Monthly Archives: March 2011

March 28th

Hi All,

On top of the ironing this week, so we’re back to normal 😛

General Weather Situation

We’re tracking pretty much on last weeks forecast, with Monday and Tuesday this week being the change-over days from the dominant high pressure to the once typical, Atlantic low pressure systems and sunshine and showers that used to typify our Spring weather.

From Tuesday, the wind begins to gather strength and shifts to a South / South-Westerly airflow

The wind strength and the arrival of rain will be the features of the weather for the next 10 days, with strong winds towards the end of the week and over the weekend.
Since the wind direction is South-Westerly, it means that rainfall will be lighter in the south-east of the U.K and heaviest in Ireland, the South-West, Wales, the North of England and Scotland.

Regional Specifics & Outlook

A pretty simple picture here with a diving line drawn roughly from Cork diagonally across Wales and into the North of England, above this line, the weather will be cooler and wetter, below milder and less-wet. The combination of strong winds and blustery showers is set for this week and into next, with the only quieter interlude being next Sunday and Monday, as the wind drops and temperatures cool. This only lasts a couple of days though, as the next low pressure whisks’ in from the west to bring strong westerly winds and more rain. Temperatures will be mild, typically mid-teens during the day and remaining mild overnight.

This means no risk of frost and therefore the handbrake is let off in terms of growth 🙂

In terms of rain, Tuesday starts off with light showers dispersed over Ireland and the U.K, but these will be a bit hit and miss, with the first proper rain arriving on Wednesday early morning in Ireland and Scotland, moving quickly into the South-West of England and Wales on Wednesday afternoon and across the remainder of the U.K later that day, but amounts will lessen as it moves eastwards. The next rain front arrives into Kerry on Thursday morning, but this tends to move more diagonally, so the likelihood of rain is higher in the U.K from Bristol, Oxford northwards during Thursday and into Friday.

Another rain front is following on after this and due to move through Ireland on Friday and much of the U.K on Saturday / Sunday, with a more southerly pattern to the rain on Sunday. Looking into next week, after we move through Sunday and Monday’s temporarily lull in proceedings, more sunshine and showers is the order of the day, with strong winds and a nice drop of rain.


You don’t have to be gifted agronomically to know that the forecasted weather will mean good growing weather, so I’d expect greens growth to really kick off this week, with the loss of those cold nights. The rain will be falling at around 12°C, so one would expect the soil temperature to nip up to that and stay there, without the night dip as we’ve experienced recently. In a nutshell that means good recovery from aeration, disease scars and I would hope that any latent disease is able to be grown out, provided of course fertility is in place. The weather characteristics will suit granular fertilisers, one because of the moisture and two because the wind strength will make it pretty difficult to spray, so use these days before it arrives to get everything down that’s due.

I’m glad to write this forecast because it means good growing conditions for you guys and ones that used to typify our Spring, but have been sadly lacking of late.
Of course this may mean too much growth on higher-height of cut areas, but so if you have a chance / and have the budget :), to get an early Primo Maxx out here, it will certainly benefit you, but not for greens, in my humble opinion, it’s too early.

To leave on a positive note, I saw my first Swallow yesterday, flitting over Eyebrook reservoir and no doubt having a good feast on the early buzzer hatch after his or hers long flight up from Africa. Every year it makes me smile without fail, to think that a little bird can achieve so much, it kind of makes us look pretty ordinary as a species in comparison.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

March 21st

Hi All,

Didn’t manage to get a weather update out last week, my apologies, it’s the first week I’ve missed this year, but to be honest, it got to 11.20 p.m and it was either, do the update or do my ironing for the week ahead…..the ironing won 🙁

General Weather Situation

Well, it’s pretty much the same as last week and the week before that, high pressure remains in charge, but unlike last week, it’s a warmer high pressure this week, so day temperatures will be mid to high teens in places, nights will be mild and no risk of frost until we approach the back end of the week.  Where skies clear, it’ll be simply glorious, a real shame to be at work says me.

There is no rain this week, but if you look below at the outlook, those of you who need it, are likely to get your wishes granted from the mid-part of next week onwards.
As we approach the end of the week/ weekend, temperatures will drop away as a cool wind comes in from the east, so that will mean a high risk of night frost on Friday night / Saturday morning and much cooler days, typically only high single figures.

Regional Specifics

It’s a straight-forward picture for the whole of the U.K and Ireland with warm days, temperatures dependent on cloud cover and mild nights.

As we approach Friday, the cooler North-East / East wind will drop temperatures, with frost risk likely in Scotland on Thursday night, moving down the U.K on Friday night, though Ireland should escape the frost.  Saturday will be cool in the U.K / Ireland on the back of a brisk easterly wind, but the first signs of a change come to Ireland initially on Sunday as the wind swings round to the west, affecting the U.K later, signalling that an Atlantic low is on the way and removing the risk of frost for next week.


Looking into next week, I expect temperatures to rise gradually from their dip over the weekend and as we approach mid-week, the wind will intensify in strength from the west and rain will move into Ireland first and then the U.K from Wednesday / Thursday on the back of some pretty strong South-West winds. The rainfall intensity looks heavy, so more than a passing shower from this weather system.


