Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 27th


Hi All,

The last post of August and in my mind the summer :). As I looked out earlier this morning, it was cool and misty and more than a little autumnal, but fear not summer isn’t quite over, for this week is going to be pretty nice, with high pressure in charge across Ireland and the bulk of the U.K, with Scotland unfortunately being the exception to the rule.

The rain forecast for the Bank Holiday did indeed materialise, but it veered east overnight on Friday, so the south and east of England got more than a little drop  (which I guess is good as these areas were the driest) with reports of 29mm in Surrey and 33mm in north Kent (cheers Tony, Mark). It didn’t really get any further north than The Midlands, as we got 6.5mm here.

General Weather Situation

As you can see from the animated graphic above, we have high pressure exerting its effect this week, but the north and Scotland will come under the influence of low pressure and by the end of the week / next weekend, that’ll feed cooler air south, so although it’ll stay dry, there will be some showers around and it’ll feel noticeably cooler. (Crank up the tyre warmers Cal)

So putting a little detail in here, for Tuesday we have a pretty lovely day on the cards for England and Wales at least, after the early morning mist has burnt off, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures pushing up into the low / mid-twenties I think in the south of England. Overnight a weak rain front has pushed into Scotland / Ireland and this will bring some showers through the day across both countries, but amounts should be light. Later on, this rain will push south / east affecting westerly coastlines and may give a drop over Wales in the afternoon.  Winds will be light and from the north / north-east.

For Wednesday, a simlar day for the bulk of the U.K, but a better day for Ireland, with any rain clearing to give beautiful sunshine after early morning mist. That rain front will have pushed more cloud down across the U.K, so it may be more warm, muggy down to The Midlands, with the sun breaking through south of this. There’s also the chance of some localised rain across the north of England in the morning, but again, amounts should be light.

Thursday, sees a repeat of Tuesday, with a weak rain front pushing into Scotland and giving light amounts of rain during the day. This front will also push cloud across Ireland and the north of England, but it should stay dry here. Further south, after the mist has burnt off, another cracking day, temperatures in the low twenties and lovely with it. The wind direction will change on Thursday and freshen a little, after the light winds of earlier in the week, pushing round to westerly and heralding the arrival of low pressure later on.

For Friday, a band of rain is expected to push into north-west Ireland (Connacht) / Scotland in the morning and this rain will move south (/) to affect the north-west coast of England and Wales later on in the afternoon. It may just have anough moisture in it to give a light drop over The Midlands and the south-west as well.

As we move into the weekend, that wind swings round to the north-west and gathers strength, bringing a much fresher feel to the weather than of late, with temperatures sliding back to mid-high teens at best. It’ll also push in more cloud and that rain may just pop up again to affect the far south-east of England in the morning, but I think amounts will be light if it indeed does so. It’s also likely to affect western coasts of Scotland in the morning on Saturday. By the afternoon, the sun will break through over Ther Midlands / south of England and raise temperatures a little to end the day on a nice note., though it’ll still feel fresh.  That fresh feel will carry on into Sunday, so bright and breezy, with that wind still fresh and from the north-west, pegging temperatures back again 🙁

Weather Outlook

It looks like next week will be a typical autumnal week, with daytime temperatures recovering from their dip at the weekend to high teens / low twenties, but that high will keep the wind direction from the north and although winds will be light, it does mean that night temperatures will stay down, possibly into single figures, so we’ll have some pretty heavy dews around next week. Looking further ahead towards the end of next week, I can see a deep low projected to sink south and that may mean cooler conditions, with stronger, north winds and possibly heavy rain.

 Agronomic Notes

 Disease Activity

With the rain of last week and some heavy dews following on from that, there’sdewtemp been an upsurge in disease activity. When you look at the fact that the air is so humid at the moment (88% shown on the image right), this is hardly surprising.  Fusarium is the main culprit with Red Thread not far behind it. Management can be tricky because normally we’re not starting to think about fungicide applications till the end of September (earlier In Ireland though) for Fusarium and using a full rate systemic now is not only costly, but also with growth levels still pushing on, getting long-term cover is unlikely. Personally I like to use a contact fungicide now, knock it back quickly and grow any scarring out.

