Monthly Archives: November 2013

November 25th


Hi All,

Doesn’t time fly? Already the last blog of November and less than a month till the shortest day (Eternal optimist 🙂 ). The meteorological power struggle continues between high pressure blocking that’s keeping us cold and dry and a big trough pattern of cold, Arctic weather sitting to the north of us. Longer term there’s a suggestion that the latter may win and that means cold and snow, but the models disagree on this. We’ll see. Either way for this week, we’re settled…


Current weather vs. 10 days on – Note westerly movement of high pressure system
Images courtesy of Unisys Weather

General Weather Situation

Well this is going to be a very short weather blog, because the conditions are totally settled and dry for 90% of the U.K and Ireland for the majority of this week as that high pressure blocking (shown above left) does its job. Although we’re looking dry for the week (except for the far north-west tip of Scotland, which picks up some rain for the early part of this week), there are some noticeable temperature changes as we go through the week.

As that high pressure centres over the Irish sea, it’ll move the wind away from its current northerly orientation to the north-west and this will pick up the temperature temporarily for Wednesday and Thursday, so milder, perhaps touching double figures in the south. The other difference will be less cloud cover and more sunshine this week as we’ll have lost that north-east wind pushing cloud off The North Sea, so variable cloud and sunshine for most places from Monday to Thursday.

Frost-wise, a lot depends on cloud cover, but I think Monday night / Tuesday morning will be the only frost of this week, as night temperatures will be higher for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You may have noticed I have kept clear of including Friday in this dry, settled picture and that’s because we have a change on Friday as a trough of cold air pushes down across the U.K.

This cold air arrives initially as rain and then wintry showers over the far north-west of Scotland, early doors Friday. It then moves southwards across the U.K reaching northern England by rush hour as mainly rain, perhaps with some sleet and snow (for higher ground) mixed in.  So this means showers for The Midlands and south of England Friday afternoon before clearing around dusk. Those showers may persist in the north-west of Scotland and England into Friday night, perhaps moving into North Wales as well.

At this stage, it’s looking like a weekend of two halves… For Saturday we have the U.K balanced between high pressure over Ireland and low pressure over the near continent. This means that the bit in the middle gets squeezed and so we’ll have cold, northerly winds pushing in wintry showers for Scotland and the north, most likely along the north-east coast early doors, though the further south you are, the less chance of seeing these at all. For most it’ll be dry, bright at times, but with a strong northerly wind making things feel bitter. By Sunday, the high is projected to push over, so that means cold and dry, with lighter winds. I expect a light ground frost as well, but this depends on cloud cover.

 Weather Outlook

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, the battle is between a warm (ish) high pressure sitting over Ireland and a cold trough of weather sitting over Scandinavia / Siberia. As you can see from the graphic above (Dec 5th), one of the projections is for this trough to push the high westwards, so that means increasingly cold weather will come in, but not everyone agrees on this, so we’ll have to wait to next week’s blog to see.

For next week, I think we’ll start dry and settled, but thereafter depending on which projection is accurate, we’ll either stay dry and settled all week or we’ll pick up a strong northerly / north-westerly airstream that’ll pull cold air and wintry showers into Scotland from mid-week onwards and this will slowly move down the country as the week progresses. So on balance my money is on dry and settled for next week for the bulk of the UK and Ireland, with a chance of the weather breaking down at the end of the week, particularly for Scotland.

 Agronomic Notes

Well dry and settled is I know good news for everyone, it means we get a chance to dry out, golf can continue and the lack of moisture will keep disease pressure nicely low.  That milder weather for mid-week may just give enough temperature during the day and night for positive GDD figures so a touch of growth maybe for greens this week and an ideal opportunity therefore to apply a liquid turf tonic.


When we have these temporary windows, we must exploit them to the full because an air temperature of 10°C means that the grass plant will be receptive to a nutrient application provided it is applied with a low water volume (not more than 400L per hectare) . Nutrient input-wise, it’s clear the plant doesn’t need a lot at the moment, but of course if you’re getting high levels of play and growth rates have been very low of late, you may need a little kick to maintain sward density, particularly on small greens or those designed with limited pin positions.

