Hi All,

Firstly, apologies for those people that received multiple copies of last weeks update, I sent it from France and the hotel internet was un peu temperamental n’est pas 🙂
Also thanks for everyone who sent their rainfall totals in, it gave me a good picture of what everyone’s been getting and certainly the South of England has topped up significantly over the last week, especially the Surrey area it would seem.

General Weather Situation

As for the last few weeks now, pretty much the whole of June, low pressure stays in charge and so more rain is on the way this week, but it’ll be of a more showery nature, a couple of degrees warmer between the showers than last week and the showers themselves will be a bit more hit and miss. Winds will be from the West / South-West from early to mid-week, but as we approach the end of the week, they’ll swing round to the North and quieten down a bit.

I read in late May on Greencast about ‘who would bet against another flaming June’, as per last year, well the weather doesn’t work like that. This years June weather has been characterised by low pressure systems that have circulated over the U.K and Ireland, giving us cooler, wetter conditions and with no effective jetstream to move them on, they have dominated. Last year, we had high pressure stuck over the U.K and Ireland, again the jetstream was weak and this gave hot, dry conditions, the difference therefore between this year and last was down to what type of weather system, (low or high) that was in place when the jet stream weakened and you can’t predict that year on year, or even month to month. This is why to me forecasting long-term, beyond 10 days is highly inaccurate and anyone who claims to predict the season ahead accurately is either gifted or mistaken, or both :).

This week and the outlook for next week

Monday starts off fine, though chilly as those cool nights are still around, but a band of showers is moving in from the S.West affecting Connact and Munster in Ireland and the South West of England, South Wales from early afternoon. These will push eastwards later in the day and affect most of the south of the U.K from the Midlands down. This sets the theme for the week, showers pushing in from the west, with the day starting off dry and then clouding over with rain moving through. The further west you are, the quicker the rain will start in the morning, with the heaviest rain for Ireland on Tuesday, but they’ll be plenty of showers around there through the week. For the U.K, it again follows a similar pattern to last week with the heaviest rain from mid-week onwards and Thursday and Friday looking particularly wet. Spray days will again be tricky with the threat of rainfall and blustery winds, particularly mid-week, but if you can’t get on this week, don’t worry because early next week appears much better.

Thereafter a high pressure system nudges in, bringing settled conditions over the 2nd part of the weekend, with a drier and warmer feel to the weather and this extends into the start of next week. Temperatures will nudge into the twenties for the start of the week and it may well last until the mid- latter part of the week though forecast opinions are divided thereafter. Unisys suggests that another low pressure may well form to continue the spell of unsettled conditions and I tend to feel it may go this way.

Agronomic Situation

Growth on higher height of cut areas should be in full swing at present as we get our Spring flush in June ! and certainly reports I’ve had from around the country suggest outfield areas are starting to recover well after the recent rains. Now is a good time to get a herbicide treatment on, if you can apply between the showers because uptake and grass recovery will be good. Greens growth appears to be ticking along with the cool nights keeping it in check to a certain extent.

Disease pressure is obviously higher than of late with the arrival of the rain and both Fusarium and Fairy Rings top the charts in terms of reports back from end-users, the latter can be quite tricky to eradicate, particularly when it appears in the form of Thatch Fungus.

Key to successful management is good surface fibre maintenance, with sufficient topdressing to negate any sideways ‘bridging of the roots’, regular and light vertical aeration in the form of solid tining / sarrell rolling. If treating with an approved fungicide :), combine it with a wetting agent in a good spray water volume, ideally 600 – 800 litres per hectare, or better still (if practically feasible), follow application with irrigation. It’s very important to identify the depth that the fungus is active before you treat because you have to get the fungicide into this region to achieve effective control and sometimes that may be in the first 10mm of the surface (as it often is with Thatch Fungus) and other times, it may be down 100mm, as can be the case with Type I or Type II Fairy Rings.  Interestingly there’s still much debate on what exactly causes loss of grass in some cases of Fairy Rings, some postulate that it’s the hydrophobic action of the fungus itself, others that ammonia gas / ammonium ions is released and accumulates to such a level that it is toxic to the plant roots. I have a fact sheet handy on this subject if it’s of interest.

All the best.
Mark Hunt