Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 27th


Hi All,

Scarcely time to unpack my bags from Harrogate and I’m off to the GCSAA at the end of the week for the educational classes and show. It’s that time of year again! Kind of looking forward to it as I have some good classes lined up and for once, I’ll be sitting in the audience and someone else will be doing the talking! 🙂

BMTE 2014 was excellent. Thankfully my talk seemed to go down well (cheers everyone for the feedback) and the stand was busy, can’t ask for more.

Well I could actually… I could ask for more… I could ask for this rain to stop.

22mm over the weekend including one huge storm on Saturday that gave us 10mm in an hour or so. I was walking over at Fineshades Forest near Corby. TI was 12°C, the sun was out and the Red Kites were busy displaying. I remarked to my ‘significant other’ what a hash up I’d made of my blog’s weekend forecast where I had described the weather outlook as “Crap” for the weekend. I got a text from a mate fishing the Trent (see I don’t fish ALL the time :)) to say he’d had to pack up such was the strength of the wind and the lightning storm. I had to ring him to check, but sure enough he sad it was mad weather. At this stage we were 2 miles out from the lodge at Fineshades and heading away, so I looked at my Meteoblue RainNow forecast and it looked dire, the highest readings I’d ever seen predicted in half an hour’s time, so we turned round, put a brisk walk on, 10 minutes away from the lodge, the horizon was jet black and the thunder continuous, like an approaching aircraft. Amazingly, families were still walking out into the woods, completely oblivious to the approaching weather, I guess many people are so reliant on technology nowadays, they can no longer read the natural signs anymore. Nature could though as I saw families of Long-Tailed Tits pilling into Leylandi for cover!

When it hit, we had continous lightning, hailstorms that coated the roads and fields like snow, winds that felt like they’d lift the car up and driving rain. The air temperature dropped from 12°C to 2.5°C in less than 5 minutes. Apparently it set off a number of mini tornadoes over The Midlands and the south-East of England later in the day that ripped the roofs off houses and took cats up into the air. I’ve never seen anything like it… An hour later, the sun was out and just the damage remained. Uncanny weather for January for sure, but the question I know you want answered is… Is it likely to last?

General Weather Situation

As forecast last week, the start of this week will be affected by that low pressure slowly sinking south of us, so yes it will remain unsettled, but going drier and colder towards the end of the week, before another low sinks down for the close of the week / start of the weekend.

Monday sees a unsettled start to the week for many, with rain and wintry showers over higher ground. Principally it’ll be affecting Ireland, the west coast of the U.K and Scotland, with the Highlands getting some falls of snow to boot. Further south and east it’ll be dry and settled with a chance of seeing the sun and for many probably the best day of the week. Temperatures will be mid-single figures and winds light from the south-west. As we move into the evening, that low swirls rain showers inland across The Midlands and the north of England.

Tuesday sees that low swirl more rain across the U.K with the heaviest forecast for the south-west of Ireland, England, South Wales and Scotland, so a wet dawn in prospect here. During the morning that rain moves east to affect The Midlands and south of England reaching the east coast during the afternoon. So unsettled just about everywhere for Tuesday, cool in that southerly wind, but no risk of frost.

For Wednesday that low continues to head south and there’s a chance it’ll push rain up the east coast and into Scotland as it does so. Elsewhere a dry, dull day for most with a risk that rain may become confined to East Anglia / East Midlands and also a chance of some wintry showers over The Pennines. Remaining cool, mid-single figures and about normal for the end of January.

By Thursday the effects of that low are diminishing and so a dry day for many, with even a chance of seeing the sun down south. Ireland sees a rain band pushing into Donegal, Connacht and West Munster during the morning, but at present this isn’t projected to move across into Leinster. There’s also a chance of some snow showers over The Pennines and Highlands of Scotland as well during the day. It’ll feel raw as that low brings in cold wind from across The North Sea and blows from the east.