This late summer disease activity, does highlight the issue / problem of fungicide rotation and although we are currently blessed with many fungicide product options, the plain fact is that we have very few fungicide families, between which we can rotate.

The idea behind fungicide rotation is that you alternate the chemistry of the active ingredient (A.I) that the disease is exposed to, in order to prevent resistance building up. Some chemistries build up resistance quicker than others and this is linked to the site of activity / number of sites of activity on the target pathogen. If an active is ‘single site’, like the Strobilurin family for instance, it means there is a higher risk of resistance if you carry on just using products from the same family. So to be clear, it’s not the product name in this case, it’s the family that the active ingredient belongs to. For example, if you applied Azoxystrobin and then followed that by Pyraclostrobin, you may be applying different product names, but you are not practising fungicide rotation, because both A.I’s belong to the same family – The Strobilurins.  If you applied Azoxystrobin and then followed that later by applying Propiconazole, for example, the two active ingredients come from different familes (Strobilurins and Triazoles respectively) and so you are practising good chemical rotation. To date there is very little evidence in the U.K of fungicide resistance in turf, although in agriculture, it is present and in the U.S turf market, it’s a big problem on some diseases like Dollar Spot. An update on this subject area was issued by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committe and is available here – FRAC

Looking ahead, my concern would be the potential impact of legislation on this current state of affairs, for example look at the situation in Germany, they currently have one A.I available (Propiconazole as far as I’m aware ?) for the management of turfgrass diseases and so resistance is inevitiable unless more products make it to market, which is less and less likely.

So bottom line, cultural work (organic matter control) to improve the physical surface characteristics of your grass sward and thereby reduce disease activity is going to become more and more important as we go on, as will the mixture and type of grass species present, particularly when it comes to Fusarium.


As we tiptoe into September, we enter a bit of a grey area when it comes to nutrition. At the moment we have good air and soil temperatures, so the continued use of summer products is in order, however as night temperatures begin to cool off and we receive cooler rain, it’s somewhat inevitiable that the soil temperature will drop. Saying that, it was only 2012 that followed this pattern, in the previous 3 years, we actually experienced an increase in soil temperature at the back end of September (see graph)


September is a key month in my mind to get the plant hardened off before the autumn disease pressure ramps up, so you don’t want to be carrying high clipping yields / high tissue nitrogen levels into the back end of the month. For me, light rate liquids are the order of the day and you cut your cloth to suit depending on whether we get an indian summer (so the usage of summer products is extended) or a quick transition into autumn / winter.  If you need to apply a granular product to get recovery from aeration for example, keep it on the lower N side, with 4-6% nitrogen in the analysis.

That’s all for now, have a good week and I’ll take this opportunity to wish Cal Crutchlow, Coventry’s finest, all the best in this coming weekend’s British MotoGP, keep it pinned mate 🙂

Mark Hunt


Aug 22nd – Mini Update

Hi All,

As promised I’m circulating a mini-update today on the potential for rainfall over the Bank Rainfallradar220813Holiday weekend coming up for the U.K (but not Ireland). I refused to predict this on Monday and after this mornings weather, you can see why. Overnight what was going to be a dry picture changed quickly when a rain front fed up from the Bay of Biscay area and gave the south of England (and The Midlands to a lesser extent) a clattering of rain.

This radar scan from earlier today shows how continental rainfall swept in in the early hours and its tracking path. Mind you, a bit like last week, it was a nice problem to have for some because the driest rainfall readings from you guys are precisely in the main area it affected. I can see from the RainNow radar facility on Headland Weathercheck that Suffolk, Essex and Kent got more than a nice drop early doors – Here’s a data dump from Woodbridge Golf Club, Suffolk for example, I hope you could find you and the lads could find your waterproofs Justin 🙂 !


I expect more rain later today in those areas with a repeat pattern ocurring.

