Hi All,

After the forecasted cool, wet and very windy weekend, synonymous with a trough pattern – summer low pressure system, we have a high pressure projected to make it’s influence felt this week, so the weather will be settling down, warming up (during the day) and there’s little rain on the horizon. Geez, didn’t it blow though, I spent Saturday hanging onto my brolly on banks of the beautiful River Trent watching the clouds and storms race by !

Some of you may have caught up on the news about the climate meeting last week when our meteorological / climate specialists met to discuss what mechanism is responsible for the last 6 out of 7 summers being wetter than normal. Their conclusion was that the main reason was the shape / alignment of the jet stream, (zzz they’re so last year :)) but they also concluded that it’s pattern during the summer is influenced by the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean, which itself goes through long-term (10-20 year) cycles known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, click here to read the BBC’s explanation. This isn’t ‘new news’ because as you’ll see here, the link was already being suggested back last October.

Either way it looks like our trough pattern is set in place and we just better learn to live with it. I do think we’re in a slightly different position to 2012, in terms of the fact that the position of the jet stream isn’t as fixed / stable in 2013, so this means we will (in my humble opinion) get fluctuations of warm air over the summer period, unlike 2012. Indeed we may see this later this week, as a warm high pushes in to influence our weather, however one of the consequences of being in a trough means that the winds will primarily be north-orientated as it does so, so pretty cool at night.

General Weather Situation

After the battering at the weekend from those high winds and squally showers and a dumping of rain last Thursday night (20mm here), this week will be a good bit quieter. For Monday, we have pretty dull start across the board, with a band of weak showers pushing down from mainland Scotland to affect the north and later in the day, the east coast of England. Elsewhere we should see the sun break through by late morning to give pleasant, warm, sunshine with figures in the high teens in some places. The wind will be moderating from the weekend and will be set north-west for pretty much the whole week, but it will remain breezy. Those showers in the east clear away to leave a clear, but cool night, with temperatures down in single figures.

Tuesday looks set fine and fair for most, but there will be a weak band of rain pushing into the west coast of Ireland early doors and this will give light rain for Ireland through the day. Showers also for Scotland and the north of England, but elsewhere dry on the whole, warm, with just a risk of showers for The Midlands in the early evening.

Wednesday looks like a dull start after a slightly warmer night and then a warm, pleasant day for many, with temperatures pushing into the low twenties and again, just a risk of rain hugging that east coast later in the day. Thursday continues the warm, dry theme, but likely with more sunshine for southern England, elsewhere it’ll be a little cloudier, with a weak rain front pushing into Connacht and Scotland later in the day. There is a large mass of rain sitting east of the U.K over France during Thursday, at present this is projected to stay there, but it wouldn’t take a lot for it to move over and affect the east / south-east of England and as we saw last week, continental rainfall is difficult to predict.

Overnight into Friday, that northern / western rain band sinks south affecting the west coasts of the U.K, but amounts will be light and after a slightly murky start, I expect the sun to break through later in the day to give a pleasant end to the week. Still a risk of showers coming off the continent to affect the far south-east of the U.K (Hi Lee, Dan), but amounts at this stage look to be light.

The weekend looks at this stage to be settled, warm, sunny and dry for Saturday, with a risk of light, isolated rain / cloud cover pushing into Ireland (Connacht) for Sunday and eventually affecting the U.K by Sunday afternoon. The wind will gradually move round from north-west to the west by Saturday and will slightly moderate slightly. All in all, not a bad week really.

Weather Outlook

At this stage I think the settled weather will last into the early part of next week, with a warm, bright, sunny start to July, however a low pressure is projected to nip down mid-week, next week and bring strong winds and rain, before zipping off eastwards, allowing our weather to dry up and warm up again for the end of the week.

Agronomic Notes

Hot & Humid = Disease

That humid, hot weather last week certainly pushed soil temperature’s up, none more so than over in Frankfurt, Germany, where the air temperature topped 36°C and the soil temperature, a heady 31°C. (Thanks Chris for the piccy) As expected / predicted, last week’s, brief warmth over here (and there) triggered a lot of disease, with Fusarium being top of the list in the U.K/ Ireland. I would expect Dollar Spot to have reared its head on the continent as well. Now we’re settling back down again, with some cool nights particularly, I expect the disease pressure to drop this week, as temperatures decline and more importantly, the turf surface has a chance to dry out.

Growth Flush

Last week, I predicted that another consequence of that warm blast, would be a sudden increase in grass growth, particularly in outfield areas and with the rain of last Thursday, this did indeed produce an unwelcome flush just prior to the weekend. Again, this week should settle things down somewhat as the cooler nights will peg back soil temperature and the dry days will allow some good, dry cuts to get those surfaces back in order.

Plant Nutrition

Those cool winds of the weekend will have knocked a bit of colour out of some turf areas, particularly greens turf, so this week is a good time to pick them up with a liquid feed and iron combination, if you’re scheduled to fertilise.

Anthracnose – Tighten up your nutrient input applications..

I had a number of calls last week about Anthracnose, not in terms of active disease, more in terms of what to expect as we tip-toe into July / August. In my mind, Anthracnose is at its most damaging following a prolonged period of high-temperature stress and at present, you can’t call the three days we had last week, prolonged high-temperature stress !, so I feel that currently the risk of aggressive Anthracnose Foliar Blight in the summer is low. I also think that regular, light nutrient applications applied prior to and during the main Anthracnose period of activity (Mid-July to end of August) are as good a deterrent as applying a preventative fungicide.

Undoubtedly, one of the key preventative strategies for Anthracnose is to tighten up your liquid fertiliser applications, so applying fortnightly, if of course practically feasible. This doesn’t mean applying more N, it just means phasing your monthly inputs over 2 applications per month, rather than one. I also half my PGR rates when I’m making those applications as a matter of interest. I know we have a divergence of views on PGR rates, but I’m sticking to my guns, whilst we’re in this inconsistent, summer trough weather pattern, I prefer to go little and often, both with nutrient and PGR’s. Some work published at Rutgers on Anthracnose backs up the theory on tighter, foliar / liquid inputs, though of course, being the U.S, their frequency is every 7 days !, have a look here.

Keeping those surface open..

On the subject of the U.S, I know we all had a quiet smirk about the description of small-diameter tining as ‘venting’, but in essence I think they’re bang on and now is a good time to keep those surfaces vented, ideally in combination with verticutting and topdressing. Small diameter aeration does not affect ball roll, so golfers will not complain (on the whole) to this type of aeration. Justifying it to them and maybe your committee, secretary, boss, delete where applicable is another matter and on this subject I found a good video on the USGA RECORD website to explain why we need to aerate…you’ll find it here under the title – ‘Course Care and Environment’, scroll along the articles and you’ll see it. There’s also an article from the golf course superintendent at Merion Golf Club (U.S Open venue) in the same link page.

That’s it for now, enjoy a reasonable week’s weather 🙂

Mark Hunt