Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 26th

Hi All

General Weather Situation

At present we are in the process of loosing a westerly low that brought wind and rain to some parts over the last week and this is being replaced with an Azores high pressure which will provide us with an Indian Summer. (So break out the factor 30 and wrap arounds 😛 )

In a re-run of previous autumns, the jet stream is undulating significantly and allowing high pressure / warm air to build under the peak. (see pdf attachment)

So a very simple forecast, the weather will be dry and become increasingly warmer this week, with the warmest temperatures easily hitting mid-twenties in the South of England. At this stage I think we’re settled for the next week to ten days in this pattern, though there is a low pressure sitting off Ireland and this will rattle in if the high pressure weakens. Winds will be from the south, light, but increasing as we go through the week and after today, cloud cover will decrease, so it’ll be very bright.

I expect this will also result in some heavy dew formation, as heat is lost to the atmosphere at night when cloud cover is absent.

Rainfall after some light showers today will be non-existent, fine if you’ve had plenty, but not good news for us here in The Midlands 🙂


At the moment I think that the warm, settled weather will last till at least the early part of next week and after that a low pressure system is set to slowly move south.
Having said that, it won’t surprise me if I’m typing the same weather report next week as this week because of the inherent weakness in the pattern of the Jet Stream.


The area of interest over the next week or so will be how disease reacts to the combination of warm temperatures and heavy dews.
If surfaces dry out quickly I can see disease pressure dropping back after the initial surge as temperatures increase from the early part of this week.

The combination of temperature and moisture (from last week) will also make fungicide application interesting because one would expect grass growth to pick up significantly during this week and that’ll effect the longevity of your applied product, particularly contact fungicides. I think if you already have disease ‘nibbling away’ (like that term) in the background, then I would apply this week because the population is likely to grow very quickly, however if you’re clean, you may want to sit it out, but be warned, I expect there to be a disease surge.

From a nutrition perspective, liquids are the order of the day, light rate tonics with plant hardeners and elicitors are best suited to this weather pattern, but keep iron rates on the sensible side because they will desiccate the plant and if your rootzone is dry and the air is hot, that may spell trouble in the form of wilt and tip scorch, especially on areas of overlap.

As with last week, this is a great time to establish seed and also apply late-season herbicide applications to difficult to control weed species.

All the best and enjoy…
Mark Hunt

September 19th

Hi All,

Back on track this week for my usual weather update, apologies for missing last week, pressure of work, full intray, small company, blardy blah 🙂

General Weather Update

The weather pattern for September seems to be pretty fixed with a succession of low pressure systems barrelling over from the eastern seaboard of the U.S (some of them the remnants of Hurricane systems), so we have quiet interludes of settled fine weather interspersed with periods of high winds and rainfall. The rainfall has been following the usual pattern of splitting diagonally across Ireland and the U.K, with the North of England and Scotland bearing the brunt of it. Whilst here in the Midlands, we’re still drier than 1976.

This week starts off fine and settled on Monday, but winds will strengthen through the day as a new low pressure system moves across Ireland and the U.K bringing rain showers into Ireland through the day and pushing into Wales and the North of England later, but the rain will lighten as it heads eastwards.
For Tuesday, Ireland looks dry, but a rain front will push into the South-West of England and move eastwards tracking along the M4 / M25 to bring rain through the day. Wednesday looks dry for most with weak showers affecting the North of Ireland, Scotland and the North of England, further south it’ll remain dry and this could be the best spray day of the week, wind allowing of course. Talking of which, it’ll be breezy all week from a Westerly – South-Westerly direction, so temperatures will be mild, around normal for this time of year, that’s mid to high teens through the day and cooler at nights, down to high single figures if the wind drops. Thursday also looks settled and dry, but breezy, however a new low pressure is projected to form off the North-West coast of Ireland on Thursday / Friday, (I think this one is the remnants of Hurricane Maria) and it’ll push heavy rain into Ireland later on Friday and this rain front will track eastwards affecting the U.K during Saturday.


The low pressure system that’s going to affect our weekend weather is projected to merge with another westerly low to form a very intense low, so the start of next week could be very windy and wet for all places. Thereafter it’s tricky to say, but I expect the low to track eastwards and the weather to settle down for the 2nd half of next week.

Grass Agronomics

Fusarium is nibbling away in the background at present, but with the current warmth and moisture, growth rates have picked up recently and at present I think the balance is still tipped in favour of grass growth vs. disease activity, i.e it’s still possible to grow disease out because soil temperatures are currently sitting around 15°C and looking at the weather I don’t expect this to change much over the next 10 days. That said, I’d still be targeting my first preventative fungicide for the last week of September (in the U.K, Ireland is earlier) as historical weather data shows us that this is the time Fusarium activity really begins to ramp up.

