Monthly Archives: April 2014

April 28th


Hi All,

As we nearly say goodbye to April and another Bank Holiday loomEyebrookApril2014s in quick succession after Easter, we can reflect on an ‘up and down’ month, temperature and rainfall-wise, with very changeable conditions for many. I think this picture sums the month up for me…Still let’s be honest that’s what April used to be like, changeable, but if you look at 2013 weather data you can see that we’ve actually been cooler for the back end of April 2014, than we were last year, after the long winter.


Image courtesy of NetWeather


That’s because we have a recalcitrant jet stream, currently still split (see image left) in two or even three segments..

As you can see from the image, we have two bands in yellow/orange , one below and one above the U.K and Ireland, it should be one continuous band crossing the mid-part of the U.K.


General Weather Situation

Well it looks like the first part of the week will be distinctly warmer than the second, but potentially wetter for some. Monday looks to start off dull for most with some light rain projected to affect the south-east of England and move west along the coast into the south-west of the U.K later in the day. Winds will be easterly and light and so temperatures will be pleasant, up into the middle / high teens and you may even catch sight of the sun from time to time. It’ll stay mild at night through till the end of the week.

Overnight into Tuesday, that rain continues to affect the extreme south-east of England, whilst another band just skirts the west coast of Kerry later in the day, pushing up the west coast into Connacht later in the evening. Elsewhere it’ll be a nice day, pleasantly warm with more in the way of breaks in the cloud, so quite lovely really 🙂 Winds again will be light and from the east.

For Wednesday we have a band of rain pushing into Kerry and then moving up country through the morning, perhaps not reaching Leinster til the evening rush hour. For the U.K, it’ll start dry, but showers are set to bubble up in the afternoon and these look to be potentially heaviest from The Midlands north, right up the east coast of the U.K and into Scotland. Winds be be light to moderate, swinging round from the east to the south-west / south with the arrival of that rain. Temperatures will remain good, mid-teens, maybe higher in the south-east of England. Later on, that westerly rain reaches the south-west of England and Wales.

Overnight into Thursday, that westerly rain pushes into the west of the U.K and consolidates with the central and northerly rain, so a wet outlook at present for Thursday, particularly a.m. for the U.K, though Ireland looks drier at this stage. Later on that rain starts to drift south-east, so clearing Scotland and the north of England first, before finally clearing the south-east by close of play Thursday. By this time another rain band is into Kerry and pushing slowly up country into Friday. Temperatures will be a little down on the start of the week with low to mid-teens in that rain and the winds will intially start off southerly, but later in the day are projected to swing round to the north, so that means a chillier night than of late. 😉

We end the week with a northerly / north-easterly airflow in charge, so feeling much fresher in the wind, even when the sun is out. 🙁 That change in the wind stops the Irish rain in its tracks so it will only affect the south-west of Munster in the morning before nipping off out to sea again. A dry, bright day in prospect to end the week, so that means good dry cuts going into the Bank Holiday. As the skies clear, temperatures will drop sharply and that means a potential frost for the start of the weekend, but this will soon go as the winds pick up from the north-east to moderate strength and whisk cloud cover over. So sunny and cloudy with a coolish north-easterly wind. Sunday looks a little better with the wind pushing round to the east / south-east and that means slightly higher temperatures and a sunnier outlook I think. Still feeling cool with a cool start in particular and ground frost likely. Bank Holiday Monday looks pretty good really with temperatures climbing as that wind moves more south-easterly / southerly through the day, so dry and sunny with some cloud cover.

Weather Outlook

Well not a bad outlook really with warmer winds for the start of next week, southerly and then south-westerly in nature. That change in wind direction though will signal the arrival of a rain system that at this stage looks to affect more westerly and northerly areas early on next week. Further south it will be unsettled, but mild and that wind direction / cloud cover should mean a return to milder nights, but still nothing in the way of higher temperatures on the horizon. Indeed the problem is that all the time the jet stream still has a propensity to track south of the U.K and Ireland, we’re likely to drag in cooler air from the continent and that’ll peg back temperatures.

Agronomic Notes

April Growth Perspective

An ‘up and down’ growth month for sure and that’s principally affected greens / fine turf with low growth rates for most of the month. You can see from the daily GDD chart below, the peak and trough nature of the month quite clearly…Most positive growth peaks have only lasted for 2-3 days before we hit a trough and that’s why growth has been like it has..


