Hi All,

temp060913Quite a transition at the end of last week and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was, summer into autumn, in a day. Over on the Cambridge thermocline (A14-M11), we hit a heady 30°C late afternoon Thursday, (see image right, must have been a hard week as I was listening to The Smiths!), but a day later we 300613WSTwere down at 15°C, with a chilly morning start, 2°C would you believe at The Oxfordshire on Sunday morning ! On the plus side, it does mean we have some beautiful mornings to look forward to in the coming months. This is Thornton reservoir on Sunday morning, absolutely beautiful though with the cold start it took the Trout a long time to get out of bed 🙁

As predicted that continental rain was very hit and miss, I think the south, east and north got a good drop, we had 0.7mm on Friday and Sunday, with a chance of some showers today.  Looking at the coming week, we have a west-east divide, but an unusual one, as that trough of cold air will gradually sink away south-east allowing warm air into the west, but staying cool on the east of the country. At the end of the week another trough is due to sink down just in time for the weekend to give us unsettled conditions and the threat of rain again. So if you’re off this week, head west !

General Weather Situation

Monday, starts off dull, dewy, cool (7.5°C) and damp for many, with showers over the east coast of Leinster and The Midlands of England. This rain pushes quickly into the U.K affecting Wales, Scotland and the south / north-west of England, before moving across the whole country by the afternoon, so pretty much everywhere is in for the chance of a shower. The wind will be from the north-west, moderate and temperatures will struggle up to mid-teens, maybe a little higher in-between the rain, if the sun comes out.

Tuesday, looks a better day as that rain pushes off to the east, but it will never be far way from the east / south-east coast of England, so there’s a chance of rain during the day there. Elsewhere, after a slightly warmer night (double figures just), we have a dull day, with hazy sunshine, and a freshening north-west wind keeping temperatures down in The Midlands and east, but further west over Ireland and the west coast of the U.K, that front of warm air pushes in and starts to pick temperatures up during the day to high teens. (still cool at night though)

Wednesday, starts off dry for most, though still there’s a risk of rain in the extreme east, south-east corner of England. Again a cool start, but a strong north wind will soon dry the dew off and we’re likely to see a bit more of the sun through the late morning, more so for the west, where temperatures will pick up nicely to hit the 20°C mark. Further east, it’s cooler courtesy of that reluctant-to-move, cool temperature trough, so high teens here. Later in the day, rain pushes into north-west Ireland and moves south east (/) across Ireland and into Scotland, the north of England and north Wales, but staying dry further south.

Thursday, sees more rain pushing into Ireland, perhaps locally heavy over west Munster, Connacht in the morning. There will also be more showers bubbling up through the morning, principally affecting the west coast of the U.K, but many moving inland through the afternoon, pushed along on a westerly wind which heralds the arrival of more unsettled weather for the end of the week / weekend. Temperatures continue that west-east split, with the west sitting a couple of degrees warmer, with high teens, elsewhere we’re mid-teens, but the nights will be a little warmer than earlier in the week.

Friday, looks to finish the week off wet as that rain pushes into the U.K and consolidates into possible heavier rainfall over The Midlands (and we need it), south of England early doors, pushed down on a northerly airflow / wind. Further west, you should be drier initally, but as that rain sinks south-east, more rain pushes into Wales and the south-west of England later in the morning. Ireland at this stage looks to be drier, with low cloud and little in the way of sun before a new front of rain pushes into south-west Munster on Friday evening. That south-east rain looks very reluctant to shift, so likely to be pretty wet down that way to finish the week off.

The weekend looks not too bad after early rain clears the south-west, south Midlands and south-east of England. The wind will resume a westerly direction so feeling mild, but not warm. In the afternoon on Saturday, we should have more in the way of sunshine, but further north over Scotland, there’s a risk of rain later in the day. Sunday looks ok at this stage, drier for most parts with hazy sunshine and a brisk westerly wind, but Scotland and the north-west of Ireland looks set for a wet morning, at least.

