December 8th

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Hi All,

As I type this blog, we are less than 2 weeks away from the shortest day and for the last week it has felt like winter has arrived in earnest. The first snowfalls over Scotland, the north of England and Ireland have taken place and on Friday night we had our first decent frost for a long while. Deep enough to get into the ground and stay slippy-slidey in the shade all day, as I found out to my cost whilst mountain-biking, but wasn’t it a beautiful start to the weekend.

frost61214

The wind will be the feature of this week, as an Atlantic low spins some cold temperatures, heavy rain for the north / north-west and strong winds to boot. In between though it’ll be mild and sunny for some.

Long-term forecasting is for La La Land….

Lalaland

Followers of this post will know how dismissive I am of long-range weather forecasting and it was with such an attitude that I greeted an email that dropped into my inbox in mid-November. A colleague of mine was set to travel abroad today and one of their family members subscribed to a weather forecasting service that predicted back in mid-November – “Heavy Snow and blizzards for the 5th-22nd December with severe travel disruption and closures of Heathrow and Gatwick”, So here we are on the 8th of December, I can still see my lawn, my baby Hedgehog is still feeding, trying desperately to pack on the pounds ahead of winter (His Mum and Dad went into hibernation last week, they’re clever !) and the only snow I’ve seen is the fake stuff wafting down Market Harborough High Street during Late Night Shopping. Ho Hum make of that what you will.

What I will say though is that the chance of winter really getting a grip is igfs_500p_10d_eurncreasing as I look at the weather charts. On the right is the Unisys projection for the 18th December and you can see purple that indicates very cold air. Even though it’s not coming south yet, it is sat above us and that means an increasing chance as we go through December of a colder, northerly air stream and snow showers at times in my mind, particularly on the run up to Christmas. It all depends on the jet stream, if this drops then it’ll allow that cold air down and winter will really come into play. Paddy Power may yet take a pounding on a White Christmas 🙂

General Weather Situation

For Monday we have a mixed picture with rain lingering over the far south east of England and Scotland and the north west of England. Elsewhere the skies are clear and it’ll be bright, clear and sunny winter’s day, lovely. Temperatures will sit in the mid-single figures for most, maybe a tad warmer on west coasts and the wind will blow chilly from the north-west. A good drying day, but with the chance of frost if the sky clears on Monday night. There’s a risk of some showers inland pretty much all week, but the bulk will be west and north-orientated.

Moving onto Tuesday, that Atlantic low begins to spin in rain to the north and west of the U.K and Ireland, so by mid-morning, we’ll see showers over Ireland and heavier rain pushing into the north-west of Scotland with flooding a potential issue in the latter. By lunchtime that rain is pushing south into the north-west of England and Wales, potentially heavy in nature. The wind will swing round to the west on Tuesday and that’ll push temperatures noticeably up on Monday, so feeling much milder, up to double figures for most places. So away from the north-west of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, it’ll be a drier, mild and pleasant day with some hazy sunshine and light winds until the afternoon when it starts getting breezy. This breeze will increase the risk of showers moving inland during the second half of the day.

By mid-week we have densely packed isobars, so very windy and again very wet for Scotland, Ireland, particularly the north counties and the north-west of England. The wind will edge round to the north-west again so in these areas it’ll feel cooler. Further south away from these areas the temperatures will hold again so another mild, largely dry day, but a risk of showers everywhere, particularly along western coasts and Wales. With those strong winds, it’ll be another good drying day away from the rain.

Coming into Thursday we still have those tightly-packed isobars pushing strong winds in from the north-west. It also means more rain for Scotland, Ireland and the north-west coast of England. During the day this rain will push south and affect Wales and the south-west of England. Some of these showers will move inland later in the day, so a wet end to Thursday for The Midlands and the south of England, but don’t moan as you’ve got off lightly this week. Temperatures will drop back to mid-single figures

Closing out the week, we maintain that unsettled feel to the weather, with rain moving out of south-east England, but replaced in the north-west and over Scotland with more showers. This rain will push south over Ireland and western coasts, into Wales by lunchtime and here it may be pretty heavy in nature, pushing down into the south west of England by nightfall. Between and away from the rain, it’ll be bright with lovely winter sunshine, but those winds will remain strong, a real feature of this week and if skies clear, we may return to frost over much of the U.K and Ireland.

So everyone’s running around doing Christmas shopping at the weekend, how we all dance to the marketing tune every year :(, but what will the weather be like ? Bloody cold is the simple answer.