The troughs coincide with cold nights, often with ground frost and that pattern is set to extend into the start of May.

So actually that means not the greatest conditions for recovery from aeration, particularly in the 2nd half of this month with some clear growth checks. On the flipside it has made the run of shorter, 4-day weeks more manageable from a growth perspective and with the cold nights forecast for Friday and Saturday this coming weekend, that should mean you won’t return to mountains of growth and clippings round your ankles come next Tuesday. That said it may not be good cutting weather for the west and north with a more unsettled theme to the weather.

GDD Total Y.T.D

I’d be interested to see where locations are come the end of April because we have some very clear differences between locations and for me that’s one of the best uses of GDD, to see where you are, how your growth has been and how you compare. Often I know you get visiting players commenting that they played at such and such a venue recently and it was “drier, more advanced, better conditons, blah, blah” and having a GDD figure handy can allow a nice, curt response. (And you never know they may even understand it…) So if you’re happy to share them, send me in a total y.t.d End of April, by posting a comment on the blog and I’ll chart them out next week.

Weathercheck reminder

Headland Weather Logo (artwork) rgb

Just another reminder to look out for that Weathercheck email and respond because if you don’t, you’ll see the feature become unavailable after the end of the month. If that happens, get in touch with us through this blog and we’ll sort it……

Disease Activity

With some rainfall ( alot for the west I know) and a bit of temperature earlier on last week and this week, we’ll start to see more in the way of Superficial Fairy Ring and Thatch Fungus, particularly on areas where organic matter has accumulated. Typically I see this away from the ‘Wear TrIangle’ on a golf green (for example) i.e the accumulation tends to occur away from the normal foot traffic pathways and so the disease tends to follow in its tracks.


It doesn’t always hold true, but often the areas that don’t receive the wear, tend to show the bulk of disease outbreaks, be they Fairy Ring or Microdochium related.

Poa Seedheads

These have followed a strange pattern through April, with the early part of the month looking like we were due to hit the main flowering period in mid-April, but since we lost daily GDD and haven’t had any really high spikes, they’ve just crept along with increasingly more and more seedheads visible. The annual Poa biotype has been seeding pretty much since the early / mid-part of April, but the seedhead on the perennial biotype is still slow to come. I think the weather for the early part of this week will see a further increase before it halts again over the Bank Holiday weekend with the loss of GDD.

Pale and Pasty

The successive checks in growth, visible in the graph above has also resulted in a loss of colour from turf surfaces, particularly if a cold night is accompanied by strong, cold winds, as we had on Saturday, for example. With the onset of Poa seeding and the ‘up and down’ nature of day / night temperature, it has introduced a paler colour to grass which may need a light tonic with iron to pick it again, though with ground frosts forecast for the end of the week / weekend, you may come in next week to some more pale surfaces. There’s also more of that purpling around as the grass plants growth rate stops and starts. I know a lot of people judge on colour, but if the surface is firm and true (speaking greens here) then that’s the most important parameter in my mind. If you do want to pick areas up, you should try (rainfall allowing) to use the warmer temperatures of the first part of the week to do this.


Ok that’s it for this week, have a good one…

Mark Hunt








April 22nd


Hi All,

Not sure how accurate my forecast was for Easter, I think most of you in The Midlands and south would have got the rain on Sunday and Monday (p.m.) that I forecast and it certainly was cold in that north-eastery wind (but ok out of it). Sunday for us was a real ‘Haar’ day, courtesy of that NE wind, with clouds down to the ground. The wind really blew as well because I managed to top 40 mph downhill on my mountain bike ! (with a following hurricane behind of course :))

I don’t often mention people in my blog, but on this occasion I will.

Mike Butler, photo (31)as a person, represents one of the longest and most valued friendships I’ve had in this industry, through many guises. He’s the first guy I met and worked with back in the Sierra days of Osmocote in 1989, and he’s set to retire next week.So Mike, (and Sue) have a great retirement, you’ve earned it…Here’s a pic of Mike at his 60th, chatting up a woman, well he thought he was, but actually it’s a man…..

