some recovery. (Obviously this won’t be possible across areas affected by the high wind and rainfall such as Western Scotland)

I’ve been asked if brushing areas whilst they are full of mycelium would spread the disease and I guess it probably would but I’m not aware of any specific research on Microdochium nivale. Once the disease pressure has reduced then I think brushing out the dead and decaying leaves is the correct thing to do to allow more air flow into the grass canopy.

One last point to make about this kind of outfield disease, it isn’t fussy about grass species and so far I have seen (or had reports) of Poa annua, Ryegrass and Fescue equally affected. Here’s a picture from some Fescue turf (with I think some rye in it) with classical Microdochium nivale mycelium in full flight…(Bet you like that one Kate :))

mcelium3

Ok that’s me done, thanks to everyone for their contributions in 2016 and may I wish you all the best for 2017.

Mark Hunt

December 12th

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Hi All,

Nearly in sniffing distance of a Christmas forecast this week but fortunately just 3 days too short to have our first guess at what Christmas Day will be like. For most of the south of the U.K (and Ireland I think) you’ll be hoping for a dry week after Saturday’s slow-moving rain front brought a lot more rain than forecast with some areas receiving over 30mm :(

Tue13thDec16

The weather picture is really complicated at present and that makes it tricky to forecast with last weeks mild air now departed but soon to be joined by a fresh peak in the jet stream pushing more mild air across the U.K and Ireland. (Shown above on this Meteoblue schematic for Tuesday this week)

General Weather Situation

So for Monday we have a slight lull in the mild proceedings with a widespread ground frost for many except the south west of England where a rain front is set to push in first thing this morning. The other end of that front will also bring rain to the east coast of Munster. By mid-morning that front is pushing up into the south Midlands and is joined by another front over Kerry and the west coast of Ireland. Through the course of Monday this rain pushes up into Wales, the north west and it will affect most areas by the afternoon reaching the north and east last of course. The same for the Irish rain, it’ll push across country during the day and into the north west of Scotland by evening. After a cold start, temperatures will rise as we go through the day and into the night because that rain is pushed along on a mild air front. So southerly winds and double figures for the south and west as the rain arrives and a mild, muggy night I’m afraid for many.

Tuesday sees that mild air very firmly in place and again we will see that familiar rain pattern crossing the south west of England during the morning and pushing across to the east and North Midlands by the early afternoon. For Ireland we have a dry start but rain will push into Kerry by lunchtime and move north and east into Munster, Leinster and Connacht through the afternoon. By dusk we will see that rain fairly well dispersed over most of the U.K but since it is a southerly front, Scotland may miss most of it for a largely dry day. Again unfeasibly mild with low to mid-teens in the south of England pushed up by that moderate southerly wind. Temperatures slightly lower in the north and Scotland where the mild air is having least affect.

For Wednesday we have more rain around to start the day wet but this time it’ll be affecting east Munster and Leinster, the north west of England and south west / central regions of Scotland. South and east of this you look to be reasonably dry on Wednesday. That rain at this stage also looks to miss most of Wales just clipping the edge of Pembrokeshire and North Wales to boot during the morning. As we progress through the morning the rain will stay in situ over Scotland and the north west of England, West Wales and the south west tip of England, forming into a tight band by the evening. So a drier day for central and eastern areas and for most of Ireland as well. Again mild with a moderate southerly wind pushing temperatures into the low double figures across central and southern areas and a degree or two cooler across Scotland and Ireland.

For Thursday we see that band of rain drifting south overnight to push thick cloud into central and southern areas of the U.K. The rain will be in a line from Devon, up through Wales and pretty much following the M5 / M6 into northern England. Scotland and Ireland look to have a dry start to Thursday. It’ll be only a temporary one I’m afraid for Ireland though as more rain is set to reach the west by mid-morning and push east across country through the afternoon. The rain over the U.K should fizzle out so some places staying dry on Thursday, particularly across the north, east and south east. A truly wet day for Ireland as that rain will still be sititng over you by dusk on Thursday. Slightly cooler on Thursday despite the moderate southerly wind with temperatures in the high single figures maybe just breaking into double figures in the south of England.

Closing out the week we see that rain that affected Ireland on Thursday moving slowly eastwards overnight into Friday across the west of England and into central areas by dawn sitting in a thick line from the Isle of Wight right up to northern England. Ireland and Scotland look to start dry and sunny especially across the west. That dry and bright weather will follow the rain eastwards so areas will clear from the west with cooler, brighter weather following behind. By lunchtime though we see more rain push into the west of Ireland and here it’ll be an afternoon of sunshine and showers. That rain may also reach the north west of England and west of Scotland by the evening falling as wintry showers over higher ground.  A change in the wind direction on Friday to north westerly and then westerly means a cooler day for many with high-single figures in the winter sunshine.