So I’d be looking to apply 4-5 kg of N/hectare derived from potassium nitrate, ammonium sulphate and the like and of course a tad of iron to maintain colour. You never know, this may be the last opportunity like this in 2013, so it’s a Carpe Diem (seize the day) job in my mind.

The same goes for cultural work, a light brushing to flick out any dead growth at the base of the sward and stand up any leggy plants, prior to cutting, will work nicely during this period.

Ok that’s it for now, I’m off to Ireland to talk at the GCSAI Educational Conference at Croke Park tomorrow, last one on in the program (thanks Damian :)) so I hope everyone attending will have access to some good, strong coffee to keep them awake, up to and during my presentation 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt


18th November


Hi All,

As my mini update suggested last week (sorry if some of you received it twice, our server had a bad morning), the temperatures are set to change significantly from tonight as a northern trough pushes down to influence our weather. (See graphic below)


Image courtesy of Meteoblue

It certainly won’t be the Snowmageddon being reported in the papers, there will be some snow about this week, with a higher risk on Thursday, but more to the point, it will feel extremely cold for a few days, before temperatures rise a little as we move into the cold, dry period I forecast for the end of this month.

Cold, dry in my books is the best winter weather, we can still get golf around, do winter projects and function, it’s far more preferable to the extremely wet end to November we had in 2012.

General Weather Situation

For Monday we have a band of rain moving diagonally (/) down the country, it’s just cleared Ireland and presently stretches from west Wales up through northern England to the eastern border coast. This will sink slowly south through the day, reaching The Midlands for late afternoon (wet run tonight then 🙁 ) and the south of England, this evening. Say goodbye to mild air because it’s much colder air that’s following it down.

Overnight into Tuesday, that cold air is already here, pushing wintry showers into north west England and possibly north-west Munster. As day breaks, those wintry showers have moved down the west coast of the U.K and will give rain, sleet and snow over north Wales, before slinking off. Elsewhere for Ireland and the rest of the U.K, we’ll have a cold, bright day after a frosty start, with a bitter northern wind keeping temperatures to low single figures, quite a change I think you’ll agree…

Overnight into Wednesday, a new band of wintry showers moves into north-west Scotland and pushes slowly south giving falls over the mountains for sure.  As it moves south, it’s forecast to mainly fall as rain over northern England during the morning, reaching The Midlands by lunchtime. Temperatures will be a bit up on Tuesday, as the wind breifly swings round to the west, but as it strengthens, it moves to the north-west, increasing the windchill. A band of isolated rain is also due to move down the Leinster coast on Wednesday afternoon pushing into Munster before it fizzles out during the evening. The U.K rain reaches the south by the evening, so another wet, cold end to the day, but by evening, it’ll have cleared away to leave most places dry, clear and frosty. I say most places because there’s a risk of wintry showers over North Wales and the Highlands again for Wednesday evening and it’s this band that may cause the most issue going into Thursday.

For Thursday, those wintry showers over north Wales are projected to sink south and affect most of Wales early doors, falling as a mixture of snow, sleet and rain depending on your altitude. Amounts will be light though and I expect the showers to have dissipated by daybreak. The wind will have strengthened even more from Wednesday pushing in from the west, north and north-east through the day and adding significant windchill. More significant is the front moving down from Scotland, which looks to start off Thursday with snow over the north-east of England, by daybreak it’s projected to reach northern England and fall as a mixture of snow, sleet and rain. Again there’s a risk of wintry showers running down the east coast of Leinster, most likely isolated to Wicklow and I expect Lugnaquilla to have a Christmas Pudding topping by the end of the week 🙂 . During the morning rush hour, this band of wintry showers should have reached The Midlands, pushed along on a strong north-west / north-east wind again (and again it’s a ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ of snow, sleet and rain that will fall). At present it’s projected to affect central and western parts, rather than the east, south-east of England, but since wintry showers tend to be very difficult to forecast, it’s this front I’d be concentrating on with my forecast modules, i.e keep an eye on it during late Wednesday / early Thursday.