Mike is also the font of all knowledge horticulturally and an all-round good egg. (though it has to be said, a boring fart if you let him talk about narrow boats :)) He sent me this picture over Easter and reminded me of one of the old OakAshcountry sayings..

“If the oak before the ash, then we’ll only have a splash, if the ash before the oak, then we’ll surely have a soak”?

The picture right (allegedly) shows an oak tree in leaf ahead of an ash tree, I say allegedly because tree i.d is not my strong point (as the lads at Elm Green, Dublin know only too well… :)) Apparently oak trees are temperature sensitive, whereas ash trees are thought to respond more to light levels (sunshine). Looking at 2014, we had a mild start to the year, because it was wet, but light levels have been lower, so it makes sense that the oak is ahead of the ash.

Does it hold true that for this year ?, well you know I hate long-term weather predictions, but all I would say is that the jet stream is sitting low and as you’ll feel over the next 7-10 days, is tending to allow cool air down from the north and east, so my take if this is the pattern for the summer, is that it’ll be cooler and wetter, rather against what the old saying suggests. Of course we know that long-term predictions aren’t generally worth the paper they’re written on, so we’ll see if the pattern has indeed set in April for the summer, as it did in 2013 and 2012. (Hopefully not)

General Weather Situation

Kind of cheating because we’re half-way through Tuesday already, but it looks a dull and damp start for many after overnight rain. This rain hasn’t gone away though because through lunchtime and the afternoon those showers reform and look to give a potentially wet p.m. across most of the U.K and Ireland, right through to dusk. Winds will be light easterlies, but they’ll swing round to the south later in the day. Temperatures will be mid-teens at best and they’ll be a little sunshine around, hazy in nature I reckon.

Overnight into Wednesday, those showers will die out over most of the U.K, but a new rain front is set to push into the south-west of Ireland during the wee hours and push north-east, up country into Leinster during the morning. This rain front will reach the south-west of England and Wales for the morning rush hour and push north-eastwards across the U.K during the morning. At this stage it looks to stop around the west Midlands, so it may not reach the north-east of England at all. West and south of this however, right up to Scotland, it will mean a wet day is on the cards.

Overnight into Thursday, that rain band pushes north-eastwards, originating from a cool low that’s pushing in, so the east coast gets a drop as well. That rain takes until late morning to finally clear the east coast of the U.K. Elsewhere we’ll have a cloudy day, winds from the south / south-west and largely dry save for some rain still affecting Connacht, Donegal and the north-west of Scotland. Temperatures will be low teens and won’t dip much at night either, so that’ll have an effect on greens growth for sure.

For Friday we have some rain over Munster and Connacht to start the day, but elsewhere it looks dry, cool in a south-easterly wind, but as the day progresses, it’ll warm up and the sun could break through late afternoon. Enjoy it while you can though because by late afternoon a new heavy rain front from that low is pushing into Kerry and the south-west of England. By the evening and overnight into Saturday, it’ll develop into a very unsettled picture with heavy rain in parts, notably the north-east of Scotland, Ireland, the south-west of England and Wales, but all areas can expect rain. Winds will be from the south-east and again temperatures will be low to mid-teens.

The outlook for the weekend continues unsettled with this overnight rain making Saturday look a very mixed affair, with rain popping up in most parts of the U.K and Ireland, some of it heavy, but maybe the south-east and north-west of England may miss the worst. It’ll feel cooler on Saturday than of late, as the jet stream pulls in cooler air, so not great. Sunday looks the better day of the weekend, except for the south-west of England and Ireland where you may just catch the edge of a rain front early doors. It’ll be milder, but that wind is still south-east originating so not great for a lot of heat, though it will feel better than Saturday.

Weather Outlook

Well not great really, if you look at the Unisys loop at the top of the page, you’ll see that the low pressure that’s due to bring rain to many places this week and over the coming weekend, stays sat in place, so that means we have a slow-moving jet stream. It’s also sitting low, so that means cool air can push in from the north and north-west and that’s what’s set to happen, so cool and unsettled is the outlook for the run into May. So an unsettled start to next week is on the cards and a pretty unsettled end to it as well as that low reforms to bring south-west winds and mild, wetter air into play for the end of next week. The only positive is that the unsettled outlook means less risk of night frost because of cloud cover, so night temperatures should hang on well.