So onto the last weekend before Christmas and scenes of desperate shopping, queues, raised tempers and fuddled heads. Must try and get some fishing and cycling in.

Saturday looks a day of two halves, wet for Ireland from the off I’m afraid and some rain across the west of England and Wales as well. During the morning this will drift eastwards and fizzle out as it does so, so some areas staying dry throughout. The afternoon on Saturday looks dry for England and Wales, but that Irish rain front will push into the west of Scotland and this will move eastwards through the course of the afternoon to bring a wet end to the day there. A coolish day on Saturday with temperatures in the high single figures pushed along by a brisk south westerly wind. Sunday looks a similarly unsettled start to the day with brisk winds and some showers rattling in across the west and north initially but these will soon fizzle out as high pressure establishes itself to leave a dry, bright and cold day on Sunday with temperatures a degree or two down on Saturday.

Weather Outlook

So this one will take us nearly up to Christmas Day and over The Winter Solstice.

So Monday next week sees us continue that cooler feel to the weather with high pressure doing its best to push in from the east. So I think a cool, dry and bright start to the week, next week. During the mid part of the week we see a low pressure system push that high pressure south introducing milder and unsettled weather into Scotland and the north of Ireland from mid-week onwards. That high looks to cling on down south so I think a cool, dry and settled week for central regions of the U.K with night frosts and little rainfall. By the end of that week we may see that low push down from the north and where it encounters cooler air we may, just may see the odd snowflake. Maybe my Paddy Power White Christmas bets will come in for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast, ahahaha………???? Of course a lot can and probably will change between now and then and most likely we’ll all be walking around in shorts and T-Shirts come the day but as it stands now I’m not so sure on that :)

Agronomic Notes

Last week I missed out our regular GDD bit for the start of a new month so let’s kick off with that.

GDDmonthlycumulativeJantoDec2010to2016image

GDDmonthlycomparisonJantoDec2010to2016image

Wow just look at that, a total of 28 days of GDD in November making it the lowest November total we’ve recorded since (and including) 2010.  The contrast between the very mild autumn / winter of 2015 and the cooler one of 2016 is clear to see with only 21% of the growth potential in November 2016 vs. November 2015.  Is that a signal for a colder winter in January and February I wonder, we will have to wait and see..

NovGDD2016

Looking at the different locations we can see that the cold November theme was present across the U.K and Ireland with even Kerry substantially cooler than normal.

Growth and Disease Activity

WS81216

As predicted at the beginning of last week we saw a mild temperature spike that gave us daytime air temperatures up to 17°C in the south of England and night time air temperatures that never dipped below 10°C as you can see above. In line with this prediction from a temperature perspective was the predicted increase in disease activity and this duly came to pass as well with Microdochium nivale, Red Thread, Superficial Fairy Ring and some Spiral Nematode activity noted at the back end of last week.

The combination of humidity and temperature was such that mycelium were visible on fine and coarse turf areas.

Disease1216

My feedback though was that we didn’t see new Microdochium nivale infections on fine turf rather it was renewed activity on the edge of already-present scars. Again this was in line with predictions.

The pleasing aspect for me is that we are starting to get a good handle on not only a prediction of likely weather but more importantly you might argue, the potential effects of that weather on turf in terms of growth and disease activity. Now I fully appreciate rainfall remains a very variable weather parameter, both in terms of when it is likely to occur but also the level of the rainfall in terms of how much is likely to fall. Forecasted temperature however is I think a more reliable weather parameter and although there is variability per location, the resultant growth potential / GDD intepretation is quite accurate.

This will become more and more important in the future because predicting periods of disease activity and applying products preventatively before the disease outbreak will become the norm, especially as we lose more contact / curative chemistries (like Iprodione for example) going forward.

Meteoturf121216

Looking ahead to this week we see another spike in Growth Potential on Tuesday before it drops back as we pick up cooler air later in the week so we may see another repeat of last week’s disease activity though I think it’ll be less severe in intensity.

Nutrition

Depending on where you are located you may have another opportunity to input some winter nutrition if the wind and rain plays ball. Certainly if you’ve applied a winter granular last week you should see a good response going through this week particularly where a high Fe product may have been used. Keeping the plant healthy through this part of the winter pays dividends when we come out the other side in late February, early March (if that’s indeed when it is)

Once we get back in The New Year I’ll be paying particularly attention to January / February aeration slots if they present themselves and it is nutrition applied during December that will help then in pushing nice and gentle recovery from aeration carried out in The New Year.