If you look forward to the weekend I can see this happening again with rain feeding up from the south of France, along the Swiss border and then pushing in to the south-east of England on Friday night and into Saturday. At present the orientation of the rain is in a vertical band, mainly affecting a line up from the south east / south of England up through The Midlands up to Newcastle. I’d strongly add the following caviat, that this line could move east or west and the intensity of the rain could also lessen / increase, it’s that unpredictable. Ireland will also be picking up Atlantic rain fronts, through Friday and Saturday as well. As we move into Sunday, I expect there to be a risk of rain again drifting in from the continent and affecting a similar area, this time coming in after lunch as heat builds, but where you don’t get it, it’ll be warm and sunny, with hazy sunshine and temperatures pushing into the mid-twenties, after a cooler Saturday.

Ireland will still have a legacy of rain showers for Sunday, but perhaps not as heavy and the driest area will be out to the west of England and Wales, for a change, with only light precipitation theatened, as that Atlantic rain dissipates over the western coastline of the U.K. Scotland will follow a similar pattern to Ireland, with light rain showers principally affecting the west coast and that southern rain isn’t projected to reach here, so mainly dry and sunny between the showers.

Bank Holiday Monday could be the best day of the three with that rain threat diminishing and a brighter day on the cards after a dull and cloudy start. A little cooler on east coasts as the wind swings round to the north east, so expect some Haar early doors.

Rainfall Data

We’ve still got some coming in and Paul has added Met Eireann data from Ireland as we’re thin on the ground over there for rainfall readings 🙁 This isn’t totally representative obviously as some areas only have 2-3 readings making up the data, but it gives a flavour for the year so far and you can see why this morning’s rainfall was very gratefully received along the east coast of the U.K.


Disease Activity

From my travels and feedback this week, I’m seeing a good bit of nematode activity, particularly Ectoparasitic species like Spiral, Stunt and Sheath, along with some very aggressive Red Thread and with the rainfall / humidity combination, Fusarium as well, so in general disease pressure is high at present.

Ok, back to the grind, I’ll be doing my usual blog on Tuesday next week, as I’ll hopefully be in a boat fly fishing Monday morning on the beautiful Thornton Ressie 🙂

Thanks for all your comments to this blog, feedback to me personally (most of it !) and for the rainfall readings, I can’t this blog properly without it, so ta.





August 19th


Hi All,

Firstly, an apology, I got Friday’s forecast very wrong, so instead of a dry day, alot of areas received rain, we got 24mm here for instance. That raHeatAug192013in may be a welcome mistake mind as it looks like we’re heading into high pressure this week. That means the return of heat for some, particularly towards the end of the week, when I expect temperatures to hit the high twenties. You can clearly see the heat pushing up in this graphic for Thursday this week, from Meteoblue. Of course the question is, will it last for the U.K Bank Holiday ?, maybe for the beginning of it, but I think we’ll be getting some rain as well, potentially heavy to boot.

For the last 3 weeks we’ve been going through an alternating cycle of mini peaks and troughs, so we build heat during the week (under a peak like this), then we get a low pushing through, then we build heat again after it. For the near future I can see this pattern continuing into September.

Rainfall Data

Thanks to all you guys for the rainfall data, Paul in I.T is busy collating it as it comes in, but I charted out the top 10 driest and wettest so far and it makes interesting reading ;


It suggests that the rainfall pattern has been very much north and west, moving in a diagonal orientation (/) over both Ireland and the U.K, so the north and west of the country gets the heavier rain and the south and east, less.  It’s also interesting to look at the last 2 months pattern as well ;


Now the data is from 60 or so venues so far, but it’s clear to see that some areas of the U.K and Ireland were extremely dry for June and July. I’d also note that the high reading for clubs in The Midlands came from one deluge at the end of July. We’ll present all the data in a link from next week’s blog.

General Weather Situation

As initimated above, we are in for a pretty nice week’s weather, over the vast majority of the U.K and also Ireland, with heat building in the central and southern regions of the U.K during the week and that may trigger off some thunderstorms for the Bank Holiday there.

Monday see’s a cool, bright start for many in the U.K and Ireland with light westerly winds (Geez didn’t it blow on Saturday !) and hazy sunshine gradually pushing the temperature up to the low twenties in the south of the U.K. Further north it’ll be cooler with more cloud cover and the chance of light rain for the north-west of Scotland. Tuesday see’s pretty much a re-run of Monday with perhaps more sunshine in the afternoon pushing temperatures a little higher again and those winds maintain their light, westerly / south-westerly orientation.

