October 15th

131014_HGT500-1000

Hi All,

Bit late this week, my apologies but I have a very full in tray at the moment 🙁

Autumn well and truly arrived last week with biting northerlies last Thursday, but as predicted they made way for a north-east wind pattern and that dragged cool rain off the continent for the east, south-east and Midlands areas. We had 29mm here over the weekend, (and another 6mm today) but to be honest we were dry, so it wasn’t totally unwelcome.

Before I get on to the weather in earnest, I just wanted to put a bit of praise the way of Meteoblue, the meteorological ‘scholars’ I rely on immensely to put this blog content together… On Saturday I got up at 7 a.m, to get my fishing gear ready because Meteoblue had said the wind would drop around 10 ish. Peering out in a mild Peroni-induced haze, I noted the trees were bent double and my tame Robin was hanging on for grim death to the bird feeder…”I reckon they’ve got it wrong this time” I mused, but sure enough, just before 10 o’clock, the wind dropped and all was well with the world….didn’t stop me getting thoroughly soaked to the skin though in pursuit of an elusive quarry, but fair play Karl and crew on this one, good call 🙂

MidOctoberpeak

Images courtesy of Meteoblue

Ok, last week we had a c-change in the weather on Thursday (from good to bad) and this week, the change day is Wednesday, when we’re due to pick up a milder air stream from way down in the South Atlantic, courtesy of a tropical storm in the Carribean. This will flick the winds round from the cool east to the milder west, south-west direction and that’ll lift temperatures into the high teens maybe by the weekend, so those summer shorts could well make a comeback before being consigned to the draw for another year 😛

General Weather Situation

For Tuesday, we have the first dry day for a few days for practically all of the U.K and Ireland, with only patchy rain in the north-east of England during the morning. The cloud cover is due to break through the day so we’ll see some sun as well, but those north easterly winds will keep the lid on the temperature, so staying cool, low teens the order of the day, not unpleasant though really and a dry day is always welcome…

Overnight into Wednesday sees the first rain front pushing in from the Atlantic make landfall at Kerry just after midnight and this heralds the arrival of a consolidated pulse of rain tracking diagonally (\) across the U.K and Ireland, reaching the south-west of England early on Wednesday morning and Wales in time for the morning rush hour. The rain will be heavy across Munster and Leinster particularly on Wednesday morning and by lunchtime it’ll reach the south-east and Midlands tracking north-east. North Wales and then northern England will pick up some heavier bursts as well before the front clears the west of Scotland in the evening. (though it’s not projected to progress further north than Glasgow) Through the day, the winds will do a 180° shift, from north-east to south-west and the temperature will pick up as well to low / mid teens later in the night.

For Thursday, we have the vestiges of that rain over the border counties and along the coast of North Wales and south-west Munster, but for most it should be a pleasant day, the best sunshine and temperatures reserved for the south of England where I expect it to hit 17°C. The Midlands and east coast of England may be the exception to the rule though as a light rain front is projected to develop later in the afternoon, so maybe the chance of rain pegging back the temperatures here…In the afternoon another rain front makes landfall into Kerry and pushes across Ireland, with again some heavy bursts of rain, though more likely across west Munster and Connacht this time.

Friday sees that rain still affecting the west coast of Ireland and again particularly heavy, this time over Donnegal, early doors. Through the morning it’ll push into western Scotland and track east and then later a small horizontal band of rain will affect the south-west / south coast of England and track northwards across into The Midlands for the afternoon / early evening.

The weekend looks mixed, with a half decent day on Saturday after overnight rain. (though this will linger into the morning in The Midlands) Hazy sunshine for the south of England and temperatures in the high teens, so out with the shorts again briefly before rain comes back into play for late afternoon / early evening. Ireland looks to be half-decent as well, mild on that southerly air stream, but in the early afternoon a band of rain will affect south west Munster and then track northwards, potentially heavy later over the east coast of Munster / Leinster. For Sunday that rain intensifies over Donnegal and then quickly moves into Scotland early doors, so a wet day on the cards here. Further south it could be pleasant if the sun breaks through, with light / moderate, south-west winds, but there’s a risk of rain across Wales and the south coast of England through Sunday and this rain may push east and north into The Midlands, but we’ll see. One things for sure, the outlook for the weekend is changeable and unsettled, so take a brolly with you (if you’re that way inclined) or maybe copy the average teenager and pay no attention to any forecast or logical information, dress in shorts and a T-Shirt and then get soaked to the skin, but hey, at least they look cool 🙂 (we weren’t like that were we??)

Weather Outlook

We have a south-westerly / south airstream in place for the foreseeable (10 – 14 days at least) so that means mild air, mid teens, temperature-wise, on the plus side, but on the minus, we are never going to be far from rain and I expect a significant pulse Tuesday / Wednesday, next week, pushing north and again at the end of the week / weekend. So bottom line, staying mild, but pretty wet, with the west and north, in particular, getting a battering.