We close out the week with the wind changing round to the north-east and pushing rain in from the continent, some of which may fall as snow further north. At this stage it looks like the east side of England (north and south of The Wash) will pick up most of the rain, but the south-east may be in for some as well. Ireland looks on the most part dry, save for some rain flirting with the east coast of Munster and Leinster during the day. During the afternoon, that east coast of England rain moves west to affect The Midlands and Wales, pushed along by a strong north-west wind. The only benefit of the north-east windstream (in my books at least) is that it’s likely to push a lot of Waxwings in from Siberia / Scandinavia, hitching a ride so to speak.

The weekend looks like being a bit grim really, with a strong north-easterly wind and lots of cloud cover blown in off the North Sea, so dull, dreary and cold, with a biting wind keeping temperatures down in the low single figures. Further north and west, I think you’ll have the best chance of the sun maybe, for Saturday at least.

 Weather Outlook

BlockingHighNov2013As mentioned a few weeks ago, I predicted the formation of a blocking high for the end of November and lo it has come to pass 🙂  As you can see from the graphic, this high will push wet air above and around it, though it’s worth keeping an eye on that south Atlantic low later on next week. From the early part of next week, it should go dry, remain cold, but we’ll lose those strong, north-easterlies, though the wind will still be that way inclined (or easterly / south-easterly) so the chance of frost at night, but daytime temperatures should be high-single figures, so not bad really.  Looking slightly further ahead for the end of November / start of December, I think that South Atlantic low will push in, changing the wind around to the south and bringing some rain, but milder temperatures as well. It’s worth stating that the models don’t agree on this, one says the low will push in, the other that the blocking high will stay in place.

 Agronomic Notes

My mini-update last week was intended to give a ‘heads up’ to the onset of cold conditions, specifically because I knew a lot of lads were looking to spray at the end of last week and for me it was important to get the product applied on Friday, so it had 3-4 days of uptake potential before the temperatures dropped off. Hopefully you all managed to do so because from now on things will be getting trickier from a spray and uptake perspective.

Personally I’d leave things be this week, let the cold winds / weather pass through and then look to next week to do any application of fungicides, turf tonics, etc. At least dry, cold means that the risk of Fusarium will be decreasing and so the disease pressure should reduce significantly from now on (for the foreseeable that is)


Changing holes in the winter…

A bit of lateral thinking required here, but I was watching the latest circular from the USGA Record Section, always a great source of free information. Their latest video highlights the issue of constantly changing holes on UltraDwarf Bemuda, now stay with me….their issue is that new hole plugs looks unsightly because they don’t blend in as the grass is dormant during the winter, so they cut 3 permanent winter positions in their greens and use a plastic cover to hide the pin cup when not in play, they then just take the cover off and put the pin in when they want to move the pin position.

It got me to thinking whether this isn’t a viable process over here during the winter, so instead of having the issue of trying move pin positions on greens during extended periods when the ground is frozen (if you play in frost that is), you have one pin position already cut and covered by a plastic cover (see video here) and you just take the cover off and put the pin in when you want to use it. So this allows you to move play during extended periods of frost without having to try and take a new hole plug and of course get the old one to blend in. Now you may already be doing this, I may be totally off the beaten track (not uncommon), but have a look at the video and see what you think…

Ok that’s it for now, full intray and all that….wrap up well this week from tomorrow…

Mark Hunt





15th November – Mini Update



Hi All,

Just a quick ‘heads up’ to say that we’re going to drop off the meteorological cliff from next Tuesday in terms of temperature as a trough pattern is due to form and pull very cold air down from The Arctic. It’s almost a dead ringer for November 2010, but this time I’m not sure the pattern is as strong or will last as long, but we’ll see.