These last few weeks have given us a chance to dry out, an opportunity to catch up on winter projects and the tricky to manage combination of dry warm days and dry cold nights. Moisture levels in the surface are now growth-limiting in some parts of the country, so a light syringe wouldn’t go amiss if your irrigation system is up and running. Lower down the profile there’s plenty of moisture, but it’s at the surface that things are drying out, particularly if you have a surface organic matter accumulation.

The normal objection to this is the effect of watering with cold water impacting negatively on growth, but this is a bit of a non-starter because firstly, a lack of surface moisture is impacting on growth already and secondly, irrigating in the morning will only drop soil temperatures for a couple of hours before they return to normal during the warmer days. It also goes without saying that a first application of wetting agent / biostimulant is ideal at this time to facilitate the above.

Growth-wise, areas with moisture are growing well, usually higher-height of cut tees, approaches, fairways and semi-rough, but greens growth is slow, so recovery from March aeration is sub-optimal. That should be corrected after the weekend, as soil temperatures rise and stay higher than of late with the arrival of westerly moisture.
I appreciate soil temperatures are close to double figures during the day (I measured 12°C during the day in Cornwall last week), but the cool nights are keeping the daily average down and as commented upon earlier, it’s the lack of moisture that is limiting growth, not temperature.

The familiar purpling pattern is discernible across greens at present and is particularly evident on more exposed greens or those that go through bigger temperature transitions during the day and night, as opposed to shady, sheltered greens.

I’ve attached an article that explains the purpling phenomenon in more detail for anyone that hasn’t read this before.

I would expect increased Fusarium pressure at the moment because of the warmer nights, but we’ll soon be reaching a point where the level of growth exceeds the speed of development of the disease, so we can grow it out, without applying a fungicide.

Fertiliser-wise, the time is right for applying granular fertilisers this week in readiness for next weeks rainfall or to pick up areas with a light liquid tonic as this week is a good spraying week and next week probably won’t be because of the rainfall and high winds.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

March 7th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

The high pressure that has dominated the last week or so is set to drift away over the next few days and be replaced by a nasty cold low pressure, the one I referred to last time as containing cold air and snow, well it’s on its way down the country later this week, so a return to winter for some parts for sure by next weekend.

This low will push cool, wet air down the country from Tuesday onwards, though initially any moisture will be confined to Scotland, the North of England and Ireland, however from Friday / Saturday, things look to turn much colder with an Artic blast bringing sleet / snow / rain to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the North of England by the weekend.

The south of England should stay reasonably dry during next week with acceptable daytime temperatures until the end of the week, but this will mean frost is likely where skies clear, with the highest risk of frost at the beginning and end of the coming week and possibly a respite mid-week.

Regional Specifics

Ireland will start off cloudy this week, before the low begins to move in Tuesday afternoon bringing cool showers to Sligo, North Mayo / Connacht and these will work their way South-East to affect most of Ireland during the day. They will also affect Scotland on Tuesday, moving south on Wednesday to affect the North of England and Wales by mid-week.

A line from the Midlands-South seems to be set to stay dry till late Thursday when cold and blustery showers move down from the North, but the South of England should stay mainly dry till the end of the week, when the real rain pulse moves in. Initially it’s due to reach the South-West of Ireland on Friday afternoon, but it’ll soon move easterly into Wales, the South-West, the North of England, Scotland and the Midlands in the early hours of Saturday with blustery, heavy showers of sleet or snow during Saturday, as temperatures plummet. It’s unlikely to be much above 3-4°C during the day, but feeling much colder in the wind, so you can put those shorts back in the draw for awhile yet 🙁 . The wind direction will be Westerly mid-week, moving round to the West / North-West by the end of the week.


The early part of next week starts quiet before a fast-moving, intense low pushes through on Tuesday bringing high winds and heavy rain to all places, but once this moves through temperatures should start to recover, as there are signs of milder weather from Wednesday onwards, though the danger of frost won’t go away.


Soil temperatures will take a bit of a hammering by the end of the week, so I don’t expect them to be much above 4-5°C by the weekend.

This will slow down growth and most likely knock the colour out of higher height of cut areas with the repeated frost and cold winds of the coming weekend.

I don’t suppose we should be surprised by a return to cold weather because February was such a mild month with an average soil / air temperature of 6.0  /  7.7°C in 2011, compared to 2.7 /  4.3°C for 2010.

Interestingly I took some rainfall samples during February and there was wide fluctuation in both the pH of the rain that fell and the nitrogen content.

I recorded the following ;

N Content per 25mm of rainfall            pH
13 / 02 / 2011                    6.02 kg / N / Ha                    6.7
19 / 02 / 2011                    1.66 kg / N / Ha                    7.7
25 / 02 / 2011                    0.65 kg / N / Ha                    6.4

The lab retested the 13th February result and it stands though should be treated with caution, but why we had so much N in the rain then I don’t know to be honest.

The pH variability is also an area of mystery because I’ve never previously seen rain fall with an alkaline pH, but I can only report what I see.

Disease-wise, we have some Fusarium from the week before last when temperatures were mild and plenty of activity by Corvids with Bibionid species the main culprit.

Spray windows are confined to the early part of the week for Ireland, Scotland and the North of England, but extend longer into the week for the South of England, though alot depends on frost in the morning and wind strength.

Personally I’d hang fire with any spraying this week unless it’s iron on moss. If you’re planning to hit moss with a granular application then this week is a good time to get granulars on as the dry conditions will allow you to apply product and the rain front coming through at the end of the week will break these down.

Wrap up well and all the best.
Mark Hunt