Closing out the week you’ll see that wind switch round to the south-west and strengthen heralding the arrival of a new low pressure from The North Atlantic. At present this is projected to make landfall along the west coast of Ireland on Friday morning bringing heavy rain and wintry showers over the higher ground of Ireland before pushing rapidly eastwards. By lunchtime, it’ll be affecting the west coast of the U.K, primarily as rain, but falling as wintry showers at altitude. By mid-afternoon it’ll be across the entire U.K and I’m afraid there’s some very heavy rain associated with this front, particularly for the areas that need it the least, i.e the south-west of England. God knows what the Somerset Levels will be like with this deluge. It also looks like my flight is going to be extremely bumpy as we’ll go straight through that low pressure system 🙁

The weekend at this stage doesn’t look too bad as that rain front is projected to clear overnight into Saturday, so we’ll be sodden, but with only a risk of showers over The Midlands. Later on Saturday, a new rain front pushes into the south-west of England and Wales and heads north-east, so it looks like we’ll close out Saturday wet 🙁 Sunday looks unsettled with a cool southerly wind pushing showers across the U.K and Ireland, but it may be a tad better for the afternoon.

Weather Outlook

Next week looks like starting cool / cold, unsettled with a small low pressure bringing cold air up from the continent, possibly with an easterly wind, so always a chance of snow showers and if the clouds clear, frost. That low slinks away, so at this stage from Tuesday onwards it should be dry and cold, but you guessed it, there’s another low projected to sweep the wind round to the south-west and bring in milder air from mid-week, so temperatures will rise and winds will strengthen. By the end of next week, it’s projected that we’ll be in the grip of an Atlantic-wide low pressure system, so that means continuing unsettled, mild and windy for the foreseeable, I’m sorry to say. (And a very quick flight home probably from Orlando!)

Agronomic Notes

One of the visitors to the Headland stand at Harrogate said that reading my agronomic notes at the moment was a bit like listening to a stuck record and I apologise for that, but when you consider that some end-users are calling in 260mm+ rainfall since December 20th, (cheers Jamie) it’s hardly surprising really! (And I know other places have had more than that)

So what’s to say? Well we will be seeing some loss of grass cover due to Hypoxia (lack of oxygen), especially if the rootzone is sub-optimal in terms of drainage and particularly on low light, shaded scenarios. Interestingly I was listening to a farmer today on The Somerset Levels saying that Winter Wheat could survive 21 days of immersion under water before it checked out due to Hypoxia and I reckon Poa annua is similar to that as well. Bentgrass is less affected by this trait, but one thing that’s not helping Bentgrass at the moment is the low light levels associated with all of this rain.

Last week, Karl Danneberger in one of his talks confirmed that Poa annua is able to grow better during low light conditions than Bentgrass, now undoubtedly he was talking about Creeping Bentgrass, but I think the same applies to Colonial Bentgrass as well. So what you’re likely to see at present is that Poa will be romping away (provided its growth isn’t limited by lack of oxygen due to waterlogging) at the expense of Bentgrass.

Another plant that’s doing well at the moment in these continuing conditions of high rainfall and low light is moss. So many people came up to me at the show to say how moss has become quite aggressive this winter, both on outfield and close-mown turf. The problem is in days gone by we had products like Super Mosstox which worked well when applied late in the year. Now that’s gone, the other two Moss Control chemical alternatives, Mogaton and Carfentrazone are only suitable for applying on unstressed turf that’s growing well, in other words during the spring / summer growing season.

That just leaves sulphate of iron as our winter product of choice and I believe it does serve a purpose on most moss species, but struggles on Silver Moss. For sure it checks the growth of moss and if that allows the competitive advantage to swing back to grass, even if it’s Poa annua, then so be it. So if you are able at anytime to get an application out in the near future, I would definitely.

Next week, I don’t think I’ll be able to get a blog out because I have 2 classes on Monday on Poa / Bentgrass Population Dynamics from 8 a.m to 5 p.m (Dreading only having crap Starbucks Coffee to sustain me as Costa hasn’t crossed the pond), an all-day class on Tuesday set on a golf course in Orlando titled “Gadgets & Gizmo’s on the Golf Course”, so I hope to come back enlightened on moisture meters, light meters, chlorophyll meters, etc 🙂 and one on Wednesday on Moss: The latest research. So don’t think it’s a jolly, I will enjoy it though 🙂

Catch you most likely in two weeks time, unless I can sneak a quick blog out..