Ok that’s it for now, next week’s blog will cover the Christmas and New Year period and then I’ll be having a well-earned week off :)

All the best…

Mark Hunt

December 5th

161205_gfs_pres_500p_loop_eur

Hi All

I do love walking on the cold days of winter especially when the ground is frozen under your feet and we’ve had plenty of that of late with temperatures down to -5.6°C here in Leicestershire.

winter2016

This picture is half way up the affectionately titled “Hare Pie Hill”, close to the location of the very popular Easter Bank Holiday ‘Bottle Kicking’ event where two villages (and anyone else daft enough to get involved) ‘play’ a no rules rugby-type game with a keg of beer. I say no rules, apparently there is no eye-gouging, no strangling, and no use of weapons :). I took part once and ended up with a Doc Martin inprint on my hand and not for the first time I might add, I was punched by a lass (but not a lady :) )

I digress so back to the weather…As we have discussed before this colder, more traditional start to winter has been caused by a slow-moving jet stream and the formation of peaks and troughs. In our case it is the latter that has allowed cold air to push down and influence our weather but all that is set to change with the arrival of a peak of warm air during this week. (exactly as predicted last week I’d like to add…cue a certain smugness and well done Unisys)

troughpeak

So our weather is a changing…..

General Weather Situation

So Monday is starting very cold in most places and if you had clear skies as we did overnight, you’ll be staring at a hard frost on the ground. We are still sitting at -2°C as a type this and the sunrise cast a beautiful pink haze over everything. So for all places today, a dry, cold day with plenty of low cloud and fog about, which will be slow to clear. I’d expect temperatures to scramble to mid-single figures only in light to moderate, easterly winds which will impart quite a windchill. Overnight we should miss a repeat of Sunday night’s frost because cloud cover is due to push in from the west, heralding the arrival of that milder, wetter air.

Tuesday looks to start dry for everyone and indeed that’s how the morning should play out, cool and cloudy, but you’ll notice a change in the wind direction as it swings more southerly over the U.K and Ireland. I say cool and cloudy but for Ireland you’ll already begin to feel the milder weather with temperatures pushing up into the low teens quickly from the west first and then across country. Sadly mild air in the winter means wet as well and by early afternoon we see the first rain into the south west tip of Kerry. This rain will push diagonally up across Ireland during the 2nd part of Tuesday and by late evening it’ll be into south west Scotland. South of this though we will sign out Tuesday as a pleasant day with a milder feel to the air and temperatures pushing up into the high single figures in the north and Midlands, and further south they’ll be well into the early teens.

For Wednesday we have that overnight rain now crossing Scotland so a potentially wet start for the west coast of Scotland. They’ll also be more rain for the west coast of Ireland, but not too heavy with the bulk of it staying out in The Atlantic. A much milder start for the rest of the U.K, but a windier one as well as that southerly wind picks up strength. By the early afternoon that strong wind pushes rain across Ireland and into the west coastline of the U.K, with more showers and longer spells of rain anywhere from The Lakes north. By sunset we see that rain into the south west of England and West Wales pushing east through the course of the evening. Overnight that rain will move east so everywhere is likely to see some rain though I don’t think amounts will be high. Temperatures look to be in the early teens just about everywhere accompanied by a strong to moderate southerly wind.

Another mild night then sees us start Thursday with that band of rain over the south east of England but with most other areas dry, save for some rain right up on the tip of North Scotland. As we move through the morning that rain pushes off into The Channel and we see some breaks in the cloud to give some warm winter sunshine. Despite this it’ll feel a little cooler on Thursday with temperatures only just breaking into the double figures, but nice all the same for early December. So a drier day on Thursday for most areas save for the south east of England initially and a good drying wind as well.

Closing out the week we see a heavier, more concerntrated band of rain pushing into south west Ireland overnight and moving up country in time for the morning rush hour on the M50. This rain will quickly push into south west Scotland during the first part of the morning and then across Scotland by lunchtime with significant amounts of rain likely. This rain band will push thicker cloud cover across Wales and England on Friday morning and some of it may be heavy enough for some drizzle in areas but it should be mainly dry, aided by a strong south westerly wind blowing across all areas. By the afternoon this cloud cover will lift to give some weak sunshine and mild temperatures in the low to mid-teens even down south. For the north and north west of England you may see more in the way of showers on Friday afternoon but largely these will be confined to western coasts. As we close out Friday a heavier band of rain pushes into the north west of England and West Wales.