Agronomic Notes

Ok first off we have a Headland Weathercheck service update on the Headland Weather Logo (artwork) rgbway. Weathercheck is our location-based forecasting service we provide (in conjunction with Meteoblue) for a good number of end-users and features a number of weather modules that you can click on to see your localised forecast.  We’re updating the service, improving the graphic output and detailing on the site as well as adding a longer-term forecasting module. You’ll shortly be receiving an email from Paul in I.T to which you’ll need to respond to in order to keep using the service, that’s all you have to do. If you’re not on this service and are interested, drop an email to with your details and we’ll get it sorted. (Well Paul will :))

Disease Activity

I’m getting a good few reports about various disease activity around and abouts with Microdochium outbreaks the most common, originating from that mild, wet weekend we had in early / mid-April. The up and down nature of the weather this month has really affected fungicide A.I uptake and in turn control of the disease. With very little greens growth due to low GDD, growth away from any scarring has also been slow.

I’ve also had reports of some Fairy Rings / Superficials / Thatch Fungus, but if you’re looking at something like this (below) where you have darkened green areas colonised by bentgrass, it might actually be from plant parasitic nematodes. (PPN’s)  Endoparasitic species, like Heterodera, Sub Anguina, Root-Knot nematode species tend to ‘get out of bed’ much earlier in the spring (because they over-winter more effectively inside an egg or cyst) than the ectoparasitic species (which tend to cause problems later in the year) and so you’ll often see symptoms from ‘Endo’ species occurring first.

Heterodera1 Heterodera2

The bottom line is to maintain adequate, balanced nutrition, good use of biostimulants and not subject the plant to stress. Also you’ll want to try and generate new root development, so light spiking, sarrell rolling, solid tining will all be beneficial. If I was in a PPN situation I wouldn’t be using PGR’s as a matter of policy because PPN’s restrict plant growth, so you don’t need a PGR to further exacerbate the situation.

Growth outlook and nutrition

I think we’ll see reasonably good growth over the next week or so because the projected GDD’s are hovering between 2.5 – 5.0, depending on how warm it is during the day and how mild it stays at night with you. An unsettled outlook tends to mean we get rain and we stay mild at night and that means fine turf areas where Poa has been reluctant to grow up until now will push ahead and seed of course. Outfield areas, be they fairways, sports pitches, etc will also tick along more than ably, with a bit of a growth flush due to the combination detailed above. So it’s a good time to make an iron + PGR application and peg back that growth, particularly on shaded areas as we rapidly head towards ‘canopy close’ (the point where leaf growth on trees obscures light from turf surfaces)

Nutrition-wise, you have a choice depending on your objective and the amount of growth you wish to generate. If you’re staring at some scarring and want to get it grown in quickly, I’d be going with a granular application in conjunction with some localised over-seeding and topdressing (in the scarred areas)

If you just want to tick things on, then light foliars with iron using a mixture of N sources should work well at the moment. I say a mixture because both cool-temperature forms like ammonium sulphate and potassium nitrate and warm-temperature forms like urea and slow-release N will give a response, but I’d be mixing the two for consistent results because we’re not at summer yet.

Herbicide sprays will also be well-timed at the moment, providing you can find a spray window, but as I mentioned last week, uptake will be slow, so if the product allows, mix in a bit of N to stimulate uptake. You may not see a response (Epinasty) for a week maybe, but it will work.

On the lawncare side, because I know a lot of lads click onto this blog, you’ll no doubt be seeing plenty of Ant activity with the rainfall of late. Personally I don’t like treating Ants on lawns because they form the bottom of the food chain for many bird species, not least Sparrows, Starlings and quite often Woodpeckers. (particularly Green Woodpeckers). I know however they can make them unsightly, but a bit of work with a Besom broom and topdressing hides the worst in many cases. (But not all)

I’ll leave you with a nice picture of spring, take at Coton Manor Gardens, Northamptonshire at the weekend (a lovely place for a bite and a walk if you appreciate classic gardens) where the Bluebells (Old English, not Spanish) are just heading up to their best !


All the best…

Mark Hunt



April 15th – Updated 17th April


Hi All, (Again)

I’m aware some of you didn’t receive my original blog published on Tuesday this week and so I’ve decided to re-publish it, but with an update pertaining to this weekend. As you’ll note I inferred below, there was a great deal of uncertainty conerning the weather over the Easter period and since putting together a forecast for this weekend, a scenario I thought might occur looks like it now will and this will affect the forecast for Sunday and possibly Monday in particular.

