Hi All,

We’ve just had the first dry week for many and some nice temperatures with it, I was mountain biking on Saturday morning in shorts and a tee-shirt and it was beautiful. The birds have started singing in the trees in the morning as a prelude to nesting and the Hellebores and spring bulbs are poking through, so spring is on the way. Of course we know it won’t last at this time of year, but it’s a nice reminder of what’s round the corner.

We have the next 5 weeks to endure first and by the end of the week, it’ll be more typical of early January, i.e. colder, with east / north winds and rain, sleet and possibly snow for higher ground. Fear not, because thereafter we’ll be returning to a milder airstream mid-week, next week, so this winter blast should be relatively short-lived.

Before I move onto the weather, please keep those rainfall stats coming in, so far the driest place is in Suffolk with 751mm and the wettest, 1982mm, in Devon. I know some people had trouble emailing Paul’s address, so if you find it easier, just send them through to me and I’ll pass them on, cheers. Thanks to everyone who has sent them in already by the way.

General Weather Situation

This warm high pressure is set to slowly weaken this week and by Wednesday, it’ll be feeling generally cooler. So for Monday, we have a rain front pushing over Ireland and moving diagonally (/) north-east into the west of Scotland, so a wet day there. (Note the direction of the slash denotes the orientation of the rain front) This rain will push into Northern England and North Wales by lunchtime, but will lighten as it does so. South of this, it looks to be a dull, mild day, with little chance of seeing the sun. For Tuesday, we pretty much have a repeat of this pattern as another rain band pushes over Ireland and into Scotland from early doors, dull south of this again. Winds will be from the south-west and temperatures, hgih single or low double figures. By the afternoon / evening the rain has cleared from most parts, (maybe nice and sunny in Ireland p.m.) but there’s just a chance of a rain front pushing into the south of England and moving along the south coast during the night. Wednesday looks a drier day for all, but the wind will be on the change, moving more north-westerly / north in direction and that’ll markedly dip the temperatures, down to middle / single figures, so feeling  distinctly nippy. By early on Thursday morning, a slow-moving, (\) diagonal band of rain pushes into the south-west of England and Ireland and slowly tracks north-east, but it’ll take all day to reach The Midlands and south of England and to clear Ireland. Temperatures will be pretty cold, low single figures, but we should be frost-free due to cloud cover. As we start Friday, that rain band is still across the U.K, arranged in a diagonal line (\) from London, through The Midlands into North Wales and slowly pushing northwards. As it encounters that cold air, there’s a good possibility of snow, particularly over the higher ground of the north Midlands, (Peak District) mid-morning. At the same time, rain will push into south-west Munster and track across Ireland through the day. That rain, sleet, snow front will dissipate as it moves north, dying out by close of play Friday in the south, but remaining as snow for the north of England and Scotland, with the east coast of both more likely to receive snowfall early on Saturday. For the weekend we have a pretty wet outlook for Saturday across England and Ireland with cold, rain, sleet moving across both countries. Further north and on higher ground, there’s a higher likelihood of snow through Saturday. Sunday looks to be drier, cold and dull, so an indoors kind of day, unless you’re slightly barmy, which I am of course 🙂

 Weather Outlook

A complicated weather picture for the start of next week, so one that’s liable to change with the cold air gradually being displaced by a milder, westerly airstream, but for the start of next week, I think it’ll be cold, potentially frosty depending on cloud cover, with easterly winds and a chance of snow showers maybe further south, with the south-west of England, a possibility. By later on Tuesday, a milder, westerly airstream is set to push in, so temperatures will lift, as will the strength of the wind. So milder, by mid-week, with stronger winds and rain likely for Scotland and the north of England.

Agronomic Notes

With soil temperatures going into the New Year in double figures for many (for the 2nd year on the trot), there’s been a noticeable and welcome increase in growth over the last week on all areas, including greens. There’s a lot of pale yellow, basal leaves down in the canopy, rotting after the prolonged wet period, in Bentgrass and Poa alike, so a light brush with the cut will flick this out and tidy the sward up nicely. That growth will continue this week, until mid-week, when soil temperatures will drop and we’ll be on hold, growth-wise, for a week or so.

By and large most of the reports I’ve had back suggest low disease pressure over the Christmas period, but of course alot of rain, so areas are only just now beginning to dry out. If you do have to get a spray of any sorts out, the early part of this week is favourite for the U.K, but for Ireland, Tuesday p.m and Wednesday look to be the best options before that cooler, unsettled weather comes into play for the latter end of the week. Rainfall amounts at the end of the week don’t look too bad at this stage, 4-8mm each day, depending on where you are, so I don’t think we will have a return to flooding, happily.

Again if you’re able, the early part of this week is ideal for vertidraining, solid tining and for those wanting to slip an extra hollow core into the program, this week until Thursday will be ideal. Of course you won’t be able to topdress afterwards, but you’ll have taken fibre out, so apart from the clean-up operation, the end result is the same as the other two maintenance operations. It’s also a good time to tackle back tees, in terms of mosskilling, and then aeration, as these get largely over-looked through the year. I appreciate all this is great sitting here typing it, it’s much harder to do it, particularly with much-delayed winter projects to catch up on, so please take these as ideas, things to chew on, if and when, the opportunity arises., that’s all.

All the best.

Mark Hunt