Hi All,

Just winding the old grey matter into life, suffering under the effects of mild jet-lag and staring at the covering of snow that we have outside. As I’ve commented on before, these first two weeks of February are traditionally the grottiest weather-wise, so I’m hoping that the milder weather I can see on the horizon will be the first signs of Spring for us all and provide a welcome lift, because this winter has just seemed to drag….

San Diego was nice for sure, with good weather and surprisingly not that many super-size people around, I say surprisingly because when you look at the size of their side dishes, you wonder why everyone isn’t rather large…needless to say these Onion Rings weren’t mine……

General Weather Situation

At present we’re sitting in a low pressure system that’s pulling cold air off the continent on easterly / northerly winds and that’s pretty much set till mid-week when we start to see a change on the cards. So for Monday, we have a band of snow showers arranged diagonally (\) from North Wales to the south-east of England, above and below that we’re dull and cold, with an easterly air flow. These showers will hang around through the day, but gradually dissipate at dusk. For Ireland we have a localised area of rain sat over south-west Munster and again that will stay there for most of the day, with perhaps some wintry showers catching the high ground around Dublin and the Wicklow mountains. For Tuesday we have a settled day, with some sunshine after an overnight frost and a pretty dry picture across the U.K and Ireland save for some snow showers over the highlands of Scotland and later in the day, a new band of rain pushes into south-west Munster. By Wednesday, that rain is pushing eastwards over Ireland and heading towards the U.K, where it will encounter the cold air and initially fall as snow. By the late afternoon, this rain / sleet / snow will make the south-west / west of England and Wales and push eastwards across all of the U.K overnight into Thursday giving heavy rain in places as it does so. By Thursday morning, that band of rain / sleet will be sitting along the east coast of England and maybe still confined to the south-east, but elsewhere it’ll dry and feeling a little milder as the wind has switched round to the south-west / west over the latter part of Wednesday. The end of the week looks milder, dry and with a light westerly wind, a good bit nicer than of late, but it’s not till the weekend that temperatures start to lift in earnest. Late on Friday night, a band of rain pushes into the south-west and skims along the south coast during Saturday, but elsewhere it’ll be dry and settled. Sunday looks similar and slowly temperatures will push up on a strengthening south-westerly wind, so feeling milder and maybe hitting double figure air temperatures by close of play Sunday 🙂

Weather Outlook

Next week looks like being a milder affair all round with a dominating south-westerly airstream, so sunshine and showers is the way it looks at present with possibly more significant rain towards the end of next week.

 Agronomic Notes

Not a great deal to say this week because being State-side last week means I didn’t get out to see a lot of golf courses, though I have to say the GCSAA classes were really interesting, particularly the ones on greens rootzones and shade management. Times are a changing in the U.S for sure, but the superintendents I sat with voiced many of the same issues we’re up against here in the U.K and in Ireland.

Planning aeration, communication with members, greens speed, extreme weather fluctuations and surprisingly to me, regulations were high on the list of issues. In California the use of pesticides is becoming quite regulated, though they still have many more products available over there than we do. In other states, limitations on the use of nitrogen and phosphorus-based fertilisers are coming into play, on the back of agricultural legislation limiting the use, timing and application of fertilisers to crops. As is so often the case, the amenity market is conveniently lumped in with agriculture so they make no differentiation between applying fertiliser to a crop grown in a bare soil situation and one of managed amenity turf. Time after time, leaching data has shown that a healthy grass sward is extremely efficient at nutrient uptake and so losses of nitrogen and phosphorus through leaching are minimal. Coupled to that, we don’t apply much phosphorus to established turf anyway, so the amount available for leaching is very small. In Ireland with their calcareous rootzones, we found minimal leaching (in our leachate trials) of phosphorus because a large part of soil-applied P is ‘locked up’ in insoluble form with calcium. The E.U-inspired – Water Framework Directive (WFD) is on the horizon for us here and it’ll be interesting to see if our industry is lumped in with agriculture in terms of these regulations, I wouldn’t take a bet on Paddy Power against that one….

All the best

Mark Hunt