If it pans out as shown above in the Unisys image run, it’ll mean temperatures down to -3°C at night and not much above freezing during the day, due to a bitter north wind. You can see the severity of the undulations in the jetstream quite clearly in the graphic below and specifically how far north it’s going before heading our way.

In terms of snow, there’s a real risk on Tuesday in Scotland a.m and then this will push mainly down the west coast of the U.K, though Donnegal may also be on the receiving end. Through Tuesday into Wednesday, the risk declines, however there is a projected band of sleet / snow forecast over northern England through Wednesday and this will sink south through the day possibly reaching The Midlands overnight into Thursday.

Thereafter I think the pattern may then settle back down into a stable winter high pressure system, so that means cold, but dry.


Image courtesy of NetWeather

Agronomic Notes

Quite simple this one, if you’re planning any spray applications, you’ll need to get them done today – Friday (I know a lot of you wanted to spray Thursday but it was too windy, so that may tie in well).  Thereafter it’s a no-no because although Monday will be mild (ish), there’s a bit of rain around to make life tricky spray-wise. and then we’ll be striaght into heavy frost.

Personally it may be a good idea to skip a cut on Monday as well so you’re leaving as much healthy (uncut) leaf blade on the grass plant, in order to help it weather this very quick transition into winter. (I don’t think you’ll be cuttign much after Monday anyway)

On the plus side, if the trend is as forecast, then we’ll be less rain, more cold-dry, in terms of the weather pattern. It’s going to be an interesting winter…

Enjoy the weekend..

Mark Hunt

November 11th


Hi All,

After the successive frosts ahedgepigst the end of last week, and a beautiful, bright, cold Sunday, we’re starting to feel the onset of winter in earnest. Nature is the same, my 2 baby hedgehogs are feeding up like mad, trying to build up their fat reserves before they hibernate (22nd November last year) and I can see big flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing on the move , blown in from Scandinavia to over-winter on our berry crop. It’s certainly going to feel alot more like winter over the next 10-14 days as a northern and at sometimes, easterly wind flow shape the weather. Towards the last week of this month, we may even briefly see the first snowfall of winter in some northern parts, but we’ll see…It will be a drier picture though on the whole this week, despite today’s grimness.

General Weather Situation


Monday’s mild air peak – Image courtesy of Meteoblue

For Monday, a dull, wet, but milder start to the week for many as a warm pressure peak briefly passes over the U.K and Ireland, pushing up those temperatures into the teens in some places. It will unfortunately be short-lived as cooler air follows it. So we have rain for most today pushing across from Ireland, who should be clear of it by the afternoon. For the U.K that rain will gradually fizzle out, but in some places it’ll take all day to do so. For Scotland and the north, it should be a brighter end to the day. Temperatures will be mild, early to mid-teens for some and winds will be blustery from the south / south-west.

Tuesday, looks not a bad day for most, save for some persistent rain running along the south coast of England and the north west of Scotland. Certainly drier and brighter for most, after a mild night, but with a cooler north-westerly wind keeping temperatures just into double figures, normal though for this time of year.  During the afternoon, it should turn brighter for many and that rain should fizzle out to leave a nice end to the day.

Wednesday, sees a much cooler start to the day, with a risk of ground frost in the north.  It will however be largely dry and bright, on the cool side though with a light westerly wind strengthening as we go through the day and marking the arrival of another low pressure system. This is projected to push rain into west Munster and Connacht by sunset and this rain will then move eastwards over Ireland and into Wales, the west coast of England and Scotland later into the evening.

Overnight into Thursday, this rain pushes down across the U.K, but lightens as it does so, so for most it’ll be a duller day, with showers and a cool, brisk, north-westerly wind. The bulk of the rain will be confined to the north of England and Scotland, further south they’ll be the chance of rain, but amounts will be light.

For Friday, we still have that north-westerly wind in place, pushing lot’s of cloud, but not much rain over Ireland and the U.K, so a dull end to the week. The exception could be the west of Ireland and England / Wales, where that cloud cover may break to leave a sunny end to the week.