All the best

Mark Hunt


January 20th


Hi All

Good morning from a cold, frosty and dry Harrogate, where BTME is in full swing already with the educational seminars. I’m doing mine at the Turf Manager’s Conference this afternoon, so just a short blog today.

Got ordered to bed by Jim Croxton, head honcho of BIGGA, last night (light heartedly) whilst enjoying a relaxing pint of Tuborg in Weatherspoons, as apparently it wasn’t good talk preparation 🙂

How quickly time’s flown by since I was sitting here last year reporting on the snowfall we were enduring. Nothing like that this week, cold and dry with just a bit of rain in the evenings, remember you can click the icon below for a forecast for Harrogate….Look forward to seeing you all up here…


General Weather Situation

The question I keep getting asked, especially by the guys down south, is “When is it going to stop raining ?”, well this week will be drier for you, there’ll still be rain but, as I suggested last week, it’ll be in lighter amounts because the orientation of the rainfall has changed: coming from the north.

Today looks almost totally dry for the U.K. and Ireland, with a cold air mass bringing a sharp frost for many to start the day. There’s a risk of some wintry showers over the highlands for a while this morning, but other than that, dry, cool and a chance of seeing the sun, more likely in the east and north. Temperatures will be on the cool side, mid-single figures, typical for January, so we can’t complain. Winds will be light to moderate through to mid-week and from the south-west mainly.

Tuesday sees a rain front push into the west of Ireland overnight to give a wet start there, but elsewhere another cold start, with night frost and some lingering fog patches. By the morning rush hour, that rain will be into the west of Scotland and falling as wintry showers over higher ground. Down south for most: a dry day, yes a dry day; that makes two in a row! But not a dry night unfortunately. During the morning, that rain front reaches the south west of England, Wales and the west coast of the U.K. and then moves eastwards during the afternoon / evening, bringing rain to most areas overnight. I’d estimate 4-5mm for inland U.K. but I’m sure you’ll tell me otherwise!

Wednesday sees that rain moving eastwards, clearing the east coast by 9ish, then we’re left with a cool, dry, day. Temperatures up a little to high-single figures in that milder air. For Ireland, it’s likely that there’ll be rain showers throughout the day, so unsettled there. By lunchtime, there’ll be some more rain into the west coast of the U.K, particularly the north-west of England and Scotland. There’s also a chance of some rain drifting up from the continent to affect the south-east of England for a time as well. By the evening, that rain is confined to the north and Scotland, again falling as wintry showers over the highlands of Scotland.

Thursday sees a cooler start for everyone, courtesy of a change in the wind direction to the north-west, however it should be frost-free. Overnight, a new rain front reaches the west coast of Ireland, so a wet start to the day there for the morning rush hour. By 9ish that rain will be into the south-west of England, Wales and potentially heavy across the south coast of England (Dorset sort of area) for a time later in the morning, East of this rain front, it’ll be dry. By the afternoon the rain will become more isolated to the west coast of Ireland, Wales and the south-west of England reaching up to the West Midlands maybe. As we go through the evening, the rain dissipates, so east of this line, you’ll be potentially dry all day with maybe a low risk of rain. It’ll be cool in those north-west winds, though they’ll be light.

For Friday, we have a chance of some wintry showers for the north-east of England and the Scottish Highlands early doors, but a dry start for most, again except Ireland, where a new rain front has arrived overnight to give potentially heavy rain for Friday morning and likely rain all day for you guys. Further east for the U.K, it’ll be a dry day, except for those wintry showers over Scotland and the north-east coast of England. Temperatures will remain cold due to that north-east wind, lucky to hit mid-single figures, so feeling proper winter like.