It now looks like a low pressure system will come in off the continent on Sunday morning and bring rain, pushing up on south-easterly winds, so it’ll affect the south-east first and then move diagonally up the country over the course of Sunday in a line from Kent up to The Humber and pushing up to south-west Scotland. So now Easter Sunday looks like being cool and potentially pretty wet for some. Thereafter we’re should be back on track, (but this cooler weather may extend into Monday) milder and unsettled for the week following Easter. At least you guys won’t be coming back to grass growing out of control and clippings round your ankles 🙂 and the courses on the east side of the country that need rain, should get it.

Ciao for now..



Hi All,

A day late again, ho hum, but it’s that time of year I’m afraid, in reality it’s probably better as I’ll have more of a handle for the weather over the whole Easter period by doing the blog today.

That said, the current weather pattern is extremely unpredictable and therefore difficult to forecast. Anyone who follows it closely will have seen great variability in the next 5 days forecast, one minute it’s going cold with rain, the next it’s going to be dry. An indication of this variability will be the wind direction, which will change almost daily over the next 5 days. The reason for this (IMHO) is a split jet stream (see image below which shows 2 jet stream paths, one below and one above the U.K) which is usually a precursor for a change in the long-term weather pattern, again it’s happening in the middle of April, just like it did in 2012 and 2013.


Image courtesy of Netweather Extra showing split Jet Stream

So how are we looking for the Easter period and beyond, taking on board that I type this with slight trepidation ?

General Weather Situation

You’ll no doubt have noticed quite a significant ground frost for places today and this will be a recurring theme for the next few days as clear nights, with little cloud cover see night temperatures tumble. Tuesday looks a bright, clear day for just about everyone, with just a little more cloud cover passing over Scotland during the day. Winds will be light and from the East / South-East and that’ll peg back temperatures to the low teens for most, maybe higher in Costa Del Southern England 🙂

Moving onto Wednesday, again we’re likely to see a ground frost to start the day, but this will quickly thaw as it’s set to be a warmer day despite a bit more in the way of cloud cover at the start of the day. A weak rain band is set to just tickle the north-west coast of Ireland during the afternoon, but it’s main effect will be over north-west Scotland where I think you’ll see significant rain from late afternoon and overnight into Thursday. For most of Ireland (save for north west Connacht and Donegal) and southern England, it’ll be a warmer day with temperatures in the mid-teens or higher, with gentle southerly winds, nice…..

That rain over Scotland is set to slowly sink south overnight into Thursday affecting the west coast, border counties and The Lakes during the morning. Elsewhere we should escape a frost with more in the way of cloud cover around, but temperatures should hold up well in their mid-teens, possibly higher in the east and south-east during sunnier spells. Winds will be westerly, but as we close out Thursday, they’ll start to swing round to the north and temperatures will drop sharply.

Good Friday should perhaps be more apatly named ‘Bloody Cold Friday’ as we see northerly winds take control. For some areas (East coast and Midlands) that may mean we’ll drag ‘Haar’ off The North Sea, so it’ll be dull and cold, high single figures under the cloud cover. Further north, south and west , it’ll be brighter so maybe just breaking into double figures here. It will be dry though for all of the U.K and Ireland.

Easter Saturday sees that wind swinging round to a more north-easterly aspect, keeping temperatures down in the wind, though again it looks to be dry. The colder wind means a more widespread frost, particularly for the north and west where they’ll be less cloud cover. Sunny with some cloud cover, but staying cool for the day unfortunately.Moving into Easter Sunday it may perk up a bit, particularly temperature-wise, pushing up into the mid-teens, so a better day on the cards, dry again with plenty of sunshine, but still with those north-westerly winds. There is some rain around on the continent and there’s just a chance it may swing up to affect the south-east of England / southern coast later on Sunday. Bank Holiday Monday looks very similar to Sunday, maybe more in the way of cloud cover about, but again staying dry and reasonably mild, if not particularly warm in those north-easterly / easterly winds.

Weather Outlook

So after a cool (ish) Easter, how does the 2nd, 4-day week on the trot look like in terms of getting everything back fine and dandy like ?

