After a very warm July, August continues to disappoint, as we remain stuck in a trough pattern in the jet stream which is allowing low after low to drop down and bring cooler, moist air into play. I was at Sywell Airshow yesterday and one minute it felt like summer, the next everyone was trying to shelter out of a harsh and cool north-westerly wind 🙁
For the start of this week we have particularly cold air as the low pressure is drawing air down from the north and that’ll make it feel more like October than August, particularly during any of the sharp showers that we’ll see this week and at night 🙁
General Weather Situation
A pretty easy forecast as the week is effectively split into two parts with Monday through to the close of play on Wednesday set for a brisk northerly / north-westerly wind to dominate proceedings and this will rattle in showers across the U.K and Ireland through the course of the day. These will tend to affect the north and east of the country during this spell, but they’re just as likely inland later into the afternoon. Temperatures will definitely feel chilly compared to what we’d normally get at this time of year, especially during those showers and under cloud cover. That said, find an area out of the wind and during the sunnier spells, it’ll feel quite pleasant. So mid-teens probably the best we’ll see and in that wind with the windchill, it’ll feel closer to high single figures, so definitely an extra layer required. I’d like to be more specific with the rain showers but in my experience it’s not worth it as they can and will pop up anywhere, one place might get clattered and another 4 miles down the road will be dry as a bone..So that sets the scene for Monday to Wednesday, unsettled, a cool north-westerly wind and some blustery showers with cool night time temperatures.
So by Thursday we have that low exiting stage right onto the continent and that’s due to a change in the wind direction swinging round to the west and moving it off the U.K and Ireland. So Thursday will feel a little warmer, however it won’t be dry for some as rain moves into the north-west of Ireland / Scotland/ rest of the U.K (wonder how much longer I’ll be saying that for?) during the morning. It does try to push south, but it’s likely that from The Midlands down in both countries will stay dry for the whole day. Later on that rain pushes onto western coasts and into Wales, but again it’ll mainly affect North Wales. Closing out the week the boot may well be on the other foot for Friday with that rain pushing into Munster and then swinging round into the south-west of England and Wales and pushing north-eastwards. So it’s more likely that the west and south will catch the rain on Friday, particularly later in the day.
There’s a suggestion that the rain will hang around into the first part of the weekend, so that may mean a wet start to Saturday for some, particularly in The Midlands and south of England. Plenty of time for that to change yet though so I won’t be digging out the boat baler quite yet. Either way it looks unsettled for the weekend particularly for Saturday in the south of England. Elsewhere it’ll still remain on the cool side especially at night when mid-single figures may be the order of the day. At this stage Sunday looks the better day of the week, but as a new low approaches it’ll bring cloud and then rain into the west of Ireland later on on Sunday and then to the west of the U.K for Sunday evening.
The above gives a hint for the start of next week with a new low projected to influence our weather and bringing strong southerly winds and rain, initially for Ireland and the west on Monday , but I expect that to push north and east through the day, so possibly a wet start to next week on the cards and a wet Bank Holiday for us over here. So a pretty unsettled start to next week with westerly winds and strong showers the order of the day I think. It’ll probably feel a little milder than this week because of that westerly airstream.
Etiolated Growth – ETS
Plenty of this around at the moment because of the change in weather conditions and the cooler, damp weather. Had a good bit of feedback about the topic last week, with a number of you pointing out that you sometimes see more ETS on approaches, but not on the fairway or green on the same hole, so my theory of more annual biotype Poa showing ETS doesn’t look to stand up to scrutiny. I’m going to try and do some isolation work on this kiddy through the autumn so if it comes to anything I may update you in my fringe seminar at Harrogate.
That rain is packing some N
For the 2nd rain water sample in succession I measured around 1.25kg / N/ ha / inch of rainfall falling last week and with a pH of 5.0, it was quite acidic as well. This shouldn’t be a suprise as I’ve noted before the pH of rainfall dropping from it’s usual 6-6-6.7 region to a more acidic pH, when it originates from a ‘stuck’ weather system that’s doing a few laps of the U.K before moving off…
Growth Flush ?
The combination of rain and a warm soil mean that things are really growing fast at the moment, especially on outfield turf so it may be prudent to reach for a PGR, however if you look at the night time temperatures forecast I think that’ll drop the soil temperature and the rate of growth naturally. You can see from the predicted growth according to the Growth Potential model that we’re dropping right off this week right down to 0.25 (25% of optimum growth) so maybe just keep the PGR in the Chemsafe for the time-being.
Worm Activity and Sulphur
After the dry July and now a cool and wetter August, I’m starting to see very early signs of worm activity on outfield areas. Some of you are using sulphur as a way of acidifying the soil prior to a Carbendazim application and often the advice is to apply these products together in the spray tank.
All well and good until you realise that it’s actually the conversion of sulphur in the soil by specific microbes (Thiobacillus) that provides the acidification rather than the sulphur itself. The chemical equation is shown above and if you can remember from your school chemical classes, it’s the hydrogen ions (H+) that are responsible for acidification. This conversion may take 3-4 weeks after application of the sulphur before it has achieved the desired effect so the trick is to apply the sulphur first, then the Carbendazim later once the soil surface has been acidified.
General Disease Activity – Fusarium & PGR juggling…
I’m expecting with the cooler temperatures that we’ll see some Fusarium start to raise its ugly head, so this means the balance between regulating growth and disease has to be thought about. Mind you we may not get much dew this week because of the strength of wind during the night…..
That said, it’s no good sitting there and banging on 400ml of TE because it’s August when you take a look at the anticipated Growth Potential stats above and realise that growth on greens / fine turf is going to take a significant dip this week anyway. We should also consider that with some diseases (and I believe Fusarium / Microdochium) is one of them, you can / do lower the disease intensity by physical removal of fungal mycelium on the leaf when you cut. So the rub is to find the balance, maybe lower the application rate of PGR or skip it completely for this application. My comments are specific to fine turf and with outfield I’d suggest there is a case for application though again we have to be mindful of the relationship between PGR’s and the severity of Red Thread in particular.
On other fronts I think the disease pressure from PPN’s, Fairy Rings and the like will be reducing with the drop in temperature, but I don’t think summer’s quite over yet, though it may seem that way for the time-being..
Ok that’s it for this week, I may skip a week next week as I’m on hols, depends on the fishing and the surf 🙂