So how are we looking for another action-filled Christmas shopping weekend ? (I’ll be fishing hopefully..bah humbug)

Saturday could be a wet one for Scotland with some of those showers also affecting Northern England. Ireland looks to be reasonably dry but with a risk of showers pushing in on the westerly wind. It looks to be a drier day from The Midlands down though with an increasing chance of that cloud cover breaking along the south coast. The strong winds though could rattle some showers across the south of England through the day. Cooler I think on Saturday despite the westerly winds with temperatures just making double figures if you see the sun. Sunday looks similar but I think there’s an increasing risk of heavier rain across Ireland and Scotland with some of this rain pushing down into the north of England still accompanied by that strong westerly wind.

Weather Outlook

So are we in for a mild and wet run up to Christmas or have I any chance of taking money off Paddy Power on my White Christmas bets ?

LPatternJetstream

The situation is delicately balanced meteorologically speaking but with the formation of the now typical winter ‘L’ pattern in the jet stream (shown above) I think we have to conclude that the likelihood is for more unsettled, windy and wet weather looking forward towards the middle part of December and the week before Christmas unfortunately.

So next week looks like starting off as it’ll finish with strong winds and rain pushing in across Ireland and then moving eastwards to cross the U.K. Tuesday and Thursday look the heaviest rain days I think next week accompanied by strong westerly or southerly winds depending on your location.  The low pressure system is a cold one so I’d expect some of that moisture to fall as wintry showers further north across Scotland and The Highlands in particular.  It will also be stuck in a trough so therefore slow-moving and that might result in heavy, localised rain in some locations particularly towards the end of next week / weekend.

Agronomic Notes

Since this is the first blog of December for me, I thought it opportune to look back at October and November and see how they panned out from a disease and growth perspective.

Last year we had an extremely mild autumn that meant mild temperatures all the way through October and November. This year has been different with some colder weather and night frosts and so the mild peaks have been very obvious in terms of linking them with elevated levels of disease activity.

The interesting point for me is that by and large the Meteoturf module forecast these peaks before they occurred so we could react to them (just like this week’s coming peak) and that will be very important going forward when we no longer have contact curative fungicides like Iprodione (we have a while to go yet so no need to panic).

If you imagine a scenario in the future when the fungicide technologies we have are either systemic or contact protectant (meaning they sit on the leaf not in it and so aren’t effective on active disease), then being able to get your product down before the disease peak is going to be very important in terms of keeping the plant clean and disease populations down. Weather and disease activity forecasting is going to play a significant part in this process I believe.

So let’s look at two locations across the U.K, one in the south, one in the north (Cheers Paul and Adrian for the data) and let’s see how this autumn panned out disease activity-wise ;

GPOctNovGuildfordGPOctNovYork2

So straight away we can see the peaks of growth and disease activity during October and November with 3 clearly-defined periods at the York location and 4 at the Guildford location. We can also see those peaks were stronger in the more southerly location (as we’d expect) because of the warmer temperatures. In general the period was drier than normal but when we did get rain the amounts were significant.

Why don’t you look at your own location, see when you got disease (if you did) and ascertain whether it coincided with the documented peaks in temperature as indicated by Growth Potential on the charts above and below…

I have carried out the same exercise in Ireland using two locations, one on the east coast, one on the west because that’s where the differential occurs usually. So we have one from Dublin and one from Claremorris and the results are interesting, especially compared to the U.K data.

GPOctNovDublin GPOctNovClaremorris

When I looked at this data initially I had to doube-take on the data from the 18th of November because the spike is so pronounced and we can see the Growth Potential was nearly 1.0 ! We didn’t get that spike in the U.K and it was because there was a warm Atlantic high pressure system sitting off Ireland and this pushed daytime temperatures over 20°C and night time temperatures over 13°C ! Not surprisingly this resulted in some very aggressive Microdochium nivale activity.

Incoming Mild Weather Window

Meteoturf051216

You can clearly see the projected milder weather and its influence on growth in the above Meteoturf graphic.

It’s an interesting one this because my gut feeling is that we won’t see an ingression of new Microdochium nivale into golf greens but we will see renewed activity on existing scars for reasons we’ve already covered. Time will tell.

As usual I’d be interested in any feedback you have on this weather window with respect to disease activity and how it plays out.

It should present a nice window to apply a small amount of nutrition to harden the plant prior to Christmas and looking ahead to next weeks weather, it may be the last spray window for awhile because of the projected strength of the wind next week. With some rain pushing through it also lends itself to light rate granular applications on wear pathways, worn areas and / or areas under heavy play because we are likely to see a nice response given the projected weather. Newly-seeded areas from the autumn would also benefit during this window. Knocking moss and encouraging grass growth to out-compete it is another area of potential application.

Ok that’s all for this week, enjoy the milder weather, hopefully it won’t be accompanied by too much rainfall.

All the best.

Mark Hunt