Well I expect next week to be unsettled, right from the off as the jet stream re-establishes itself and pushes a low pressure system in from The Atlantic. So from later on Tuesday, expect a milder airstream, (cool initially as the winds will start off in the north-west) from the west and rain pushing over, maybe not getting across to the U.K until Wednesday. It’ll be windier and those winds will swing round to the north-west / west during the week, so feeling cooler in the former. The unsettled theme looks like staying with us all week, so sunshine, mild, with frequent showers or heavier spells of rain looks the theme right into the weekend after this one.  Typical April weather you’d say…

Agronomic Notes

Growth comments

Well the feedback I’m getting is that greens growth is slow, but outfield growth took a real hike up early last week. Why ?, well because we had good GDD figures, had very mild night temperatures and rainfall, and that really kicked off outfield areas, particularly in the central, eastern and southern parts of the U.K, which had been dry (I know the west and north had not !) You can see this on the chart below ;


Looking at the trendline for GDD you can see the up and down nature of growth, with frequent growth checks as we get cold nights dropping GDD right down. Today (Tuesday) is a good example with a frost to start the day and then we’ll be at low to mid-teens by 2p.m, but that means barely no GDD, so no growth. This up and down nature is set to continue over the next week or so, with some frosts and cool days, so do I expect a growth flush over The Bank Holiday weekend ?….No.

You will however see another outfield flush next week when we get a somewhat milder airflow and rain. Especially because the cloud cover and westerly winds will prevent the night temperature from dropping too far. (I expect it to be mid-single figures) and the days will be a little warmer. This will also push greens growth on a bit as well from it’s current low level.

 Current state of GDD

If I look at Sean’s data from The Oxfordshire, current up until today, we’re at 183.5 cumulative, y.t.d and what we’re seeing in terms of Poa seedheads is the annual Poa biotype is seeding profusely, but the perennial Poa biotype isn’t yet fully into its stride. It’s an accepted fact that outfield areas tend to contain more annual Poa biotypes and these tend to produce more seedheads than the perennials biotypes and start earlier. So I think the 150 GDD mark in terms of Poa seedheads for say The Oxfordshire is really applicable to annual Poa biotypes, rather than perennials.

As stated above, you tend to see more annual biotypes in outfield, higher height-of-cut turf and these pictures sent in from Adrian at York Race course (cheers) highlight that very well. The Poa below started seeding at 120-140 GDD


On fine turf you’ll see more annual biotypes on greens that have been subject to thinning, be it from disease, wear & tear (clean up strip) or droughting out on noses, ridges. This is because the annual biotype is an A1 opportunist, always looking to seed into ‘voids’ in the turf. So you’ll tend to see greens with more annual biotypes seeding now and greens with the tighter perennial, just on the cusp. Looking at the fact that we’re going to have pretty low GDD’s for the next week, I don’t expect this to change much until next week when milder air AND rain will get the perennial moving. (By that stage it’ll be closer to 200 cumulative GDD

Disease activity

An interesting one this because we saw a lot of Microdochium activity last week even on areas of turf which had been clean all winter, despite the fact that the winter was mild and wet. So it looks like we have two seperate phases of disease development going on. If we get Microdochium establishing high populations in the autumn, then this has the potential to ‘flare up’ again repeatedly over the winter. If we don’t and we’re clean going into the spring, we tend to see that a new population of Microdochium needs high GDD and moisture to build up to a point that it becomes pathogenic, so what’s important here is not necessarily cumulative GDD, it’s the combination of high daily GDD and moisture.

If you look at the GDD graph above, most reports of Microdochium came in from the 6th April onwards, once we’d have some rainfall (and warm rainfall at that) and high night temperature pushing up GDD’s. So in future we can mark these combining factors as a warning for Microdochium outbreaks in the spring, regardless of what happened over the winter.

One of the notable problems though has been slow uptake of fungicides following application and that’s because of the frequent growth checks evident on the graph above. These will be further exacerbated if nutrition levels are low because systemic uptake by the plant will be sub-optimal.

