Monthly Archives: August 2011

August 30th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

The low pressure system that brought the rain over the first part of the Bank Holiday weekend has moved off, but left a weak front that is currently providing cloud cover and pegging back temperatures over the U.K and Ireland. Hands up, I thought it would be warmer and didn’t spot that weak cold front, so my forecast was inaccurate because yesterday has to have been one of the chilliest August Bank Holiday Mondays for a good while, temperatures here struggled to 14°C and with a brisk wind felt a good deal colder. I was bobbing about in a boat on Eyebrook Reservoir and it was positively Baltic, though the Trout were very obliging 😛

A weak high pressure system is now in charge and so the theme will be settled with light winds and will remain so until we approach the end of the week.
Temperatures will be on the cool side, mid to high teens, higher if the sun does break through and there’s more chance of this happening from Wednesday / Thursday onwards. Rainfall amounts will be light, with no rain fronts visible until the end of the week. From Friday, the winds will gradually begin to strengthen as the remnants of the Hurricane Irene weather system moves down to influence our weather for the weekend and next week.


I can’t see an Indian summer at this stage of the proceedings 🙁

The weekend looks potentially mild, wet and breezy, with a higher risk of rain the further north and west you are, because that’s where the weather is coming from.
Light rain will push into Scotland by Friday afternoon and a more consolidated rain front will approach Ireland on Saturday, affecting Connact and Munster during the day. This rain front will push eastwards into Wales and the South-West on Sunday and quickly more across England during the day, with more rain reaching Ireland on Sunday. Winds will be breezy, intensifying during next week with perhaps heavy rainfall in the U.K for the start of the week as the rain associated with Hurricane Irene moves across the U.K and Ireland, though at this stage it’s projected to affect the north and Scotland more than the south. So next week looks like being a mixture of sunshine and showers with a keen Westerly / South-Westerly wind for the week.

Agronomic Situation

The first point I’d like to make concerns spray windows in that this week is a good week to spray and next week may be more problematic, both from a wind and rain showers perspective. The cooler temperatures over the Bank Holiday and in particular that chilly wind will have knocked the colour out of most areas, particularly greens and growth will be slow on fine turf and outfield areas, even with the rain of last week. Disease in terms of Fusarium and Red Thread will be active this week, but with the drier conditions and slightly better temperatures from mid-week, I’d hope most areas can be grown out without the need for a fungicide spray.

Nutrition-wise, it’s going to on the coolish side this week and next, so a change away from summer-based feeds is on the cards, at this stage I’d just tickle greens along with light rates of low-temperature available foliar feeds, mixed in with iron to perk up the colour. Nothing too heavy at present because of the threat of disease.
If you do need to generate more growth (say for recovery after aeration), I’d be using light rates of autumn-winter granular formulations to tick things along at present.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

August 23rd

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

Currently we have a low pressure
sitting out off the North-West Coast of the U.K and this is projected to move
South-East bringing the low in to influence our weather for the rest of the
week and the 1st part of the Bank Holiday weekend (U.K only). You may have
heard all the weather warnings about thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, but
luckily that weather system swung eastwards at the last moment and is now
currently tracking over Holland towards Denmark, hopefully it won’t give a
repeat of the July flooding for Kobenhavn, where 5 inches of rain fell in an
hour, blew manhole covers out of the street and left alot of roads under 4 ft
of water !.

So that means a wet, showery outlook
for the next 4 days or so, with tomorrow (Wednesday) being the driest day of
the week for many, though rain will reach the west coast of Ireland, Wales and
the South-West by late afternoon. Thursday starts off the same with heavy bands
of rain affecting the west coast of Ireland and Wales and these push inland to
bring rain to most areas through the day as the low pressure system moves
closer to the U.K. The week ends with heavy rain showers over all areas, but I
think the bulk of the rain will fall in the South of the U.K and Midlands
(hopefully). Winds will be southerly through the week, but swing round to the
north briefly as the low pressure system passes over the U.K.

By Saturday, the rain is confined to
the South-West and South of England, slowly moving north and east to the
Midlands, but Ireland should be relatively dry.

By Sunday, the outlook is much
better as rain clears the U.K and Ireland and leaves a bright and dry day as
high pressure begins to build pushing temperatures up.

So the 2nd half of the Bank Holiday
looks good, bright, warm and dry……


Next week looks to me to be dry and
settled with high pressure in charge, albeit a weak one, so rain fronts may
affect the South of the U.K later in the week.

Temperatures will be around average
in the high teens, cool at night, so expect some heavy dews and winds will
be light.

Agronomic Situation

With the rainfall of last week,
coupled with some warm nights and high humidity levels, conditions are proving
ideal for disease development with Red Thread widespread, even on well
fertilised areas (we’ve discussed this before) and plenty of Fusarium around.
The good news is that conditions are also optimum for growth, so any nasty
attacks of these diseases can be grown out and looking at next weeks forecast,
the change to drier weather should lessen the activity of these diseases and
make applications of either fungicides or fertiliser / plant hardeners
combinations to counteract them, much easier than this week, where spray
windows are limited.

If it’s possible I’d suggest keeping
your powder dry from a fungicide perspective, not in terms of non-application,
more so in terms of which products you plan to use, because it makes sense to
use your most effective treatments over October and November. This advice has
to countered on my part with the realisation that many clubs have carried out
August aeration and so topdressing is in full swing to bring back levels and
here for sure, there are mitigating factors. The ideal scenario would be to
achieve a quick knock-down of Fusarium and lower the population level enough to
prevent a re-occurrence during the early part of September, particularly if the
weather plays ball and doesn’t favour further disease activity.

