Hi All,

Well as we tip-toe into November from a soggy and cooler October, it looks like winter will be with us in earnest this week. Looking at the weather that’s coming and taking into consideration yesterday was the last day of fly fishing at Eyebrook until next March, I’m on a bit of a downer 🙁 (Plus I blanked on my last day – ho hum ).

Scandinavian Immigrant - The Fieldfare

Winter is very definitely on the way and one of the clearest indicators are the flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares hopping over from Scandinavia to feast on our berry crop and escape the harsh winters of Finland and Norway. If you’re out and about at night, you can hear them coming over.

The two features of the weather you’ll really notice this week are the very strong, but very cold, westerly winds, from mid-week and the high level of rainfall / sleet / snow with the latter very likely the further north you’re situated. This low pressure system on the way is pretty intense so the conditions will be quite extreme for awhile this week and into the weekend, however as quick as it starts it’ll finish, so the outlook thereafter is warmer and milder.

General Weather Situation

Monday starts off quiet, with some overnight rain lingering over Wales and the south-west of England for most of the morning, before clearing later. Elsewhere it looks mainly dry, sunny with a risk of showers in the Midlands through the afternoon. Temperatures will feel much milder than of late due to the low wind strength. Tuesday continues this quiet theme for most areas with low winds and most of the U.K and Ireland dry, except for a rain front pushing into Scotland through the day and some lighter showers over Leinster. Wednesday sees the start of the change as winds begin to strengthen and a heavy rain front pushes into Ireland in the wee hours. This rain pushes south and east into Scotland and Wales, eventually affecting the southern half of the U.K later in the day and overnight into Thursday. I expect this rain to fall as heavy snow over the high ground of Scotland. Where it clears (Ireland p.m), it’ll be brighter, but feeling cooler than of late. By morning rush hour Thursday that band of rain is clearing the east coast of England to leave behind brighter, but colder conditions, but there’s a  risk of rain in the south-west of England, Wales and along the west coast of Scotland, as well as across south-west Munster, p.m. These showers will become increasingly wintry in nature across Scotland and the north of England. There may also be some showers inland, but these will few and far between. Friday sees that rain clearing Scotland, but again it lingers in the south-west (you guys are going to have some pretty high annual rainfall figures this year vs. the east of the U.K). Friday sees a day of sunshine and blustery showers pushed along on a biting south-west / westerly wind with rain fronts across Ireland, Scotland, the west coast and Wales. Later in the day, the rain consolidates to a heavy band pushing into the south-west at lunchtime and then across the south of the U.K and Midlands during the afternoon / evening, so a soggy end to the day here.

For the weekend, Saturday looks to start bright and cold before a band of rain pushes up from the continent into the south of England and slowly moves up into The Midlands through the morning. It may take most of the day to clear and on Sunday I expect more rain pushing up, so a potentially wet and cold weekend I’m afraid for some areas.

Weather Outlook

A tough week in store this week, but the week after is looking quite different and more in keeping of what we usually get in the first week of November, i.e mild and even potentially warm. For the start of next week I expect it’ll be cool, potentially frosty, but with lighter winds. As we move into the week, the winds will whip around to the west and courtesy of a warm, Atlantic high pressure system, push warm, mild air across Ireland and the U.K, but as it comes from the Atlantic, it will be moist air, so expect some rainfall to be associated with it. Bizarrely it wouldn’t surprise me if we hit high-teens in the south west of England later on next week.

 Agronomic Notes

Last weeks mild and saturated weather certainly ramped up the Fusarium pressure as predicted the week before and there’s been some pretty aggressive Fusarium around the place, particularly noticeable on areas that weren’t covered by a fungicide, so approaches, tee areas and fairways. Even on areas that were covered, small outbreaks were observed, as conditions were so conducive for disease development, indeed I saw mycelium out and about last week. Looking closer at the photos I took afterwards also revealed an interesting phenomenon highlighted below in circles.

If you look closely you can see guttation fluid drops on the tips of the grass plants and circled, you can also see active Fusarium mycelium growing on the guttation fluid. Just to remind you, guttation fluid are droplets of water solution, filled with sugars and plant nutrients that are exuded from either the cut tips of grass leaves and / or through pores in the surface known as Hydathodes by water pressure, this normally occurs after or during a wet spell of weather, if subsequent conditions are favourable for dew development.

When you remove dew from your greens and other areas, it’s often the case that later in the morning you can see droplets on the grass tip, some of this is in fact re-formed dew, however some of it is re-exuded guttation fluid and it’s this that acts as a catalyst for disease, almost a food pack in itself. This photo captures this process and explains why you can sometimes see Fusarium fungus form even when the grass plant is under the cover of a fungicide.

I expect disease pressure to drop back a bit this week with the cooler temperatures, which is a relief, because other than Monday and Tuesday, spray days are going to be few and far between with the strength of the wind. Later next week, if the weather stays on track, I expect disease pressure to increase again.

Worm activity will continue to be an issue with the high levels of soil moisture and as usual carbendazim is having its fair share of ‘hit and miss’ results.

One point I’d make when using carbendazim and sulphur is that the conversion of sulphur in the soil to sulphuric acid (and subsequent acidification) is catalysed by microbial activity and therefore the acidification of the surface isn’t an instant process, so applying the two together (as some companies are touting) is not the optimum practice. The better idea would be to apply the sulphur at least 4-6 weeks prior to the carbendazim, if this is practically feasible. The other point is that soil acidification is a complex process and dependent upon a number of factors including CEC,organic matter levels, current soil pH. I’d always suggest checking your soil pH first prior to an application and then monthly after applying your sulphur to see if it’s having an effect. Also remember to test the surface 2″, don’t push your pH tester in too deep. It goes without saying that you should also dose your spray tank water (before, not after adding your chemical) if the pH of the water is alkaline and particularly if it is hard in nature.

All the best.

Mark Hunt