Monthly Archives: October 2011

Oct 31st Update

Image courtesy of Unisys Weather

 Outlook for week commencing 7th November

Unisys came back on line awhile ago, so I’m now able to complete my blog with an update for the weekend and next week.

As surmised, the weekend looks quieter on the wind front as the low pressure system moves off into Europe and it’ll definitely be chillier, but brighter.

Next week looks like starting off with easterly winds, before a weak low pressure system swings in to bring rain to Ireland and the west of the country (again). Wind direction should be South / South-Westerly, so that means temperatures will be on the mild side after the cooler weekend, with more cloud cover and always the threat of rain for the west side of the country.

So staying unsettled with no sign of the big freeze starting just yet… 🙂

Mark Hunt


October 31st

Hi All,

Alot of people ask me about this coming winter and likely snowfall / frost and these questions are set against the background of regular spoutings from our media and online turf publications regarding what’s likely to occur weather-wise. On the right is one such clipping with widespread snow predicted by ‘Experts’ for this October. Well contrast that with the image below from Meteoblue showing a peak of warm air pushed up from Africa and responsible for giving us our current barmy day and night temperatures and you’d be right to be a tad confused……

Image courtesy of Meteoblue

So what do we know?

In my humble opinion we know that it’s likely that sometime during this winter we’ll see a repeat of the cold-air blocking event that I’ve highlighted in previous posts and this will bring artic conditions.

We don’t know when this is likely to occur because my limited knowledge shows no system yet available to predict blocking events. Lastly, predicting long-term weather patterns, longer than 10 days is one for the story books. Weather is a wonderfully, variable phenomenon and it’s attraction to all of us is it’s unpredictability, sure we’re getting pretty good at 5 day forecasts now, but 30 or 60 -day forecast, no, that’s for la la land at present…

General Weather Situation

Talking of weather forecasting systems, my long term (10day Unisys) system is off-line at the moment, so I’ll be updating the blog with a weather outlook when it comes back on line again.

This week is one of sunshine and showers with alternating bands of rain mainly affecting the west side of the U.K and Ireland, but some fronts will be strong enough to push east into the Midlands and East Coast regions. The South-East should be mainly dry, with less chance of showers. As we go into November, temperatures will be mild due to the strong southerly wind pattern that will dominate this week, pushing mid air up from Africa and the Mediterranean.

Interestingly, this will be the fourth year in succession that we’ve gone out of October into November with mild / warm weather conditions, so maybe there is a pattern developing here ?

For the start of this week we continue with mild air, temperatures in the mid-teens and rain affecting Ireland through the day.  (Incidentally, early last week, some areas on the east coast of Ireland received a months rainfall in a day (4″) , courtesy of a torrential band of rain that extended up from the South-West of England, Wales, the west coast of Scotland and the east coast of Ireland.)

Rain showers will also affect the west side of the U.K in a line extending up from Cornwall and these will move slowly eastwards through the day, but as they do, amounts will lighten, so more like drizzle / light rain for the Midlands.  A new band of rain arrives into Ireland later today and this moves eastwards into the west-side of the U.K overnight, with most areas receiving rain through the day on Tuesday morning, but because it’s a band of rain, the interval will be short-lived the further eastwards you go. It’ll feel cooler on Tuesday, before a new band of mild air arrives on Wednesday, along with some very strong winds.

This sets the tone for the rest of the week, with lots of showers pushed along on a mild, strong southerly wind, but the showers will be more prevalent over Ireland and the west side of the U.K. The heaviest rain band looks to occur on Friday morning with some good amounts falling in central England, but lighter in the south.

The weekend is a tricky one to predict, but I think the wind will move round to the north as the strong low pushes eastwards and this will bring much cooler conditions, with a chillier feel than of late, but some brightness, so maybe a good fireworks evening 🙂

Agronomic Notes

The combination of a mild air flow and moisture means a much higher Fusarium pressure this week, (as predicted last week) and with the strong winds from mid-week onwards, there will be very little chance to apply any type of spray this week. The only spray window according to Meteoblue will be at the end of the week, as the winds begin to die down.

Nutrition-wise, it’s definitely a week to apply granular fertiliser if you are practically able to do so, so late applications on non-green areas are good to go. On greens I like to wait until the soil temperature has settled down below 10°C before appying winter granulars and in the meantime manage the interim period with light rate water-soluble fertilisers and turf-hardening tonics.

Soil temperatures will continue to hold up this week, courtesy of the mild rain, so seeding is still viable, but the window is coming to an end. Any seed already in the ground should get a nice kick this week with the combination of moisture and temperature, so hopefully some recovery will be forthcoming in bare areas resulting from the summer deficit.