Changes to this blog

At some point in the near future I’m
going to be changing the system of delivering these weather updates because
what began as a few jottings to some lads around the U.K and Ireland has now
grown to a circulation list of over 400 and I want to improve the system
further. Working with Paul in our I.T dept (ok there’s just Paul:)and my
colleague, Mark De Ath, they have identified a really good system for me
to use in the future. It will allow you guys (and girls) to access this blog
more easily than weekly emails and search for past articles / information.
It’ll also make attachments more user friendly and allow downloads.

They’ll be no action required by you
when we make the change, other than to say wether you still want to receive
these updates, or more aptly perhaps, drop me an email if you don’t.

All the best.


August 15th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

Another week of sunshine and showers as low pressure drifts off north of the UK, allowing high pressure to build underneath it and affect the south of the U.K by the end of the week. Mid-week, a new low is projected to build, but this will mainly affect Ireland, the North of England and Scotland in a diagonal line from South Wales to The Wash…below that it’ll be dry and warm on the whole this week, with a potential rainy, slightly cooler interlude for the South-West on Wednesday p.m / Thursday a.m that threatens to head north into South England and the South Midlands from early Thursday. By the end of the week, high pressure is affecting the extreme south of the U.K and bringing warm / very warm temperatures by the weekend, high enough maybe to trigger off some thunderstorms.

Above that line, they’ll be heavy showers with rain expected mid-week and over the weekend for this area.

Winds will be West – South-West, turning round to the north as the low pressure drifts in mid-week, before swinging back round again to the south for the end of the week.

Night temperatures will carry on the theme of the summer dropping to high single figures and bringing a distinctly autumnal feel to the weather mid-week especially.
Looking at July’s figures, there were 14 nights recorded at The Oxfordshire when the temperature was below 10°C in July 2011, compared to just 6 in 2010.
Page 2 of the attachment shows monthly average air and soil temperatures for the year and you can see how much cooler June and particularly July has been this year.

This diagonal split in our weather is illustrated graphically on page 3 of the attachment detailing this years monthly rainfall in Bristol, Thame and Kent (Thanks James, Sean, Dan), with rainfall totals of 489mm, 241mm and 164mm respectively.

Agronomic Situation

As the changeable nature of our summer continues, stress and disease issues go hand in hand and vary depending on wether you’ve been getting rain or not.

Here in the Midlands, we’re dry and moisture is definitely limiting growth on un-irrigated areas, no surprise when you see we’re still running a deficit of 4″ of rainfall vs. E.T, compared to 2010. Where there is moisture, Red Thread is an issue and although I’ve mentioned this before, it’s worth remembering that environmental conditions are the main driver here as opposed to just lack of nitrogen as we used to believe. Still with growth rates slow, it is a damaging disease, particularly on Fescue and Fine-leaved Ryegrass.

That moisture has also triggered a good amount of Fairy Ring / Superficial Fairy Ring / Thatch Fungus activity and I’ve had a number of reports suggesting that applications of labelled products like Azoxystrobin have not proved as effective this year.

Dry areas and high E.T rates have also brought nematodes to the fore again as affected root systems struggle to keep the plant supplied with water and both ecto and endoparasitic species are showing in numerous samples at the moment. Still look on the bright side, we only have to keep going for another couple of weeks before stress levels traditionally decrease as we move into September, a sobering thought for us all….where has the year gone ?…


Mark Hunt

August 8th

Hi All,

Back from a lovely week in St David’s, but that intrays full again, so I’ll make it short and sweet…

General Weather Situation

As you’ll note from the attached pdf, the weather for August is following a similar pattern to July, in fact almost identical.

It means our weather will lack consistency as it oscillates between low and high pressure systems, for instance last week, the South and South-East of the country sweltered in 30°C heat under the influence of high pressure, whereas in the west, low pressure was calling the shots, so it was 16°C some days.

This week we have low pressure moving off into the North Sea and allowing high pressure to build for a few days, before another low pressure builds and affects the weather over next weekend, before the high re-asserts itself and so on…..

Starting with today, we have a band of well scattered, but heavy showers over the U.K and Ireland, these gradually move away to give a cool night, down to single figures in places, before a better day on Tuesday, with little sign of rainfall. On Wednesday, heavy rain moves into Connact early on and quickly pushes into Scotland and Northern England by lunchtime, thereafter pushing southerly to affect the rest of Ireland and the North Midlands later in the day. Thursday looks predominantly wet for most areas, before drying up for Friday. The respite is short-lived because low pressure swings down to give a wet weekend with the rain moving into Ireland first and then across the U.K through Saturday and Sunday. The South and South-East of England will stay pretty dry throughout the week and warm by mid-week with little rainfall in sight, that said, you guys have had alot more than the Midlands, which must be one of the driest parts of the U.K now. Temperatures will be mid to high teens in the U.K, but warmer in the South and South-East, reaching low 20’s. Nights will continue the cool theme to the summer early on this week, but will pick up from mid week as we lose that North wind.

The best spray days are Tuesday and Friday for most places, though the blustery winds may detract from opportunities elsewhere in the week.


Next week looks to start off unsettled, following in from the damp weekend, but by mid-week high pressure moves in and this settles the weather down again, for a few short days, before another low looks to build at the end of next week.

There isn’t an agronomic background this week because of my week off 🙁

All the best…

Mark Hunt