At this stage the weekend looks potentially pretty crap really, no other words describe it. With a pretty intense low pressure system moving across the U.K. and Ireland bringing rain and high winds across Ireland and into all parts of the U.K. on Saturday. So, heavy rain, or possibly wintry showers likely for Saturday, especially along the east coast and over higher ground. These will clear by the evening for most parts, but a new rain front pushes in again over Sunday bringing more of the same for Ireland initially and then later in the afternoon / evening for the rest of the U.K. This rain, wintry showers will be accompanied by a brisk / moderate, westerly winds and slightly milder temperatures.

Weather Outlook

The deep low that looks to be putting a kibosh on the coming weekend is projected to slink south for the start of next week and that’ll do two things potentially. Firstly, it’ll change the wind direction to an easterly one next week at some point and potentially drag colder air off the continent. So that means we’ll have a drier week on the whole next week. It’ll still be unsettled, especially at the beginning of the week, so some moisture about, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we do pick up some snow showers next week along with that colder air. The second part of the week should be cold and dry as the influence of that low moves away. In short, typical end of January weather and let’s face it we need some cold air before the spring because nature doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going at present!

Agronomic Notes

A short one this week, one because of BTME, and two because, with the saturated conditions, not a lot is happening out there that I haven’t already commented on.

One piece of feedback I am getting though is on Leatherjacket (and I suspect Bibionid sp.) activity. Lot’s of people are reporting extremely high numbers of larvae present in test sprays, with one end-user quoting > 160 per m2 recently (thanks Peter). I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise because the mild, wet winter will really suit these species down to the ground. In other years I’ve seen lot’s of Bibionid activity (Fever Fly for example) when we’ve had a mild, wet December, as well as Leatherjackets.


Bibionid larvae – top image
Leatherjacket larvae – bottom image

The difference between the two that I use is the positioning of the head, with the Leatherjacket recessed into the main body and the Bibionid, apparent as a clearly protruding structure. You’re also likely to find the Bibionid species right in the surface of the thatch layer, typically in clusters of 10-15 larvae, whereas Leatherjackets tend to be seperate and deeper in the profile. As I understand it, Chlorpyrifos is only labelled for Leatherjacket control.


Cluster of Bibionids in surface fibre layer…

Ok that’s it for now, got to run through my talk again, have my last strong coffee and visit the gents for the 15th time, not that I’m nervous you understand 🙂

All the best

Mark Hunt


January 13th


Hi All,

Well it’s difficult to remember a time when we’ve been so consistently wet. Maybe the winter of 2000/ 2001 comes close, but certainly the end of December 2013 and the beginning of January 2014  to date, has been a concerted spell of rainfall such as we haven’t seen for awhile. We’ve also had (I believe) the warmest December on record, so you’d think we’d be under extremely heavy Fusarium pressure, but I don’t think we are and I think I’ve got a hunch why…

Rainfall Figures – Keep them coming please and cheers to everyone that’s already sent theirs..

The rainfall stats are coming in thick and fast and already it’s showing a different pattern to previous years in some respects, namely that clubs in the north weren’t the wettest on the whole, with that end of December battering down south, really changing the perspective.


Jet Stream schematic using graphic courtesy of NetWeather

Yet again, a wayward jet stream is to blame, this time it’s formed into a huge trough shape (see above) and this is doing 2 things, funnelling extremely cold air down from The Arctic to produce record snowfall and freezing temperatures in Canada and North America and it’s pushing those low pressures diagonally up across the U.K and Ireland, instead of diagonally down, so the rain hits the south first. The problem is we don’t know how long this pattern will stay for and particularly for Canada and North America, it could be set for a good while yet 🙁 There are signs though that it is changing for us in the near future.

Wildlife certainly thinks it’s going to go colder because my errant Hedgepiglet finally went into hibernation last week, that’s 6 weeks later than usual and courtesy of an IAMS Dog food and Mealworm diet, he was a big unit by the time he got his head down for a kip, so I should see him again in April when he wakes up 🙂

General Weather Situation

Last week I predicted colder, drier air this week, but that isn’t going to be the case I’m afraid, as that jet stream has conjured about a new low to push across and bring more rain mid-week. It is  getting colder though and with that the probability of snow from next weekend onwards is increasing in my humble opinion, so maybe winter will eventually start at the end of January this year ?

