Hi All,

Slight glitch this week in that this post should have gone out on Tuesday, the 3rd January, when I created and published it, but it didn’t, so a slightly delayed welcome to 2012, and here’s wishing you a good one for the year to come.

I have to be honest, I’m not a fan of New Year, never have been , but I comfort myself with the fact that I can see my Hellebore’s and the first Snow Drops pushing through, we’ve got off lightly so far winter-wise and we’re only 8 weeks away from the start of March 🙂

General Weather Situation

Well this year’s started off with a bang with the high winds and rainfall courtesy of a deep Atlantic, low pressure system – see graphic above. These high winds will stay with us for awhile and vary between westerly and north-westerly, so feeling cooler than the barmy days of late December. The pattern of our weather systems remains the same with high pressure sitting south-west of the U.K and blocking cold, arctic, low pressure systems from the north. Occasionally one of these low pressure systems forces its way in and we get a cold interlude with north winds, but these have been short-lived and noticeable by their absence this winter.

Onto the weather for this week – Currently we have this intense low pressure system pushing gale force winds and heavy rain across the U.K. Just now we had a storm here that looked like someone was steam-cleaning my road, such was the ferocity of the wind and rain ! These gale force winds will remain until close of play on Thursday and they’ll quickly swing round to the north-west, so it’ll feel chillier than of late. Wednesday will be drier in the south and Ireland (initially), but from midday, a new rain front will push into Ireland, Scotland and the north of England, falling as snow over higher ground. Later on Wednesday it’ll push into Wales and early on Thursday, into the south-west of England, but mainly affecting the west of the U.K. Later on Thursday it’ll dry up for the west, but elsewhere it should be dry all day, albeit still with those gale force winds, so lots of trees and branches down this week I’m afraid. Friday sees a weak band of showers move across Ireland and the west of the U.K, but amounts should be light. Temperatures will be high single figures, but feeling chillier in the wind. For the weekend, it looks more settled, with lighter winds, but still feeling cold, particularly on the eastern side of the U.K as that low persists close-by over Europe.


Next week looks to be a lot more settled than this week, with lighter winds, but that may mean it’ll be a little colder (high single figures is normal for January), with a risk of frost towards the end of the week and most likely fog, particularly at the start of the week. From Wednesday / Thursday, the winds begin to strengthen again from the west as another low pressure system tries to push south and in doing so butts up against our resident high pressure. I expect this may mean a wet end to next week / weekend with the return of strong winds, but not as bad as this week !

Agronomic Notes

As you can see from the graph below showing soil temperature for November / December 2011 vs. 2010, the end to last year was very different from the previous one. In fact, 7 of the last 10 nights of December 2011 were in double figures, air temperature-wise and that’s meant a recurrence of Fusarium activity for some.

On the flipside, we’ve had an opportunity for growth during the latter part of December, so any scarring should be healing in as we speak, though I expect soil temperatures to drop this week and stay down. If you have got active Fusarium, it’s going to be difficult to treat until the latter part of this week unless you’ve got covered booms because of the strength of the wind and the amount of rain we’ve had.

I’d be interested to know whether you’ve gone through this period clean or not, bearing in mind the mild weather and higher than normal soil temperatures.

I expect continued activity from Bibionid larvae with the mild weather and since I posted on the topic, a number of you have posted back to say they represent a significant problem on your course, with very little success in controlling them or the effects of Crows, Badgers, Foxes digging for them. Has anyone achieved any success on this front ?

All the best…

Mark Hunt