 Weather Outlook

Hmmm interesting…after the unsettled weather of the weekend, I can see that lingering for Monday next week, but gradually through the week, the wind will lighten and it should warm up again slowly, as high pressure pushes in. It’ll be on the cool side though,  particularly at night, as the wind direction resumes from the north-west. By the end of next week, we just may be back in an Indian Summer scenario though.

Agronomic Notes

First off, here’s the updated GDD information for August y.t.d, showing August 2013 was a high growth month indeed….



As usual, you can download the pdf’s here

The devil is in the detail though because August’s high total figure hides 3 distinct GDD peaks (see below) that impacted on a number of scenario’s ;

  1. High Disease Pressure
  2. High Nematode Activity
  3. High Grass Growth (One of these over The U.K Bank Holiday)


Disease Pressure

A lot of Fusarium lingering around and with the heat of last week and then rain, it’s quite aggressive. Looking ahead to this week, I expect it to become even more so on the west side of the U.K and across Ireland because you’re getting the warmer air from the Atlantic. The tricky bit now is do you spray early with a systemic fungicide (normally I go late September over here in the U.K with a preventative systemic) or knock it back with a contact and keep your systemic powder dry, so to speak, for later in the month / early October ? Personally I’d favour the latter because we know the highest disease pressure historically occurs during October and at least the first part of November, so if you sprayed a systemic now, I’d expect its effect to be running out in the first week of October, follow that with another and you’re be sitting in early November wondering what systemic you can rotate into that will work when the soil temperature can still be quite high (remembering that the last week of October and first week of November has been traditionally warm / very warm over the last 4-5 years)

So a tricky call, personally I’d knock it back with a contact if you have heavy disease pressure and keep your powder dry, but equally you could go early and then factor in an extra app for early November. I’d also slip in some cool-temperature available N into that tankmix along with some iron to speed uptake duirng these cooler conditions and strengthen the grass plant at the same time.


Growth and Nutrition

The very quick transition from high day and night air temperatures to low ones has put a soiltemp080913significant dent into soil temperature and hence growth potential, although the west of the country isn’t / won’t be as badly affected.  Soil temperatures dropped significantly over the last 5 days, here’s a pic from yesterday morning, and you may just be able to make out, the soil temperature is down to 10°C (at 7.00 a.m though, cheers Eric 🙂 ), though it did recover to 14°C later in the day. This will obviously impact on growth and you can see from the chart below, the GDD is dropping away quickly ;


So nutrition-wise, it highlights the point I made a few weeks ago that September for me is a month where you have to be flexible, because we can have either an extended summer or an early autumn transition. So far, we seem to have had the latter, so I’d be using low-temperature available nitrogen sources and adding some iron as the temperature change will knock the colour out of turf surfaces .

If you’ve recently aerated or planning to do so, I’d be looking to granular, not liquid nutrition to bounce the grass back and allow you to get those holes filled and surfaces back to scratch in the shortest time possible.


Worm / Insect Activity

Yep it’s that time of year again, and with moisture comes insect and worm activity, so if yCutwormou’re planning to spray I’d make my decision based on soil moisture levels. If you’re still dry or only wet in the very surface, I’d hang fire till you get decent rain and the profile is moist, else your applied product will only be sitting in the surface and often that’s not where your target organism is, especially in dry weather. Had a few reports of some different insects doing the rounds, this one was found sitting in a core hole, doing the usual countersunk hole munching job around the edge of the core. Not 100% certain, but an entomologist has suggested it’s a Cutworm.


O.k that’s it for now, a very full intray and 2 weeks on the bounce of multiple hotel stays beckons !


By the way, this weeks USGA Record has a good webcast on venting (small diameter aeration) and the why’s and wherefore’s, see it here….here

All the best, wrap up well in the mornings !

Mark Hunt