 Agronomic Notes

Great for Fungi….

Fungi

Looking at the topic for the moment, disease pressure, it does look to have dropped away in terms of the more aggressive disease activity, but with the arrival of moisture, it’s going to be lurking for sure. Dovetail that in with warmer temperatures expected for the latter part of the week / weekend and I expect activity to pick up again, so be warned.

The tricky bit looking forward is going to be picking spray days and of course the rainfastness of your product mix will play a part here. Lot’s of rubbish circulating around the market in this respect eh :), particularly in the case of contacts, but leaving that aside for the moment, (as my soap box is at the menders 🙂 ) we can expect reasonably good performance from XMS – Xylem-mobile systemics, with the milder temperatures forecast, so potentially good conditions for uptake coming up with most systemics we have available to us.

PredictedGDDOct20132ndhalf

If we look at say a golf club location in the south-east of England (M4 / M25 area) and potential GDD data, we can see the low GDD totals that we have for the beginning of this week and then you can see them pick up mid-week as that milder airstream arrives and then we pretty much stay in the good growth zone till the end of the month, dropping away a little at the end of next week. So this means consistent conditions for growth, with no sudden checks, which as we all know play havoc with uptake of fungicide A.I’s, as well as plant-available nutrients.

These good GDD totals are not just ideal for grass growth, it also means the growth of disease populations will get a boost, so that’s why I expect to see increased disease pressure from the middle of this week through to the weekend in particular.

SilverThreadMoss

Bad nails 🙁

There’s a lot of moss around…

I’ve been meaning to chat about this topic for awhile, but I’ve had lot’s of feedback really since the beginning of August as to the increased presence of moss, particularly Silver Thread Moss. There’s lot’s of discussion on this topic, principally about why it appears in the first place. Well there can be many reasons, but I’ll chuck a few of mine into the hat…

Firstly, I tend to see an increase in Silver Thread Moss after a prolonged dry spell which has put stress on the grass plant. I always remember conducting a wetting agent trial back in 2006 and during a high E.T / high temperature (30°C plus consistently) period of weather, I decided to switch off the irrigation and watch what happened to the treated and untreated plots. Unsuprisingly the untreated plot stressed out first and grass cover disappeared faster than Marc Marquez, but curiously despite all the stress there were green patches in the plot, grass ?, no, moss ?, yes ! It’s a fact that Silver Thread Moss can withstand high levels of dessication and regenerate, sometimes quicker than grass, so there’s reason number 1.

Looking back to the summer, we had 3 weeks of intensive plant stress in July and during this period, on some points / areas of the green, grass cover was lost / thinned (noses, ridges, wear pathways, etc) tipping the balance in favour of Silver Thread Moss (STM).

The second scenario is in fact the exact opposite, (from a moisture perspective) instead of prolonged dry periods of weather, I think a lot of STM has established on greens because of increased organic matter levels over 2012 / 2013. (and therefore increased surface moisture retention)

I’ve talked about this before but it’s a fact that the prolonged wet, cool summer / autumn of 2012 caused an increase in the deposition of organic matter, principally because of a slow-down in the rate of decomposition, allied to lower maintenance levels due to the weather (topdressing, hollow coring, solid tining, etc). Coming forward into 2013, we had an exceptionally cold start to the year, so a lot of clubs binned aeration citing potentially loss of revenue as the reason, so again the balance was tipped in favour of organic matter accumulation. That increased surface organic matter holds more water and so provides an ideal environment for moss, Only the other day I walked a green with a high STM level, confined to one particular area of the green, it was a low traffic / high organic matter zone and there was the STM, happy as Larry. Further towards the front of the green, the organic matter level decreased (more wear) and so did the moss population.

One of the best controls of STM is the pin cup, i.e move the pin position close to the moss population, now that may not be particularly popular with the golfer (there’s probably a good reason why it wasn’t there often in the first place !) nor may it be practically feasible, but moss cannot take prolonged foot traffic.

When you look at the picture above, you can see why it’s difficult to shift Silver Thread Moss, because it creates an organic matter rich environment, which holds water, heats up quicker in the summer and is anaerobic / hypoxic according to American researchers, all attributes that suit moss and not grass. It also explains why iron applications on their own are unlikely to affect STM, in fact, whatever treatments / controls you are using, research shows that they are likely to be more effective when they are combined with increased topdressing and raised nitrogen levels (to encourage the grass to out-compete the moss).

By inference, low nitrogen levels are again another factor synonymous with increased moss populations, due in part to decreased grass plant vigour. That doesn’t mean we need to chuck on excessive N, it just means looking at the balance and maybe tweaking it when you are actively targeting moss…

Ok that’s all for now, back to the intray !

Mark Hunt

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