Overnight a rain front clips the north-west of Ireland, so rain for Connacht early doors to start Wednesday and also Scotland, where the same rain front will bring light precipitation to the north-west initially and then it’ll sink slowly south, dissipating as it does so over the borders. Further south, that heat keeps building from the continent, so expect mid to high twenties. For Thursday, we have pretty much a dry picture for all of the U.K and Ireland (not often I say that), with variable cloud cover burning off in the afternoon to push temperatures up into the high twenties, maybe clipping thirty degree’s in some areas. During the day, the wind will push round to the south-east, but it’ll be light and barely noticeable.

Friday sees a change as a low pressure system begins to push in from The Atlantic and as it does so the wind will push round to southerly, then finally westerly heralding the arrival of moisture to the south western coast of Ireland by the afternoon and this will push across country into the west coast of the U.K by early evening, but amounts will be light. It’ll still be pretty warm though, with temperatures again high twenties in the central and southern region.

The Bank Holiday weekend (U.K only) is going to be a pretty tricky one to predict with this movement in from the west of moisture butting up against the very warm continental air mass. At some point we’re going to get rain for sure and that rain may be potentially heavy in nature, particularly across the south of England. I think Saturday is likely to be potentially the wettest day, but because this is moisture pushing up against continental air, it’s almost a waste of time trying to predict whose going to get it a week away, so I’m going to do an update at the end of the week when the patterns look clearer. I do think the temperature will slip back to low twenties though under the influence of that low and that means high teens for Ireland and Scotland, with more in the way of sunshine and showers here for the start of the weekend.

Weather Outlook

As mentioned above, the Bank Holiday is a tricky one to predict rainfall-wise, so I’ll update on Thursday. Looking further than that, I think once the influence of that low pressure pushes through, we can expect a quiet start to next week, light winds and temperatures in the low twenties. Thereafter I think that’s the way it’ll stay until the end of the week, when another low is due to swing in, maintaining our alternating high-low-high pattern of late.

Agronomic Notes

Heat Stress ?

The heat that’s arriving this week will be different in nature to the July heat so I don’t expect it to put the plant under so much stress. Why ? because the winds will be lighter, so E.T rates will be lower and also the night temperatures will be mid-teens, so the temperature will not be consistently hot through the day, it’ll take a while to crank up.

GDD data predicts Growth Flush

Using GDD data, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the potential for growth coming up to the Bank Holiday weekend and as you can see from the graphic below it suggests that we’re going to get a flush of growth going into it unfortunately. This works on the assumption of course that there is enough moisture in the ground to generate this growth, but for the west and central areas, this is definitely true.


Chart showing predicted GDD data for Market Harborough during the coming week

A GDD figure above 10 suggests good growth to me and above 12, very strong growth, so you can see the potential issue coming up over the next week or so. On the strength of this, I’d definitely be looking at applying a PGR (if time and budget is available) on any outfield areas you’re looking to keep in check over the Bank Holiday and beyond, because if this data is right, it’ll take a good deal of sorting out next week when we’re all back at work !

Disease Pressure

Not really a disease, but with the almost autumnal weather of late, we’re seeing a lot of Etiolated Growth around, especially on collars and aprons with their higher height of cut. It’s a pain visually because it doesn’t tend to cut easily pushing down in front of the mowers, so the use of a brush may come in handy here. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this phenomenon is thought to be due to the presence of a Fusarium fungal species (not the normal one we deal with) that produces hgih levels of gibberrellic acid. I produced a fact sheet a while ago which you can download here – Etiolated Growth Fact Sheet

Etiolated Growth

The jury’s still out on whether you actually get some measure of control as a side effect of applying a Triazole fungicide, some people say you do, some don’t.

