Hi All,

As I sit and type this blog, it’s bucketing down outside and mild with it, in the grip of yet another Atlantic low pressure. The jet stream has (unfortunately) inched up over the last 3 weeks and that means it’s now blocking cold air – high pressure systems (settled, winter weather) and allowing mild, Atlantic low’s to rattle in, one after another. It’s 8°C outside, the soil temperature is just under 9°C and I’ve never seen so much water in the fields. So mild, windy and wet is how we’ll see out 2012, but I think the heaviest rain will be behind us after today for most, but not all areas and as we go into the weekend, there’s a chance of some drier weather to boot, after an unsettled, wet and breezy,  Christmas week. On a positive note, we’re past the shortest day, so beginning that long haul to Spring and Summer, bring it on I say because interpreting these forecasts is bloody depressing….:(

Before I go onto the weather forecast I’d just like to say to everyone who picks this blog up, Happy Christmas and all the best for the coming year 🙂

General Weather Outlook

For Monday, we have a rain front pushing up from the south-west, south of England and moving up country. In the process it’s just clipped the east edge of Munster and Leinster, but by the time you read this, it’ll be well away and hopefully reasonably dry for you guys. The rain will push northwards through the morning leaving a showery picture behind it by late morning / midday, perhaps settling over the north-east by close of play to give a soggy start to Christmas Day. By Christmas morning, we have another rain front pushing into Wales and the south-west and moving up country, this won’t have the same amount of rain associated with it as today (14mm and counting) and it will move quite quickly clearing by lunchtime / early afternoon, but if you’re out for a pre-Christmas lunch walk, take your waterproofs. Ireland looks to have a drier (less rain) Christmas day, with just a band of showers pushing across the country and maybe east Munster / Cork will escape these and see a bit of sun at the end of the day :). Boxing Day looks like being a much drier day on the whole after some early morning rain has moved through, but by the late afternoon, another rain band is into Ireland and the south-west unfortunately and this quickly tracks up country, so another damp end to the day. Thursday is a bit of a repeat show, with rain arriving into the south-west, locally heavy, by dawn and this rain is set to track more along the south-coast, so The Midlands and north of England may have a drier and brighter day. For Friday, another rain front is into Ireland early doors and Wales, but this is projected to track further north into Scotland and the south / Midlands looks to stay dry. Temperatures will pick up markedly from their previous 7-8°C, to 11-12°C for Friday and Saturday, before nipping down again. Saturday looks a potential wash out as rain pushes into Ireland and slowly heads south, perhaps not reaching The Midlands and south of England till after dark. Sunday is another re-run of Saturday with more rain for Ireland, Scotland and the north of England, but again, the south may stay dry / dryish till close of play.

Weather Outlook

As we head into next week and New Year’s Eve, (my least favourite night of the year incidentally), the unsettled picture remains, with mild temperatures and strong winds. They’ll be rain, but again it’ll be more north and west-orientated, rather than hitting the south-west and south of England, although New Year’s Eve could be potentially a wet one for all….By mid-week, I expect us to be drier and mild, still set in a westerly air flow, with any moisture confined to the north of England and Scotland (sorry) and that’s the way we’re set to stay for the foreseeable. So as for the coldest Christmas / Winter on record as forecasted by all the ‘experts’, don’t think so…..and it just goes to highlight two things, 1) – Nobody is a weather expert (present company included) and 2) – You can’t forecast long term weather trends, past 10-14 days, full-stop.

 Agronomic Notes

Just a few pointers really that I’ve noted on my travels ;

Firstly, ryegrass isn’t liking this prolonged period of wet weather, in particular, exposure to constant, low light levels, so  areas like shaded tees, greens complexes, etc are looking pretty tired at present, with Fusarium and Red Thread, both still active.

Moss is liking this weather and there’s a general increase in moss population levels on all areas of the golf course, but particularly greens. No surprise really because as I’ve mentioned before, we generally have a higher level of surface fibre present on greens,  as a consequence of less-topdressing / aeration possibilities and lower levels of organic matter breakdown due to cooler, wetter, low-oxygen, soil conditions. This fibre layer is perching water and providing ideal conditions for moss establishment. Another contributing factor is the lower light levels of the past 8 weeks which is tipping the balance in favour of moss growth over grass growth. Hopefully the milder conditions of late will tip this back a little, but for sure, we’re going to have a higher moss content in greens coming into the New Year.

Another invasive species that has found the wet year to its liking is Yorkshire Fog, and even on greens, this grass is becoming a significant problem. I know some lads have seen beneficial effects with using a Gramminacide like Rescue and if they’re happy to share their experiences, good or bad, please feel free to post a comment on the blog, provided of course you don’t work for Everris or Syngenta, no commercials here please 🙂

That’s it, all the best for 2013

Mark Hunt