The weekend at this stage is looking dry, cool and dull for Saturday, perhaps with some breaks in the cloud on Saturday afternoon, but don’t hold your breath 🙂 . Later on into Saturday, a band of rain is due to push into north-west Ireland and overnight into Sunday move into Scotland, Wales and the north of England, but it will be lighterning as it does so. Sunday looks dull, with some light rain further north, but for most a dry day, cool again in that north-westerly wind. There’s a chance the sun will break through that cloud, so all in all, not bad.

Weather Outlook

Next week looks to start off with a weak, Atlantic high pressure in charge, so settled, dry, and cold is my forecast for Monday, Tuesday, but by mid-week an eastern-originating, low pressure is projected to pull into cold air from the continent and give us a wet mid-week / Thursday period, particularly in the east / southern part of the U.K. By the end of next week, a peak pattern is building in the jet stream, really pronounced in nature and for me that means cold, dry and settled, fog and frost, no doubt.

By watching the weather over the last 10 years or so, I think by the end of November, we get a good signal as to how the winter may shape up to be. Usually for us, winter starts after The New Year, however the pattern is usually set earlier. It’s very interesting to see the projected formation of a peak pattern in the jet stream and what will be critical is exactly how it orientates itself, longtitudinally – If it sits to the west of us, it’ll bring cold air down from the continent, if it sits to the east of us, we will have a mild, dry winter. Currently I think the projection is for it to sit to the west, so that could mean a cold end to the year 🙁  (Bets on Paddy Power!)

Grass Agronomics

Disease pressure

Well the recent colder spell of weather has pushed the soil temperature down and that’ll actually reduce the disease pressure, but only temporarily because today’s milder air and particularly tonight’s, will see an increase in activity unfortunately.

Thereafter, the drier theme to the forecast (not for all I know) will mean a lowering risk of disease, particularly new outbreaks. Applications of systemic fungicide made this week (after today) should tick through quite happily to the Christmas period / end of the year and by that time if you haven’t had much disease, your risk is much lower. I would back them up with a 1/2-full rate contact, mixed in with that systemic though because the colder theme (north winds) will slow uptake of the systemic (regardless of mechanism) and we are likely to have developing disease on the grass plant Monday / Tuesday, even if you can’t actually see it yet.

Nutrition requirements are low, with the grass plant ticking along at a much slower growth rate due to shortening days and cooler soil temperature’s. Light rate liquids, with iron, once the weather has dried up will work well, as will high iron granular ferts on low use areas, particularly if moss is present.

Winter Cutting Height

Always a controversial one, but looking at some greens lately that have gone up in cutting height, the grass is dense, but prostrate, particularly bentgrass and for me I can’t see the benefit in having a large, flat leaf blade that’s shading out other grass plants. I have no scientific evidence for this statement, other than what I’ve seen as I’ve gone around golf courses over the last 24 years (cripes), but a tighter-mowed surface (not shaved though) seems in my opinion to offer greater photosynthetic efficiency, than a higher cut surface.  If asked, I always work on an over-wintering cutting height of 4mm on a Poa / Bent green and have consistently seen surfaces go through the winter at this height with no issues.One point to make though is this depends on surface organic matter levels amongst other factors, because if you have high surface organic matter, the mower will ‘sit in’ to this when it’s wet and give a much lower cuttign height than the bench set, so be warned. For this reason, there’s also likely to be a difference in cutting height between greens in the open and those in the shade, with the latter, lower in organic matter and hence more likely to be closer to bench set height.