So Monday is looking like a dry start for most, except south-west Munster and north-west Connacht, where a heavy band of rain is moving across Ireland this morning. By late morning / early lunchtime that’s across to Leinster and then into the south-west of England and Wales. This rain band then pushes east across the U.K during dusk, falling as snow and wintry showers over Scotland. The wind will be from the south-west / south and temperatures will be in single figures, normal for January.

Overnight into Tuesday, we see a heavy, localised burst of rain push up from the continent into the south of England and this will bring more rain (totally unwlecome I’m afraid) through the early morning before it pushes off eastwards into The North Sea mid-morning. Elsewhere we’re looking dry for Tuesday morning , but don’t hold your breath because by lunchtime, a band of heavy rain pushes into the west coast of Ireland and moves eastwards across Ireland during the afternoon / early evening, making landfall with the west coast of the U.K during Tuesday evening / night and pushing eastwards into Wednesday. So for many Tuesday could be the best day of the week with light winds and no rain till after dusk.

Early Wednesday morning sees the arrival of that low pressure system, so most of the U.K and Ireland covered by rain, with the heaviest concentration projected to affect Wales this time, but we’ll all get a battering, with heavy rain falling onto already saturated ground. (How many times have you heard that lately?) That rain may clear Ireland by early afternoon leaving showers behind, but it’s in for most of the day over the U.K. Temperatures will be mild in the rain, pushing double figures and the wind will still be south-westerly.

For Thursday, that bulk of the rain front has moved through leaving a cooler, dull day, still with rain around, most likely affecting Donegal, Leinster, the south-west of England and Wales, but everywhere may get a shower as that low passes through, with northern England a possibility later into the night. It’ll be cooler in a more southerly airstream.

Friday is similar to Thursday, with plenty of showers around, though the rain is lighter now, so actual amounts shouldn’t be great, it’s Tuesday night / Wednesday morning that poses the real threat in terms of volume of rain. It’ll remain cool in that moderate southerly wind, temperatures, mid to high single figures.

At this stage, the weekend is looking like we will see a shift in that air stream direction with a more northerly air flow and although it’ll still come in from the west, the source of the air is from the north, instead of the west, so a good bit cooler, dull and unsettled, with rain and wintry showers I think over higher ground. Temperatures will be in middle, single figures. We should be frost free if you have cloud cover, but if it clears, then we may just dip into a ground frost.

Weather Outlook

I think the outlook is still unsettled, however that statement doesn’t tell the whole story because the orientation of the weather systems looks to be changing. It means we’re likely to still get wet, unsettled weather, but the source of these low pressure systems looks to be from the north and not from The Atlantic.

This means 2 things, firstly it’ll be colder, with an increasing chance of wintry showers and the rain orientation is more likely to affect Scotland and the north, more than the south. (sorry) Secondly they’re likely to contain less moisture, be less intense (from a wind perspective) and last less time. In between the low pressure systems, we’ll have colder weather with more frost to boot. Putting some meat on the bones, I think we’ll start next week unsettled, perhaps with wintry showers in the north of England and Scotland.

By mid-week, it’ll pick up a bit milder, but not much, with more rain, wintry showers for Scotland and the north of the country, less so down south. Thereafter I think we’ll finish the week cold, with a northerly airflow in charge, but drier as well.

So unsettled and cold for Harrogate I think, but hopefully not with the same snowfall as last year.

For up to date weather forecasting for Harrogate, click on the image below and it’ll take you straight to the Headland Weathercheck portal for Harrogate, then save it to your desktop or homescreen on your phone 🙂


 Agronomic Notes


Despite the very wet and mild weather we’ve had for the last month, I’m not getting feedback that Fusarium is very aggressive, in fact the opposite. The only reports of new Fusarium have come from drier climes than ours. This tells us something about Fusarium as a pathogen, but before I start making SWAG statements (Scientific Wild-Arsed Guesses as Dr James Beard always used to say :)) I think at this stage I’ll just point it out and maybe suggest that if you do see Fusarium in the coming months, it’ll be on the drier of your greens or the drier part of your greens…..As always let me know please….