Weed Growth

That growth flush in early April pushed everything into over-drive for a few days and driving along it’s notable how the verges have sprung into life. Not just the grass though because Dandelions and Daisy’s have also gone ballistic so suddenly you’ve got some big weeds visible. This week is a perfect spray week, but don’t expect weeds to keel over quickly because whilst spraying conditions are good, uptake conditions aren’t , particularly with the night frosts forecast. So I would spray but I don’t expect to see anything happen until next week when we have milder and wetter weather. Of course you’ll get much better uptake next week, but by then it’s likely to be windier and wetter, so your spraying conditions aren’t great. Isn’t that just typical 🙂


With the colder nights and days this week (at the end of the week), I expect greens turf in particular will start to look a bit peaky, particularly as some Poa will be ‘paling off’ as it diverts its energy from leaf and root production to seedheads. So greens may look a bit ‘peaky’, a bit purple blotchy like with the cold nights and warm days, (up to Friday) so for me I’d just give them a light foliar with iron and don’t expect to see a great deal until the low night temperatures desist at the beginning of next week. On outfield areas, it’s a good time to apply a granular fertiliser if you’re looking for a growth boost because of the rain forecast to appear next week.

Ok that’s it for now, it’ll probably be Tuesday next week as well for the next blog because of the Bank Holiday, so have a good Easter, keep the Poa seedhead feedback coming…If you’re off to The Azores to catch some southern sunshine, be aware that Lydia the Great White is in residence (lol :))

All the best.

Mark Hunt




8th April

Hi All,

Better late than never i suppose, bit of a mad start to the week, so apologies for the delay in sending this through…

roadside halophyte

Image courtesy of

In my job I spend a lot of time driving, and thinking, and driving… Recently I spent it sat in the back of a black, un-marked, Police Audi Quattro being read the riot act, but that’s another story 🙁

I noticed last year and this year again, a white flowering plant growing in the thin strips alongside major roads where I guessed salt had been spread and thought to myself; “It must be a Halophyte”; that is a salt-tolerant plant. I was delighted to discover that it is in fact Danish Scurvy-grass (Cochlearia Danica), what a cool name, and particularly apt for me being half-Danish 🙂 Read all about it here. It’s a great example of the addanskflagaptative nature of plants and reading up about it, it’s been here since the Middle Ages, but of course being tolerant of salt and flowering early, it’s adapted and spread down our road network. Later I’ll be talking about another supreme, adaptative plant that’s flowering early (tenuous link 🙂 )

General Weather Situation

Monday will be dull and potentially very wet in places, says he after driving through some mega downpours today!

So as we enter a new week, it’s all change, particularly at night, with much cooler temperatures coming your way than the last 2 nights which didn’t dip below 12°C here! Tuesday looks a much better day than Monday though, with good amounts of sunshine and reasonably mild, sitting in the low to mid-teens depending on your location. Winds will be brisk and westerly and after some early morning showers have cleared the north and west of England (and Ireland), it’ll be sunny with varying cloud cover, more so across the west.

Overnight into Wednesday, the clearing skies will give a much cooler night, so mid-single figures for most aside from the north-west of Scotland, where a rain band moves in overnight and pushes southwards into the north of England for the start of Wednesday. Most of that rain will die out during the morning, though it may stay for the day across the west of Scotland. Elsewhere it’ll be another bright day, with varying amounts of cloud and a westerly wind, a tad lighter than Tuesday’s.

Overnight into Thursday, that rain across the west of Scotland / north west of Ireland sinks south again to affect the north of England, but not making much headway further south than the M62 (can’t blame it). The Irish end of that rain band will also sink south to affect Connacht and Leinster through Thursday morning, but amounts should be on the light side. A duller day than Tuesday or Wednesday for most areas, with that light rain band sinking south into The North Midlands during the afternoon. As we close out Thursday, temperatures drop again to the mid-single figure region so another cool night.

Going into Friday, that rain band has brought with it a good deal of cloud cover to end the week, so a duller start for most on Friday. It should be dry though with the sun breaking through from mid-morning, but feeling fresher as the wind pivots round to the north briefly to close out the week. So dry, but cool for Friday, but good news because those north winds only last a day 🙂

So how are we looking for the coming weekend ?

Well not bad really unless you’re in the north-west of Scotland, which looks to get clattered by rain for most of Saturday and later this may drift down into north-west Connacht and Donegal. For the rest of us it looks like being a half-reasonable day; mild, mid-teens in England with light, north-westerly winds, should be cracking fly fishing / cycling weather 😛 Sunday looks even better with more sun, temperatures nicely up into the mid-teens and save for the north-west of Scotland, dry for all areas, so enjoy and break out those shorts and sandals!

