February 20th

Hi All,

What a difference a week makes, last weekend severe frost and snow, last week mild until a cold blip mid-way through Saturday.  Even today, the sun was out and it seemed almost spring-like, and later on this week, it’ll be truly barmy as we hit mid-teens on Thursday / Friday. Soil temperatures are on the increase and although they’ve been up for a while in Ireland, last week they shot up from 2°C to 8°C over the space of three days.

General Weather Situation

At present we have a short-lived cold spell, courtesy of some northerly winds, but these will soon move off to be replaced by warm winds from our resident high sitting off the south-coast of the U.K. So for Monday, the winds will swing round to the west after an overnight frost, strengthen and it’ll feel immediately milder. This sets the tone for the week – mild, westerly, drying winds lasting all the way to the weekend, when it looks to get cooler again unfortunately.

Rainfall-wise, the rain will mainly be orientated to the north and west of the U.K and Ireland, with the first rain front reaching Scotland, Northern Ireland, Sligo, North-Mayo on Monday lunchtime and this will push down into northern England later in the day. Tuesday is a similar picture, sunshine and showers with that rain now affecting Wales, the west coast of the U.K, and Ireland, but I expect it to be blustery showers, rather than heavy, prolonged rain. Wednesday sees a much more consolidated rain-front reach Ireland and push across to affect all of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Northern England during the day and there’s every chance it’ll reach The Midlands and further south later in the day. Thursday looks drier and more settled and I expect it to feel mild, even warm across the south-west and south coast of England (Break out the factor 30). Elsewhere it’ll be noticeably milder on Thursday and Friday with some sunshine and dry.

Outlook

As already mentioned, next weekend looks at this stage to be cooler as the winds once again whip around to the north-west and take the heat out of the temperatures, so I expect high single figures / low double figures, but at this stage it looks like staying dry. This cool blip is short-lived because it looks like going mild again on Sunday with westerly winds prevailing for the start of w/c 27th February.  As we head into March, I think high pressure will be in charge, so dry, but possibly cool at night with frosts.

Agronomic Notes

A lot to talk about this week….

Firstly, a note of caution, keep an eye on disease levels at the end of the week, even if you’ve been clean through the whole winter. I’ve known it before that the first onset of warm weather really ramps up Fusarium activity.

Secondly, this will be a good week to make a start on Spring work, so applying iron products to moss on all areas of the golf course and getting down a liquid tonic on greens are worth a shout this week. I wouldn’t be adverse to a light topdressing either, particularly if you have holes left from pre-snow / frost verti-draining, all grist to the mill in my books.

Brushing has to be on the cards as well, this being particularly effective at flicking out old, dead growth and cleaning up the sward. It can also remove some of that surface algae, if its dried up prior to brushing.

Chafer Grubs

If you have pecking activity and many people do, it may be worth applying a treatment prior to the expected rain mid-week. That said, I’d hope that the Corvids disperse as more food becomes available over a wider area. Last week I was in Ireland and watched Choughs work down a fairway looking for grubs, it made a change from Crows and Rooks, not that they were any more welcome though. I don’t claim to be an expert on insect life-cycles, but I was amazed to see immature Chafer Grubs last week right close to the surface only 2-3 days after snow cover and frost had gone out of the ground.

Enjoy your week..

Mark Hunt

 

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