I know it isn’t just me, but last week kind of felt like summer 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)
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 to 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.
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.
All the best.