Weather Outlook

Ok so as we head up to Easter, how are we looking ? Well at the moment my prediction for Easter or at least the start of it isn’t great, with a very windy and wet Good Friday on the cards possibly. Next week though starts off grand with high pressure in charge so light winds, sunny, mild days and cool nights the order of the day. By mid-week, next week we have a low pressure system dipping down and it’s a cool, big one at that, moving in to potentially shape the weather for Easter. At a guess that means strong westerly / north westerly winds and rain arriving probably Thursday. So I think an unsettled Easter is on the cards, with sunshine and blustery showers, some heavy in places.

Agronomic Notes


Ok lot’s to talk about this week and let’s kick off with GDD and Poa seedheads !

Last week I predicted that if GDD observations from 2012/13 were right, we’d start to see Poa annua seeding once we crossed the 150GDD threshold here in The Midlands (and south of England) and that seems to be the case. The photo above was taken on the 1st April, with 120GDD as of the end of March, but with a warm week, last week and another 25-30 GDD added, we’re right on the button for poa seeding. I looked at some plants close up and you could see the bulge where the Poa flowerhead is forming and just beginning to push through.  (see below)


Now that 150 cumulative GDD isn’t for everyone and one thing I’m learning is the great variability between locations and GDD totals and that’s important because when you have two locations close together, you imagine the GDD will be similar, but no that’s not true and it explains why you get such different feedback from end-users seemingly close together geographically. For instance, whilst we’re up to 123GDD by month end at The Oxfordshire, there were lot’s of people reporting 70-80 GDD cumulative total to the end of March, particularly across Ireland, but also in some areas of The Midlands.  Here’s a selection of locations across Europe indeed and their respective GDD’s, just look at the variability….


So next we need to marry up GDD for your location with actual observations, some people have already emailed their observations regarding Poa seeding, but I’m especially interested to see if those guys in low GDD areas see Poa seeding at much lower than 150 GDD totals, which would mean their particular biotype seeds earlier in the growth stage than over here.

GDD Logging Chart Update

Paul has updated our GDD logger to show cumulative and monthly totals for GDD to save you the hassle of adding up. If you can’t be a***d to cut and paste your existing data, email us the file and we’ll do it for you. The updating logger can be found here

Cumulative year to date

Wendy’s been number crunching again with the yearly logs, so have a look at the data for The Oxfordshire and see how you compare…the graphs graphically illustrate the difference between this year and last….



The files are downloadable here

Growth Characteristics

Most people have seen significant growth over the last week or so, particularly on higher height-of-cut areas, like sportsfields, tees, fairways and rough, but greens have been slower to get moving. With moisture arriving over the latter part of the weekend, and warm rain to boot, everything seems to be growing like mad, with the hedgerows and verges bursting into life. I’d expect that to continue for most of this week, but with the cooler nights it’ll tail off a little. That said, the rain will mean Poa will grow as well as bent, so it may turn out to be a good greens growth week and maybe it’ll need to be….

Disease Activity

It’s been a good while since we saw much disease activity with a lot of courses reporting that their last fungicide application was late last autumn, however the very mild night temperatures on Saturday and Sunday night, coupled with warm rain have meant a significant increase in Microdochium nivale activity (Kate’s monitoring my nomenclature you know. Big Sister’s watching! :P) with a number of reports coming in today so keep an eye out, particularly if you have some old disease scars from last year, as these may indeed flare up again. The decision whether to spray or not is a tricky one and really it relates to growth characteristics and the intensity of the Fus… – I mean Microdochium – If I did have to spray at the moment, I’d either use a straight contact to knock it out quickly or I’d use a contact + systemic mix, with the systemic different in A.I. from the one you used last in the autumn, so you’re subjecting the pathogen to a different chemistry.

As usual I’m interested to hear if you’ve seen disease and whether it needed to be sprayed or not.

Ok that’s it for today, sorry about the delay, should be back to a Monday next week, though actually it’s just Monday now as I type this, but I don’t want to post it for fear you all sleep with your phones by the bed and you’ll blame me for a disturbed nights kip 🙂

All the best…

Mark Hunt