October 24th

Hi All,

Before I start on the weather, I just want to pay my respects to a great, young rider – Marco Simoncelli, who died during the Sepang MotoGP race yesterday,  you’ll be greatly missed No. 58.

Today’s blog is a short one because I’m supposed to be off, but I didn’t want to let you guys down.You’re no doubt wondering why the wet weekend I forecast didn’t transpire?, well you can see from the image above that a high pressure system over Europe is pushing the heavy rain down the western side of the U.K and Ireland, so currently they have the heavy rain and the central and south of the U.K doesn’t.

General Weather Situation

So currently we have a strong low pressure system just off the west coast and eventually this will swing inland as the continental high weakens to bring cooler temperatures and rain for the early part of this week. The weather will then quieten down before another low pressure system heads in to influence our weather for the middle part of next week.

Let’s put some detail on this…For Monday, we’ll have a pronounced West-East split, with a band of heavy, torrential rain currently crossing the South-West of England, South Wales, Ireland, the North-West of England and Scotland through the day. The east and central U.K will have a dry, breezy day, with reasonable temperatures (hence I’m off to Wells-Next-The-Sea !). Later today another heavy band of rain pushes into the east coast of Ireland, so a very wet end to the day for Cork and Dublin and it’s the tail of this rain front that is predicted to push north and eastwards from the early hours of Tuesday to bring rain to all areas through the day.

This rain front will prevail over the southern half of the U.K through Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to bring sunshine and showers, with Tuesday the wettest day of the week, but as usual the rain proximity will always be biased towards the west of the U.K. Ireland and Scotland will dry up over these days and the weather will then settle down as we approach the end of the week, with cooler day temperatures and early morning mists leading into bright, sunny days for the central and east of the U.K. (and more cloud for the west). Temperatures will be in low double figures day and night, dropping where the cloud cover breaks and winds will be from the south.


Next week should start quietly with a continuation of the end of this weeks weather, but with more cloud cover, temperatures in the low teens and a southerly wind pattern. The wind will gradually strengthen in the early part of the week, move round to the West-South West, as a new low pressure system arrives to influence our weather from mid-next week onwards.

Again this system will bring rain, but at this stage it looks like it will be mainly in the north and west of the U.K and Ireland as per usual.

Agronomic Notes

Really a continuation of last weeks advice as the weather is following a similar pattern. Currently my reports are that Fusarium pressure is low, but this will increase when moisture arrives, so be on your guard.

Spray days for this and turf tonics will be available once this current low pressure system works through (Wed onwards), so curative or your second preventative fungicide applications should be able to made in good conditions.

Soil temperatures should continue to hold up after last weeks dip with frost, so any seed in the ground will continue to germinate and establish. Currently Perennial ryegrass is taking about 10 days from seeding to chitting on my observations and I see this continuing with the current weather outlook. So if you’ve any bare fairway areas that you’re considering over-seeding (and many people have) and you’re worried that it’s too late in the year, I’d go for it…

All the best.



October 17th

Hi All,

Firstly, a quick thanks to Paul in I.T for managing to animate and slow down the Unisys weather loop that’ll be a regular feature of my blogs, I hope it’s easier for you all to interpret.

Unisys 10-day weather loop

Image courtesy of Iain Richardson, Richmond Park - 15th Oct, 2011

Well after some truly beautiful autumnal days, with early morning frosts and low lying mist, it’s all change now as we enter a period of unsettled, cooler and undoubtedly wetter weather over the next 7 – 10 days. As predicted last week, a cool, low pressure system (see above in blue) is moving down from the north bringing a change in wind direction and temperature over the course of the next few days. Winter is definitely on the way, as last night I heard my first Redwings flying over, a winter migrant coming over from Scandinavia to feast on our rich crop of berries.

General Weather Situation

For the start of the week, this low pressure system will bring rain into Ireland, Scotland and Wales from the early hours and this will push south and eastwards across England through Monday,  clearing to leave brighter, drier conditions later on Monday. These conditions will prevail into Tuesday and Wednesday, though it’ll feel noticeably cooler as the wind swings round to the North-West.  Although it’ll be mainly dry, there’s always a chance of showers pushing through on that brisk wind, but these are more likely down the west coast of the U.K.

For Thursday, rain moves into Scotland and the North of Ireland and this rain slowly pushes southwards on Friday across Scotland, Ireland and down into the North of England, North Midlands reaching all areas of the U.K later on Friday and continuing into Saturday, so a wet start to the weekend is on the cards, but it will feel a little milder.

Another significant rain front is predicted to reach the Irish coast on Saturday and move across England through Sunday bringing more heavy rain, pushed through on a strong Westerly / North Westerly winds.