Hypoxia – Lack of Oxygen

I think it was about a month ago that I first brought this up, but it’s very likely with all the rainfall of late that we’ll start to see some turf loss through Hypoxia – lack of oxygen. This will affect waterlogged areas and typically perennial Poa, with it’s higher shoot density and shallower rooting. Grasses can stand their roots being immersed under-water for a long while, but there’s a pecking in order in terms of which species are affected first and in my experience it’s Poa annua var. reptans that checks out first. (It’s the same scenario with ice cover on greens).

If it’s mild and wet during the winter it can be the worst-case scenario because warmer water contains less oxygen and in addition, the temperature will encourage plant growth, which will deplete the oxygen level in the soil. Normally this is replaced immediately (in a well-aerated rootzone), but in a saturated rootzone, the majority of the pore spaces are occupied by water and not a mixture of water and air, so the oxygen-holding capacity is lower and hypoxia can become an issue.

The tricky thing is that grass plants do not necessarily show you that they’re under Hypoxic stress until they’re well on their way to checking out (yellowing of leaves) so you can often mis-read this problem. There’s little you can do about it at the moment, most people can’t get machines out on the golf course to aerate, but I’d suggest these conditions of late serve as a test of how good your aeration policy is, why you need to do it and maybe where you need to do it more (or change it entirely?)


Ok I must wrap it up there as Sami is going to be kicking my butt soon for my BTME talk and it isn’t finished yet 🙁

All the best..

Mark Hunt








January 6th, 2014 (Just to remind myself that we’re in a new year!)


Hi All,

Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to you all as we tentatively take a soggy step into 2014!
Before I start on this year’s weather, I thought we could have a quick look back at 2013 courtesy of a graph and some images…


The GDD data for 2013 picks out the growth conditions perfectly with a flat start to the year, in essence the grass plant grew better in January than it did in February or March. The winter was long and hard, but in reality it didn’t start until mid-January (be warned).


It wasn’t until mid-April that the weather changed for the better, curiously enough in exactly the same week it changed for the worse in 2012! By July we were flying and enjoyed a heady 3 weeks of hot, dry weather, with Ireland hitting record temperatures.


We had rain in August, kept the good temperature and rolled on into September still ticking along nicely. October was exceptionally mild, with nearly the same growth conditions as September, but with a lot more rain at the end of the month. (Although the rainfall figures from The Oxfordshire represent one of the driest records for 2013). The temperatures dropped off a cliff in early November as we went into a sustained period of dry, cold conditions. This finished in early December as we picked up milder, westerly winds, but unfortunately these whistled over some intensely deep lows, so the year finished off very windy and very wet for some.


What an interesting year, but mercifully a better one for most of us after the hard start, though I know a lot of courses were closed over Christmas (and remain so), particularly in Surrey and Kent, which got clattered.

So it’s best foot forward into the new year and let’s see what it has in store for early January ?

General Weather Situation

An unsettled week on the cards, with frequent rain, but slowly turning cooler as we move through the week.

As you can see from the image right, we have a deep depression sitting out in the Atlantic and that’s set to whistle in some very windy and wet weather today, particularly for ScJan6th14otland and the North-West of England. Elsewhere it’ll be a drier start to the day, but you’ll never be far away from rain, with blustery showers pushing across Ireland and into the west and south of England early on in the morning. After lunch these should clear most of Ireland, except the east coast, but rain showers will still affect the south-west / south coast of England, Wales and the west coast of the U.K, with Scotland getting rain and strong winds to boot. Temperatures will be mild, low double figures for many and the wind from the south-west (where else?)

For Tuesday, that rain continues to affect the afore-mentioned areas, but those showers will push inland in the morning to affect many central areas and The Midlands, before clearing later. Ireland will be mainly affected on the west coast with the heavier rain over Connacht and Donegal. It’ll still be windy, from the south-west and staying mild.

