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 http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca

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


17 thoughts on “8th April

  1. John Bryson

    Mark, spotted the first poa seedheads today….what joy!!
    Still haven’t join the GDD brigade yet…..
    Carrickmines GC. Dublin

    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Hi John,

      Pity, because it would be interesting for you if you did due to your altitude and location vs. the other Dublin courses.
      It would also provide a clear indication of exactly how far you’re behind growth-wise because of the above and therefore provide a nice communication tool with management.
      Enjoy your seedheads !


      1. John Bryson

        Well when you put it like that…..maybe I will. If I do you’ll be the first to know….after Aine that is.

      2. Anth Naisbitt

        Hi Mark
        Have just started seeing seed head development in the last couple of days here in Carlisle, Cumbria. GDD is approx 97 not having a weather station so rough figures on temps, but its been very wet also. Just downloaded the GDD file keep up the good work

        1. mark.hunt Post author

          Hi Anth,

          Interesting that looks like the Poa in northern climes initiates seedhead production at much lower GDD than down here.
          I think that figure (around 100GDD) will end up correlating well with Ireland and Scotland as well.


  2. Adi

    Hi Mark
    We have seen a massive increase in growth on the fairways, tees, and surrounds, I guess due to the multigreen. They are by the way looking excellent. Greens growth is still very slow, although acceptable as less cutting required and no real sign of poa seed heads yet, but that is not down to me being infested with perennial poa like some!! Don’t ask me on my GDD? As I don’t record.
    No sign of disease, just really healthy looking greens.

    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Hi Adi,

      Thanks for the pertinent feedback and it appears we’re still early for seedheads in Leicestershire, but they’re not far away I believe after looking at Chris’s greens late today….

      Good news on outfield areas and I’d guess that the slow (preferable) growth on greens will also slow down the expression of seedheads.

      Glad you’re nice and clean, lot’s of people aren’t….how much rain did you get Sunday night, we got 7.8mm here….(I know you record rainfall :))

  3. Billy hudson

    Hi mark, last week was very damp with a mixture of fog , mist and rain . Had to spray greens on Wednesday with medallion, the only dryish day we had. Fusarium just seemed to erupt overnight . Between Tuesday and Friday we got over 50mm of rain in Edinburgh

    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Geez Billy that’s one hell of a lot of rain, hope the Medallion works for you, I’ve found it working better as a protectant than a curative so I’ll be interested in your feedback…It seems we need to get a combination of temperature and moisture in the Spring to kick it off because prior to this we’ve been pretty clean I think…



    Hi Mark,
    Hand cut greens today and clipping yields have tripled since Friday!! We averaged 2-3 boxes per green. There are early visible signs of M.nivale on some of the greens and we’re looking to spray at the earliest oppurtunity – ground conditions are swampy. 21mm in the last 4 days. Also got some poa seedheads but they are within the canopy.
    Speak soon

    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Hi Gwynn,

      Yep that’s a big growth flush that’s kicked in since the weekend’s moisture and temperature combination.
      Mercifully the outlook looks drier for the time-being so hopefully that’ll help matters…
      Poa seedheads will follow I think as the gorwth rate will push them up out of the base of the canopy…


  5. David Behan

    Mark Thanks again for the updates enjoy reading ur newsletter every week. At Naas Gc we seen fus activity on the greens late last week we have been extremely clean since January with little or no activity. Made the judgement today to Spray a contact and systemic as I felt I needed to suppress the fingal activity. Chat soon David

    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Cheers Dave, thanks for the feedback, lot’s of reports of Fusarium, worse I think for you guys and the west coast of the U.K because of higher moisture levels….

  6. Greg Evans

    Hi Mark

    I noticed our first poa seedhead in the rough on Saturday with GDD sitting at 218 on that day. On the main playing surfaces haven’t noticed any but don’t get many on the greens,tees and approaches anyway:) Fairways we do and I’ll let you know when we see them.



    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Cheers Greg, I think it’s a fair comment that the more perennial Poa you have, the less seedheads are produced.
      A good number of greens I’m looking at are on the cusp, not quite there, but down in the canopy they’re visible…


    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Now now Dave, I think you’ve been led astray…….again….what a great idea for the blog, a weekly pin up, maybe she could slowly remove her clothes according to the cumulative GDD !!!!! 6 weeks of sweltering sunshine, I should cocoa…

      Marky Mark


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