Temperatures will be on a the cool side early on in the week, reaching their coolest by mid-week (barely double figures is predicted) after which they’ll recover a little, but low teens is the best that can be expected.


This pattern of cool, low pressure systems is set to continue next week with another low forming up after this one moves through during the early part of next week, so it looks like being sunshine and showers, with quite a bit of rain (thank god) for England particularly and no sign of the last few years, late October blocking event, that brought barmy weather conditions for the start of November, but it’s early days yet…

Agronomic Notes

The arrival of rainfall in conjunction with warmer soil temperatures (+5°C vs. last year) will increase disease pressure from Fusarium, no doubt, and the combination of heavy rainfall and high winds will make spray days a premium, so hopefully you’re all sorted from a preventative fungicide perspective.

One other area that’s certain to increase is worms with the arrival of the first significant rain of the autumn sure to increase casting activity.

I’d also expect to see quite a lot of etiolated growth, through the cooler temperatures will probably hold back it’s potential to look as bad as it did over the summer.

Although it’ll be cooler than of late, I expect soil temperatures to hold up ok over the next 10 days, so any seed in the ground should pop through and establish quite quickly.

Nutrition-wise, we’re moving into low temperature release, granular territory and after the predicted rainfall arrives, it’ll be a great time to hit moss, particularly on back tees, bare areas with a granular mosskiller.

All the best.

Mark Hunt


October 10th

Hi All,

If you’re getting to this page, then you’ve probably subscribed to my blog, so thanks for that..Each week I’m going to start with an image of the current weather pattern over the U.K, Ireland and Europe, so you can see what I’m referring to in my ‘General Weather Situation’ section. The image below (courtesy of Unisys Weather) shows different temperature ranges, high and low pressure systems and isobars. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of once you remember that winds in a high pressure circulate clockwise and those in a low pressure, anti-clockwise. A rolling 10-day link is available in the right hand panel for both this format and likely rainfall…

Unisys 10 Day Loop
General Weather Situation

As you can see above, we currently have a high pressure system sitting out in the Atlantic and this is currently responsible for pushing warm air in from the west (Did you notice how much warmer it felt on Sunday vs. Saturday,  well this was the reason).

This warm high pressure system will dominate the week ahead. To the right hand side you can see a deep trough of cold air stretching down to Italy and this brought the first snowfall in Switzerland over the weekend, as reported by my friend Bernhard in Winterthur, but don’t get out the ski’s just yet Bernie !.

So for the week ahead, we have warm air pushed in on strong, westerly winds, particularly in the early part  of the week. Rainfall will be light / moderately heavy and mainly restricted to the north of England, Scotland and the Connacht area of Ireland during Monday and Tuesday, drying up thereafter. Temperatures will be warm, high teens, with mild nights and if the wind stays strong and cloud cover prevails, little dew as well. As we move towards the end of the week, a cool, low pressure system over Iceland will sink south and bring both strong winds and cooler temperatures affecting Scotland and the North of England by the weekend, before moving south to affect all areas of the U.K by the early part of next week, though the weekend should stay on the mild side in the south.


At the moment, the cold low is set to intensify next week and if so this will bring strong, northerly winds, cold air and potentially heavy rain by the early part of next week.

Agronomics Notes

After the extremely warm end to September and the start of October, things are settling down a bit temperature-wise. Growth levels are reported as low on greens, even with the rain that fell on Wednesday and Thursday last week. This was cool rain, so the soil temperature dropped away quite significantly from the start of the week and by Friday last week, I was only registering 11°C. With the arrival of warm air from Sunday,  the soil temperature will quickly spring back up again. Good news if you’ve got seed in the ground or are still planning to over-seed bare areas.

Fusarium activity is pretty low at the moment, with no horror stories, but it is sitting in the background and this warmer air may kick it into action. There are plenty of reports of late season nematode damage, with the warm, dry September responsible for pushing up numbers of mainly Ectoparasitic species, like Spiral Nematodes, through the roof. This coincided with higher than normal E.T rates, so the plant was under more stress and this resulted in some loss of plant cover in places. (see below)


Spiral nematodes often cause irregular patches of affected turf, sometimes in characteristic horseshoe shapes. This image is typical of the turf symptom.



I’ve also noted some Dollar Spot activity at the end of September during the warm weather and heavy dews, this is the first activity I’ve seen this year. (And probably the last)

Nutrition-wise, I’d still be looking at light rate liquids to manage growth and stay in control whilst temperatures are as they are. This week with the strong westerly winds from Monday to Wednesday, it’s not great for sprays, but Thursday or Friday should be better as the wind drops. If next week’s, cooler rain stays on track, then it may switch us into granular fertilisers thereafter, but we’ll see….

All the best…

Mark Hunt