For Wednesday, we have a very heavy band of rain that is threatening the south coast of the U.K, during the early hours in a line east of the Isle of Wight. Elsewhere, rain will continue to affect the west coast of Ireland and Scotland in the morning. Aside from that, it’ll be dry, a little cooler, and still breezy, though the south-west winds will be decreasing in intensity. During the afternoon, another band of heavy rain looks set to push into the south-west of England, moving up to affect the Midlands and east of England later in the afternoon.

Overnight into Thursday, that rain clears England, to leave a dry, nippy start to Thursday as we begin to lose those milder temperatures. A drier day for most on Thursday, but there will be some rain affecting the north-west of England during the morning and this will push down into the north Midlands later on in the day.

As we go into Friday, a new band of rain reaches western Ireland early in the morning and pushes west across Ireland into Scotland falling as wintry showers over higher ground. By the afternoon it’s into Wales and the north-west of England and there it’s projected to stay until well into the night. Elsewhere dry and cool, with temperatures in the mid-high, single figures and the wind remaining from the south-west.

The weekend is looking unsettled at this stage, with a frosty start to Saturday for many and the potential for some wintry showers over the Peak District during the morning. There’s also the risk of a narrow band of rain affecting a line stretching from the south-west of England to the Humber Estuary. Later in the day this rain may move north into South Wales and eastwards, fizzling out as it does so. Elsewhere it’ll be dry and a good deal brighter than of late to boot.  As we move into Sunday, there’s more rain on the way, pushing into the west of Ireland and the U.K and heading eastwards. At this stage the worst affected looks to be Wales and the middle of the U.K. but that may well change.

Weather Outlook

Some of you have been remarking about the intense snow storms that are currently affecting the north-east of America and their propensity to come over here at some point. Is this likely ?

If you look at the two schematics below you can see on the left, the deep polar low that’s affecting the U.S, well it doesn’t actually move much from this position over the next 10 days or so. In fact it dissipates and then re-forms, so I’d be predicting more record snowfall forecasts for the eastern seaboard of the United States during January, but it isn’t coming here any time soon, though we will see colder weather in January (so stop fretting Chris).


Most of you may be pleased to learn that I think we’ll go drier and colder next week, though winds and wintry showers will still affect the North and Scotland, very much a North/South divide is on the cards I think. A weak high pressure is due to form over the south of the U.K. and that’ll bring some drier, cooler conditions into play from mid-week, next week onwards, so most of us should have a chance to dry out 🙂 Interestingly last year we didn’t start getting cold weather until the middle of January, so maybe we’re going that way again?

Agronomic Notes

The ever-efficient Wendy has been hard at work compiling those GDD days for December to finish off the year and they make interesting reading. As usual they’re downloadable here ;


What we can see from the top graph that December finished off mild for the third year in succession with positive growth-degree-days right through the month (see below for a monthly readout) The year finished off with a total growth potential higher than 2012, despite the very slow start we had and this was due to the warm summer and late autumn, in particular.

As the graph shows below, we’ve had some growth on outfield turf through December, particularly on the run up to Christmas and at the end of the month. I’ve seen this on courses around here, with Ryegrass in particular perking up on tees, aprons and fairway areas.


Poa is looking a bit yellow and out of sorts at the moment, typical for the winter and particularly due to the high levels of rainfall we’ve experienced in some areas, which is leading to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) on greens, manifesting itself as yellowing of the older leaf.

Rainfall – Let’s have those stats please

It’s that time of year again and we’ve already started receiving total rainfall stats for 2013, the first ones came in on New Year’s Day! (Cheers Matt, Graeme). The south of the U.K. really received a clattering in terms of rainfall at the end of December, beginning of January and that’s really pushed up the yearly totals for Surrey and Kent in particular, compared to the Midlands and the East of the country.

So far my wettest area is Cornwall (1136mm) and the driest Lincolnshire (518mm). If you could either email to or simply reply to this blog with the total tagged on, that would be great. We aim to have a finished version for display at Harrogate, so if it’s possible to send them over in the next week or so, that would be great. Thanks in anticipation.

All the best,

Mark Hunt