I think February is going to end as a very dry month and not what the doctor ordered for The Midlands, The South and East of England. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight to the blocking high pressure that’s keeping the rain away from us and this will mean close to 7 months now of pretty much the same pattern of weather.
General Weather Situation
Today we have a weak rain front moving down the U.K bringing light showers to Scotland, The North and Wales, but amounts are light. Elsewhere a dull day on the whole, with a chance of sunshine in East Leinster and the east coast of England, but don’t hold your breath. This dull theme is likely to set the scene for the week with a lot of low cloud cover during the day, but at least it’s going to keep night temperatures up, so no risk of frost until the weekend it seems. Tuesday will start off brighter over England, but cloud will build through the day to leave only isolated clear areas, mainly on the east / south-east coast. Temperatures will be pleasant though sitting around the low to mid-teens and winds will be light from the west / south-west. Wednesday sees a repeat of this pattern, with lighter winds and maybe feeling a little cooler. A weak rain front moves into the west coast of Ireland for Thursday, principally affecting Connacht and Munster from the early hours, but later in the day it’ll move eastwards across Ireland, again amounts will be light. Friday sees a much stronger band of rain push into Ireland by lunchtime and move eastwards during the afternoon, evening, amounts will be heavier this time. For the U.K, it’ll be mainly dry, but feeling cooler with a chance of frost in Scotland and The North. By Saturday this rain will have cleared Ireland and will have reached the west / south-west coast of England, so a wet start to the weekend here, although the band width is narrow, so it’ll soon move through. As the rain moves eastwards it dies out, so whether we’ll get it in The Midlands remains to be seen. Sunday looks like being a dry day, possibly with a frosty start. The forecast for the end of the weekend is difficult to predict because we have a low pressure moving in and this may influence the weather on Sunday, but how is a little uncertain.
If the low pressure stays on track, the start of next week will be wet for Ireland, Scotland and The North of England and there’s just a chance that the rain will push further southwards through Monday and Tuesday. It’ll feel cooler as the wind strengthens from The North, but not cold mind. Again we have that blocking high in place, so don’t expect much rain unless the pattern changes. The risk of frost will also be low as wind and cloud cover keep temperatures up.
As we move into March, it’s the lack of moisture that will start to be an issue for those in the drought-affected areas, so it’s a good idea to kit yourself out on this premise. That means getting your irrigation system up and running early, checking for bursts and sprinkler coverage and optimising the water that you will have available. For dry fairways, if budget is available, I’d be applying a penetrant wetter so that any rain that is forthcoming will be utilised to the full, rather than just shed off the surface. On greens I’d be doing the same, getting my wetting agent program started early in March if conditions allow.
Utilising biostimulants in conjunction with the above is also worthwhile because of their stress suppression benefits and often they can be tank-mixed with your wetting agent to save time.
Whilst we’re in this type of weather pattern, you have to pick your moments of applying a granular fertiliser, particularly on outfield areas where there’s no irrigation. On greens I’d work with foliar’s to take advantage of the mild air temperatures and use these to move the greens on growth-wise prior to aeration and / or to maintain colour and density. So keep water volumes down to 400L maximum and only apply light amounts (6kg / N/ Ha) of readily-available N in a ‘little, but often’ pattern.
Disease pressure should be low, but there is a smattering of Fusarium around at present, though I think the dry conditions will largely keep that in check.
All the best