Disease Pressure -part 2


Ectoparasitic nematode damage on Poa annua in an otherwise very nice, high bentgrass content sward

I’m seeing and I know Kate’s getting, alot of plant parasitic nematode (PPN) samples in lately which are mainly Ectoparasitic in nature, with Stunt nematodes occurring in high counts. These are ones that sit outside the plant (most of the time) and feed on the root causing quite serious cases of decline. Nematodes are Poikilothermic (lovely word for impressing people :)), it means cold-blooded, and so the very warm weather of July will have seen rapid increases in population, which their subsequent detrimental effect on the turf. Sometimes these show up as ‘hot spots’ of activity, sometimes they just look like an area of turf that is more drought-susceptible than surrounding turf, because the root system has been damaged by the activity of the PPN and the plant is struggling to regulate moisture uptake / loss, particulartly on high E.T days.

The appearance of the damage caused by Ectoparasitic nemadotes may not be down to the activity of the nematode alone, often there are secondary organisms, typically fungi that then attack the weakened plant, so you have a complex situation to manage. It’s also true to say that Poa tends to be selectively targeted in a lot (but not all) of PPN cases, such as in this image.

Other than that we have the usual suspects of Fusarium in areas that received rainfall at the end of last week, this should die down a bit as the leaf dries out, but on the flip-side, I do think we may get some heavy dews this week. Fairy Rings / Thatch Fungus has also been very active of late and I expect this to continue in the high temperatures / humidity expected this week, so a bit of a pain really.

Have a good week and I’ll do a mini-update on Thursday to let you know how the Bank Holiday is shaping up rainfall-wise.

Mark Hunt




August 15th – Rainfall Readings Request

Hi All,

As some of you may have noticed we seem to have experienced some technical hitches getting the blog out over the last 2 weeks, despite it being done 🙁   (just so you know I haven’t been slacking!) For anyone who hasn’t seen Monday’s post, you can find it here.

I’m sending out this mini  blog because I’d like to send out a request  for information in order to be able to look at the pattern of rainfall on a monthly basis over this year so far, so I was wondering if you’d be happy to send in Jan – July rainfall totals on a monthly basis please and we’ll graph them out and have a look at how the different areas of the country shape up.

I know for instance that the east coast / south east coast of England  has had a very dry year and also some parts of Scotland and the east coast of Ireland as well. So if you could send in your monthly totals, plus the club or sports facility name and we’ll collate and publish them as per usual that would be great. I thought of giving the highest and lowest totals a prize, but then I realised we’re “only a small company struggling to survive in an industry dominated by vertically-integrating multinationals”, so decided not to on this occasion 🙂

You can send your information to ;

or just reply to this blog post if that suits you better.

Thanks in anticipation and hopefully back to normal on Monday 🙂

Mark Hunt


August 12th


Hi All,

I know it isn’t just me, but last week kind of felt like sumsunset2mer finished and autumn started, as night temperatures plummeted and we received some very heavy dews and cool starts to the day. We did get some lovely sunsets though.

You could almost smell the mustiness in the air as I was wanging down Leicestershire and Rutland’s lovely green lanes on my trusty Merida (Mountain-bike) last week.  This week looks like more of the same really as we continue the pattern of gentle undulations in the jet stream that peak the temperature for a day or so at a time. That said, we will lose that northerly wind aspect that has been cooling down the temperature during the day and particularly the night, from mid-week.

General Weather Situation

Monday will continue the pattern of sunshine and showers (though the latter have been few and far between for some), with the arrival of a weak rain front into north-west Scotland / Ireland this morning. This will slowly push down the U.K and Ireland, probably confined to the east coast of Leinster for the latter, reaching northern England and the Midlands this afternoon and pushing further south this evening, though dissipating as it does. Temperatures will be high teens / low twenties and the wind will be moderate from the west / north-west.

Tuesday follows a similar theme, though the risk of showers will be lower over the U.K and Ireland and mainly confined to Scotland and the north-west. Temperatures and wind direction will again be high teens / low twenties and from the north-west and winds will be a little lighter than Monday, with perhaps more sunshine in the south of the U.K.

