Hi All,

Well after last weeks heavy rain (40mm+ for most), we had a dry end to the week and a dry weekend, with nice temperatures and that’s the way it looks like continuing for the U.K at least.

Knowledge is power -1

Last week, I mentioned Adam Garr’s blog at Plum Hollow Country Club and a lot of you obviously clicked on to it because he got a surge of hits from across the Atlantic :). Our I.T guy, Paul, got us linked up and we got a mention on Adam’s blog last week, cool beans..By the way, he’s got a good video on venting after heavy rain (Needle tining with 5/6″ tines) ahead of play on his 02/06 entry here.

Knowledge is power – 2

Took Friday off to hit the beautiful North Norfolk coast, didn’t start early as the forecast from Meteoblue said Haar would be an issue till the early afternoon. Got there after lunch to see people coming in from the beach, wrapped up in coats and commenting on how cold it was…within half an hour of hitting the beach, it went from Haar-bound (bottom left) to beautiful blue skies and hardly a sole around…if only those people had looked at a good forecast…mind you, it didn’t stop the sea from being freeezing !!

General Weather Situation

Well, a pretty straight-forward forecast this week with high pressure in charge for the U.K and Ireland, so for most of the week, we have dry, sunny days with temperatures in their high-teens, low twenties, particularly towards the end of the week. For Ireland, Scotland and the west coast, they’ll be more cloud cover and this may mean a chance of some light rain showers during the week. We’re looking at later on this afternoon along the Connacht / Leinster border and stretching down into Munster. The weather pattern is such that showers may bubble up later in the day along the west coast of the U.K from Tuesday onwards, with Wednesday and Thursday showing the highest probability, the same for Ireland in terms of potential rainfall. Those showers may extend down into the south-west for Friday, but amounts will be light and quite localised. If the temperatures do hit the low twenties, then expect some thunderstorms later in the week as humidity levels will be high enough for this. But all in all, a nice dry week ahead for most with decent night temperatures, so that’ll get the ball rolling growth-wise on greens.

Weather Outlook

I think it looks like high pressure is going to stay in charge, so that means dry and settled for the bulk of the UK and if anything, there’s a risk of temperature building during the early part of next week towards the mid-twenties possibly. Any low pressure systems trying to break in on the act will push into Ireland and then move diagonally (/) up across the north-west of England into Scotland. There’s a risk of this occurring later on Sunday and into Monday / Tuesday for Ireland / Scotland, so a possibility of rain then and later in the week, (Thur)  this could push in cloud and possibly rain for the south-west and Wales. At this stage, that’s as far east as it’s projected to progress, though of course this may change.

 Agronomic Notes

Growth Flush

With moisture in the ground from last week, higher night temperatures from mid-week, last week, and warmer days, we have a rising soil temperature scenario and a growth flush, so as suggested last week, now would be a good time to peg growth back with a PGR application. Another bonus on un-irrigated areas is that if we go into a prolonged dry spell, these areas will stay healthier for longer because the growth rate of the plant is slower and so it is utilising less water as part of this growth process.

The elevation in growth rates should be extending to greens now and that’ll help with managing the uneven growth we’ve seen of late. So verticutting, brushing, grooming and topdressing are all perfectly timed operations for this week, with nice, but too stressy temperatures and adequate soil moisture present. Cutting heights should also be able to come down 0.25mm to aid this process (unless of course, you’re already down :))

Plant Parasitic Nematodes

Photo courtesy of Colin Fleming / Kate Entwistle

As mentioned last week, these guys are doing the rounds and particularly the Ectoparasitic species like Spiral and Stunt, which by their nature tend to live in the soil and most of the time feed on the root from the outside. (see image below)

Usually we see activity earlier in the year, but it’s another marker in the sand along the GDD timeline for me and hopefully one that can be used to develop a more predictive model for nematode population behaviour going forward.

Dealing with the cause, not just the symptom

I can’t stress enough that if you see symptoms like those below and a report suggests the presence of PPN’s, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the nematode itself is the primary cause of the problem. It pays to look at the area on the green, (i.e where it is occurring – is it under stress from wear ?, is it an area that doesn’t get play and so builds fibre more ?) assess the fibre content (depth and nature) and any other potential contributing factors (rootzone performance) before pointing the finger at the PPN. The point is that the contributory factor normally affects the plants ability to produce a healthy root system (such as tight thatch causing bridged, lateral rooting) and this then means that the plant is more susceptible to damage by a PPN. Dealing with the PPN in isolation won’t necessarily aleviate the turf symptoms, in fact, most of the time it doesn’t. Unless you deal with the cause, rather than the symptom, you’re on a hiding to nothing in my experience.

Spiral nematode damage in a Poa / Bent Sward

Seedhead Flush

Looking at the fact that we started seeding on the 7th May for the annual biotype, we’ll reach the month mark this week, but I expect the seedhead flush to continue for another 2 weeks on the basis that the perennial has only been seeding for 3 weeks and we have 2 weeks of potentially dry weather in prospect.

Disease Activity

Plenty of aggressive Fusarium activity about last week and over the weekend, but the drier air and soil will begin to peg back its activity, so hopefully we’ll see a decrease in this area from now on. I do expect to see some Fairy ring activity in earnest this week with the rising soil temperatures, but hopefully not too much.

Next Week’s Blog

I’m off on my annual jaunt with my Dad to The Cevenne in France this coming weekend, to get my annual fix of bird-watching, walking, mountain running, etc, so depending on time, the weather and French WiFi availability in the middle of nowhere, next weeks blog may or may not happen, à bientôt…..