After that soggy Bank Holiday, you must be wondering if it is ever going to stop raining, yesterday we had another 8mm and that tops up an already saturated ground. April’s monthly totals showed the variability in weather we received, particularly rainfall, ranging from dry in Dublin at 75mm (50% of their normal for April) to totals over 170mm in parts of Cornwall, Hampshire, Durham, Leicestershire and Gwent. Thanks to everyone for sending their stats in, it really helps to get an idea of how the different parts of the country are faring.
The outlook still remains unsettled with alternating low and high pressure systems coming into play over the next 10 days and as you can see from the image on the right, we’re still fixed in the trough between two peaks in the jetstream. This pattern brought about the change in our weather from the dry Jan-March period to the current wet, cool and unsettled one.
General Weather Situation
The first part of this week looks set to remain unsettled with an Atlantic low edging along the bottom of the trough and bringing rain to most areas. Tuesday sees a dry start for many, but cloud will soon bubble up and bring showers particularly for the south-east of England, north of England, Scotland and the east coast of Ireland. These showers are pushed up on a mild, south-westerly wind, so no risk of frost at present. Wednesday follows a similar pattern with heavy showers preceding the main rain front of the week, that’ll come into play towards the end of the day, Initially affecting Munster, the south-west of England and south Wales on Wednesday night, this rain will push into all areas early on Thursday, but it will feel very mild. A bright end to Thursday as that rain moves through and is replaced by cooler air on Friday, as high pressure edges out the low. The wind will swing round to the north (again) and that’ll dip the temperatures somewhat, but it will be drier, with only light showers, some of them wintry in nature for Scotland and the north of England. At this stage the weekend looks dry and bright on Saturday, but with more cloud for Sunday and the risk of frost returns again.
Next week looks to start milder as the wind swings round to the south-west again and I expect wind and rain, particularly for Ireland and Scotland. Thereafter the outlook appears a bit more settled / drier, however the wind looks to be shift back to the north for the early-mid part of the week, so staying cool. That’s the pattern we have at the moment, when it’s dry, it’s cool, because it’s a northerly-orientated high that sits into the trough and drags cold air down.
With the soil temperature just into double figures and plenty of moisture for most parts, Poa growth will be consistent and so therefore will seeding, but like a lot of unwlecome things, the quicker it starts, the quicker it’ll be over :). The wet weather and constant damp has made keeping a good surface very tricky at the moment with little opportunity to verticut / groom or topdress. Add to that the ever-present threat of Fusarium during these milder interludes and life is interesting to say the least. That combination of very mild temperature and rain on Thursday is one to watch out for.
Outfield areas are growing vigorously, as are weeds, but again finding a window to get clean cuts and PGR / herbicide applications out is not easy. I do feel the weather pattern will provide more opportunities from the end of this week and next week onwards because of the lack of low pressure systems set to affect England, however the same can’t be said for Ireland and / or Scotland. It’s a case of grabbing the opportunities while you can really.
With these mild interludes, the warmth and humidity has also kicked off plenty of Red Thread, even though the areas where it is affecting are growing strongly. In this case it is the enviromental conditions rather than any lack of fertility that is the catalyst.
Nutrition-wise, it remains granulars as the order of the day, unless you are able to take opportunity of those windows to get a spray out and like I said, there should be more opportunity to do this from the end of this week onwards for many areas.
Looking back at the same date last year, air temperatures were undoubtedly warmer and the soil temperature was 4-5°C higher than it currently is. This continues the trend observed through April, (highlighted in the graph below) and explains why greens growth was hard to achieve during that month. In addition the high rainfall experienced undoubtedly caused more loss of nutrient by leaching.
All the best.