Bearing in mind since 2008/9 we’ve had some pretty hard winters, that height has been tested for sure. Other than the perceived advantage in terms of photosynthesis, there are other benefits, not least when it comes to next Spring. With a mixed Poa / Bent sward, when you come out of the winter at 4mm, the physiological difference between the grass plant species is much less obvious, whereas at 5mm or above, you have floppy bent (that’s often growing) and upright Poa (that isn’t)

Drop me a comment on your experiences if you’re happy to share them 🙂


Mark Hunt







November 4th


Hi All,

As we head into winter, the transition is gathering pacOct2013Troughe and for the first time since early April, we’re sitting in a trough pattern this week, as the jetstream sinks further south. I see Paddy Power are giving short odds (7/2 on London, 3/1 on Dublin) for a White Christmas in 2013, maybe they know something we don’t, but I’d have to say at this stage, I don’t see this trough pattern lasting indefinitely, it’s too early yet for a set pattern to develop. Normally by now we’ve had our first run of frosts, (Mid October in 2012) , but although we’ve had the odd air frost, there’s been nothing of note, I do however think this will change looking into next week.

General Weather Situation

ParkautumnMonday for most of us has started chilly, but bright with a lovely blue sky. The few leaves left on the trees look beautiful in the park behind my house 🙂  That’s the way we’re going to stay today during the daylight hours, bright, cool, with a good, drying wind, blowing from the north-west.

Overnight into Tuesday sees a rain front pass over Ireland and then move into the south-west and Wales early doors. By daybreak that rain has left most of Ireland, just hanging around a bit on the east coast of Munster / Leinster, but for the U.K it’s well and truly entrenched over practically most of the country, except the east coast, where it won’t have reached yet. By lunchtime though, the sun is through and that rain is confined to the western and eastern coastline of the U.K, with showers over Ireland. By close of play Tuesday, the rain is almost totally cleared away, however they’ll be some persistent areas lingering across the south-west of Kerry and the U.K. Temperatures will remain cool under clearing skies, with that ever-present westerly wind, still brisk in nature.

For Wednesday, we’ll still have that persistent rain over the south-west of Ireland, England and Scotland, pushing up into Wales later in the morning. Elsewhere it’ll be dry and bright, with a brisk westerly wind keeping temperatures down to low double figures, but feeling just a little milder than of late.  During the evening that rain is projected to push eastwards across the southern half of the country, mainly affecting a line down from Nottingham., so a soggy end to Wednesday here.

For Thursday, we have more rain showers pushing in from the west, this time though mainly affecting the west coast of Ireland and the U.K, though there’s always a chance that they’ll push inland as well. Temperatures will be down a couple of degrees on Wednesday, so high single figures and typical for this time of year.  Elsewhere it’ll be bright, but cool, though again the wind will be a drying one.

Ending off the week, we carry on the unsettled theme with rain in the west of Ireland and the U.K from early doors, brighter, but cool elsewhere. Later on in the day that rain pushes eastwards and looks to get potentially heavy overnight into Saturday. Temperatures stay cool, high single figures at best, bracing in the moderate / strong westerly wind.

The weekend looks like starting off unsettled as that rain band moves across the U.K early doors on Saturday, principally affecting a line south of Nottingham again. Between the showers, it’ll be sunshine and a cool westerly wind, but through the day, the strength of the wind will drop as overnight into Saturday it swings round to the north. So Sunday looks like being quieter, possibly frosty, bright in the most part, but colder than of late, in that northerly airstream, with temperatures lucky to get above mid-high single figures 🙁

Weather Outlook

That cold, northerly airstream doesn’t last more than a day because by Monday, we’re back into a strong, westerly wind and milder with it, possibly up into the early teens again. That westerly airstream also means they’ll be sunshine and showers around, particularly for the north of England and Scotland it seems. By Wednesday we see the first autumnal high pressure system edge in from the Atlantic, so that means we’ll lose those westerlies temporarliy and the wind will drop, though I think we’ll stay north-westerly on the whole. The lack of wind will mean less likelihood of rain, but it may mean a spell of settled, dry weather, possibly with fog and frost for the southern half of the U.K at least. Further west and north, I think you’ll hang onto the westerly airstream, so the unsettled theme continues here next week and windy with it. I think that high will hang around till the latter part of the weekend, whereupon low pressure will exert itself again and we move back into unsettled weather for the middle of November.