Wednesday sees a change in the wind direction to westerly, south-westerly and that immediately lifts the temperature both during the day, but also at night. It’ll also push in rain from the Atlantic to Ireland early doors and this will push across country reaching the south-west / north-west of England, Wales and Scotland by early afternoon before pushing south eastwards and fizzling out. Elsewhere it’ll be a pleasant day, with lots of sunshine and a good deal warmer than of late, with temperatures pushing up into the mid-twenties I think.

Thursday sees a more consolidated rain front move into Ireland early doors and push across the country, so a wet start to the day here. That rain will reach the U.K by morning rush hour, but it will principally affect a line drawn north of Nottingham, with only light showers elsewhere (across Wales maybe). Scotland and the north-west looks to get the heaviest deposition. Later in the day, the rain will sink south into The Midlands, but as it does so, it’ll fizzle out again, so all in all, a dry week for the south.

Friday looks to end the week dry, with westerly winds and any rain confined to the north of Scotland. Temperatures will be a little down on their mid-week high, with more cloud cover on Friday, particularly in the morning, so low twenties the order of the day.

The weekend looks like a mixed bunch really with rain pushing into Ireland early doors and tracking eastwards on the back of strong south-westerly winds. That rain will reach the western coasts of the U.K during the morning and track eastwards across the U.K during Saturday. If we go on normal weather patterns, that means it’s more likely to affect The Midlands up, rather than the south of the U.K. Sunday looks potentially to be the better day, a bit on the cool side, like Saturday, with temperatures only hitting high teens, low twenties, but less in the way of risk of rain and more sushine for the south of England (not that they need it like)

Agronomic Notes

Aeration Recovery – For those of you who have already aerated or planned to aerate this week, the weather pattern should be resonably kind, though the further west you go, the harder it’s going to be to dodge the rain and get that sand dried on the surface. With the cooler nights of last week, we have however lost some soil temperature and therefore some growth potential. On one of my early starts last week, I was seeing the minimum air temperature down to 6°C here and so with a maximum in-day temperature of 20°C, that drops the GDD down toHolloowcoring less than 10, which means slower growth potential. That said the soil temperature is still nice and healthy, I’m currently measuring 16.5°C.

The good news is that with the arrival of south-westerly winds by midweek, the night temperatures will pick up to mid teens, so I expect a pick up of growth, nicely in time to help that recovery along the way.

Disease Pressure

I’m currently seeing a lot of Fairy Rings, Red Thread and Pearlwort on my rounds. Ok, I know Pearlwort isn’t a disease, but it does look like one when it is senescing. Just to re-iterate, the best play to check is to plug out the suspect patch and grow it on in a small pot and then look at the physiology of the plant, it should be pretty obvious then.

There is also an increase in moss and algae at the moment, a possible legacy of the heavy watering pressure we were under in July and maybe also a warning in terms of organic matter levels in the surface. This isn’t always the case with moss, sometimes it’s due to the opposite, i.e when it occurs on mounds and ridges, it’s normally due to loss of sward integrity on those areas, allowing light to penetrate to the rootzone and stimulate establishment. Although chemicals are available for both, I think one of the best ways of combating alage and moss is to stimulate grass growth and dry the surface out, by aerating and topdressing. Stimulated grass growth will out-compete moss and algae in terms of light availability at this time of year, reducing its potential to establish. When we get past October though and light and growth levels drop, the ball is very much back in the court of the moss, that’s why it’s essential to do something in the late summer / early autumn.


 USGA Record – I’ve mentioned this publication before, but it’s well worth re-visiting because it has some great agromonic articles. Ok, they are US-orientated, but when it comes to edcuating golfers, they’re really good. The agronomy reports from round the U.S also make really interesting reading as well, as they like us, are experiencing wildly fluctuating weather conditions, not least because we share the same jetstream. (with it’s associated meanderings) Different regions of the States have endured total extremes of weather this year, from high temperature and high humidity in the north east to an extremely wet summer in the central north.Their extremes are also much higher than ours because of the land mass involved, but the lessons learnt share common ground, read a few of their agronomists reports and you’ll see what I mean.

You can subscribe free of charge here and read some ‘educate the golfer’-orientated articles entitled ‘Our Experts Explain’ – here

All the best.

Mark Hunt