There is some late season Take-All and Anthracnose doing the rounds, but because stress levels are now on the decline, it should be possible to keep most of the grass cover and initiate recovery with light applications of well-timed fertiliser.

Worm activity is on the increase on outfield areas and now is a good time to apply treatments if you’re able. The same applies to late season herbicide applications because with the combination of moisture and temperature, uptake of A.I’s is good right through till late October usually. There’s plenty of that Etiolated growth around with the autumnal weather, particularly on collars and approaches, it’s a tricky one this as there is no control option, other than a potential positive side effect when applying a DMI fungicide for a labelled disease, but even this appears hit and miss depending on the applied product.

It’s also a great time to try and initiate recovery on outfield areas with optimum conditions for seed germination, but remember, it’s no good seeding into a thatch layer, you must achieve seed / soil contact. Last year I seeded an area of my lawn with a straight Rye mix in the last week of October, it barely came through before winter started in late November, but by this Spring, it looked great. I also remember back in 2006, we’d had a dry summer and a dry autumn and many greenkeepers overseeded outfield areas damaged by the drought, right into November on the basis of ‘If it comes up then great, if it doesn’t, I’ve only lost the cost of the seed’. By and large it came up and established through the winter and prevailed through the following summer because it had been able to establish a root system, unlike seed applied the following Spring.

All the best.
Mark Hunt

September 5th

Hi All,

General Weather Situation

As mentioned last week, this week’s weather is due to be affected by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, which is busy moving south towards the U.K as we speak, so that means unsettled, plenty of rain showers and lots of strong, westerly wind, particularly on Tuesday / Wednesday and Thursday, so hang on to your hats and your tents if you’re at Saltex!.. Today has rain showers forming over the west of the U.K, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, which will push eastwards p.m to affect all areas.

A new front of rain reaches Connact and Munster, Scotland, Wales and all but the south of the U.K by early Tuesday morning, and this looks to give heavy rain over Wales, the South-West and Northern England, the South-East should miss alot of this until the back end of Tuesday. Wednesday will see lighter showers affecting Ireland, Scotland and the North of England and these will push south, but as they do, the rainfall will lessen. Thursday sees a repeat of Tuesday with heavier rain into Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the South-West, pushing eastwards through the day, but again the South-East should be relatively dry. By Friday, things begin to settle down a bit, the wind drops from gales force and it will be a relatively dry day. Temperatures during the week will be typical, high to mid-teens, improving towards the end of the week as the low pressure moves away, but that may mean a dip in night temperature by then with a chilly night for Friday.


The weekend looks pretty dry at this stage for the south half of the U.K and Ireland, but a deep low will clip the north of Ireland and Scotland bringing heavy rain.
This low is projected to move slightly southwards, so for Scotland it’ll mean extremely strong winds for the start of next week. Further south will see a return to more settled conditions with some autumn sunshine and warm day temperatures, though Tuesday promises to be breezy again from the west with a chance of heavier rain moving through. Thereafter could be the beginning of an Indian summer, but we’ll see…

Grass Agronomics

As we begin our inexorable slide into autumn, it’s no surprise that we encounter the usual suspects.

With the mild weather of last week and rain showers the previous weekend, worm activity has started to kick off early and I’d expect this to continue through this week and the early part of next as the rainfall encourages more casting.

Another feature that’s been prominent this year with the autumnal theme from mid to late summer is Etiolated growth or ‘Ghost Grass’ as some may call it.
Prominent on all areas, particularly collars, approaches and fairways (though I saw some very badly affected greens the other week), it’s a feature of our weather and the activity of a Fusarium fungus stimulating rapid growth in some Poa biotypes. It’s not controlled by a PGR, in fact I’m of the view that PGR usage makes it appear worse on higher heights of cut areas because whilst the other grass species present are regulated, the etiolated areas are not, so they appear more prominent.
As stated before, some anecdotal work in the U.S and in the U.K has shown control of this fungus by application of a Triazole fungicide, but of course this would be as a side-effect from an application for a labelled disease.

There’s plenty of Red Thread around on fairways, tees, approaches and collars, kicked off by the combination of warmth and moisture and of course Fusarium is doing the rounds, though I think with the relatively dry week, last week, it’s intensity is decreasing.

That may change of course with this weeks moisture, but you’re not going to be able to do much about it anyway because of the strength of the wind and rainfall.

Growth levels will be low to medium, but I expect the recovery that’s started on outfield areas to continue with the rainfall this week so hopefully by next week, you should start to get a good idea of what areas are showing recovery potential and what areas will require overseeding. On this subject, from now till the end of October is a great time to establish seed on areas that don’t normally get irrigation because we’re likely to carry good temperatures through to November and with lower E.T rates, that seed has an excellent chance of establishing a root system to survive the winter with. Talking of which, by bet is for another hard winter spell of snow and ice, because of the low activity of the sun, but when it will start and finish though is another matter 🙂

All the best.
Mark Hunt