Agronomic Notes

Since it’s the first week of the month, Wendy has kindly number crunched the GDD figures as per usual and they make some interesting reading ;



A good end, but a very poor start

The first fact we can deduce is that despite a good end to the growing season, we have never caught up from that bad spring in terms of total GDD compared to an optimum year like 2011. The second fact highlights why the growth and hence disease pressure was so high in October when you look at the GDD total for 2013 at 219, compared to 2012 at 128.5, so nearly double the growth potential this year vs. last. Interestingly you can see an alternating pattern for October, i.e. 2010 = low GDD total, 2011 = high GDD total, 2012 – low GDD total and 2013 = high GDD total. One to watch for the future maybe ?

Recovery Potential and timing of aeration

Another interesting point concerns timing of aeration and recovery potential. If you look at the total for August 2013, it’s 360.5, but by September, it’s dropped to 230.5, in other words there’s 40% less growth and hence recovery potential from aeration in September compared to August and that’s what makes August such a great month to do aeration – i.e quick recovery and therefore a faster return to a good playing surface.

This is why I like using GDD, it’s not a perfect system, but it does allow you to make an argument to say, your club, as to why aeration is better scheduled in August than September for instance. It provides some objective data, rather than just saying “August is the best month to aerate”

High GDD + High humidity = DIsease pressure

I’ve used some data kindly provided by James at Long Ashton Golf Club, (thanks James) which highlights very clearly the severity of September and October’s disease pressure periods.  Before I cover this, it’s interesting to compare data from Long Ashton with The Oxfordshire and one can see that they’re very similar ;

                                                         GDD Total Sept 2013      GDD Total Oct 2013

The Oxfordshire                                            230.5                               219.0

Long Ashton                                                  256.0                               215.0

Humidity as we know is a measurement of the amount of water vapour in the air, when it reaches 100%, the air is said to be saturated, that is it can hold no more moisture.

Humidity plays a big part in disease development, the wetter the plant leaf, the more conducive the conditions are for disease development and spread. When you look at the data from Long Ashton below, you can see that during September, there were 20 days when the humidity was > 90% and during October, 24 days, so over the 2 month period, practically 72% of the time conditions were conducive for disease development.

On top of that, there were also some clear peaks (as shown by GDD) when the grass plant (and disease population) was able to grow faster and when these co-incide with high humditiy readings, you have very high disease pressure, but also reduced longevity of fungicides. (due to more material being removed by cutting) These are highlighted by red boxes in the charts below.


 Rainfall Data

We know October 2013 was a very wet month for many, for some the wettest since June 2012, but because the main rainfall pattern was from the south west (south Atlantic low pressure systems), there’s a big difference between the south-west of the country and The Midlands for instance ;

Rainfall in October 2013 (in mm)

Launcestion                                                  257

Bristol                                                            167

Worcester                                                     147

Leicester                                                       147

Birmingham                                                 126

Thame                                                             86


The soil temperature is well and truly dropping away now, my gauge is showing 9.7°C, whereas a week ago, it was 4°C higher !

I don’t expect it to go back up in the near future so products applied now will last a good while longer, simply because there’s less removal in the clippings during cutting.  You can see though from the graph below how warm the soil has been during October compared to last year.SoilTempOct20132012

Nutrition-wise, I think you have a choice between granulars where they are needed (tees boxes, etc) and light rate liquids (with iron) to keep things ticking along nicely. Either way you’ll get more out of either type of fertilisation than you would have a week ago, with the lower soil temperatures and lower anticipated daily rainfall. (except Ireland, Scotland)

Spray days are very dependent on where you’re located with the south and Midlands having some good potential days through this week ?(Wed – Fri), whereas for Ireland, Scotland and Wales, life is more complicated, with possibly the end of the week for the west and none, apart from today, for Scotland (sorry lads)

That’s all for now, sorry for the late posting, you guessed it, full intray on return to work !!! 🙂

Mark Hunt