As the winds die down in strength at the end of the week, they’ll swing round to the north and that means most places will start off with a cracking frost on Saturday morning. Much of the country looks to be dry, bright and sunny, though there may be some rain lingering long western coasts. All in all a nice winter’s day for many. Sunday looks to follow a similar pattern, maybe with more cloud cover, so duller, but remaining cold after another sharp frost.

Weather Outlook

Now this is getting interesting meteorologically 🙂

Notice on the Unisys output that Paul has produced at the top of the blog, look at that purple patch of cold air above the U.K, notice that as the week progresses it doesn’t actually move. In fact over the 10 day period, once it arrives in mid-week, it stays pretty much located over Iceland and that’s the weather feature we need to keep an eye on. If the jet stream drops it’ll be proper winter, if it gets pushed away we’ll be back to mild, wet and westerly for Christmas week.

So next week look likes starting off similar to this week with unsettled conditions and a cold north-westerly wind. So rain in the north and west, interspersed by periods of bright sunshine and a strong to moderate wind. That’s the way is stays really, wet, windy and unsettled and remaining cool. Towards the end of next week we look to have some pretty heavy rain pushing down and that may well affect much of the west and south of the U.K. The cloud cover will see less risk of frost next week, but on the flipside it’ll be a wetter one for sure.

Agronomic Notes

Pre-Christmas Tonic Application…

On the run up to Christmas and thoughts are turning to putting on a nice conditioning spray to keep the plant ticking, looking healthy and up to the rigours of the Christmas week. Some of you may even be thinking of adding a fungicide to this mix if you have some disease scars from earlier in the autumn, but by and large I feel if you’re clean now, you’re likely to remain clean until temperatures rise in earnest in the spring time. So how are we looking to tick this box ?

Well this week is out for Ireland, Scotland, most of Wales and the north-west of England, too wet and too windy for sure. Further south you have a two-day window on Monday and Tuesday, not completely clear of rain everywhere, but mild and with lighter winds for the first part of the week and personally I’d take it because we look unsettled for the foreseeable thereafter. Further north and west, you may just get a window on Friday, but that all depends on how much rain you receive prior to it. I’ll do the same next Monday to see how we’re tickinGP081214g.

The chart above of growth potential for this coming week shows that you should get some uptake on Tuesday and Wednesday, but little after that….

Moss..

As commented upon last week, a lot of moss about because of the wetter conditions and lower light levels of winter. Now is a great time to hit areas with a granular Mosskiller (easier to apply in the weather we have) and just check that moss growth on tees, approaches and the like (particularly Ladies and Medal tees), tipping the balance back in favour of grass growth.

PPN’s, Chafers, Leatherjackets, Bibionids…

The milder winter of 2013 and the warm, wet year of 2014 has played right into the hands of the above. Even this late in the year we are still seeing PPN (Plant-Parasitic Nematode) activity on some areas, though I’d expect this to drop back as we receive more frosts. Elsewhere Chafer grubs and the associated picking from Crows, Rooks and foraging Badgers continue to be a real pain. I’ve seen the latter even where an insecticide has been sprayed prior to the winter. Not a lot you can do about this now really, but if we continue to experience mild weather it’ll be a sign of things to come I’m afraid.

Ok that’s all for now, off on my travels again.

Wrap up well.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “December 8th

  1. Andrew Kerr

    Hi Mark.
    Hope you are well.
    You have talked about moss but
    Do you have any info on silver moss and the best way to control it?

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Hi Andrew,

      Echoing my answer to the comment below, sorry for the delay in responding.

      For Silver Moss I’ve seen very good results with Mogaton provided you apply at the correct time and in the correct manner. I’m personally not a fan of Carfentrazone (Jewell) because I’ve seen too many situations where it’s either a) Done nothing b) Produced a lot of phytotoxicity, (scorch) particularly on Bentgrass or c) the Silver Moss has returned down the line.

      PM me on mark.hunt@headlandamenity.com if you would like some more info.

      Mark

      Reply
  2. Cary Rawlings

    Hi Mark
    Hope all is well, really enjoying your updates.
    Your comment on applying fungicide with a tonic, I have noticed this morning even after a slight frost followed by a short sharp shower that a few fuzz scars are showing signs of mycelia activity and was going to apply a contact with some Iron tomorrow morning.
    Do I leave the contact out and save a few nuggets or edge on the side off caution and stick the contact in with the Iron.
    Thanks in advance
    Cary
    Padbrook Park GC
    Cullompton
    Devon
    Junc 28 M5 if you are ever passing

    Reply
    1. mark.hunt Post author

      Hi Cary,

      Firstly I’m sorry for the delay, usually I reply immediately to any comments on my blog, but I’ve been away in Denamrk since Monday and didn’t even boot up the wireless on my laptop to check, so sorry about that. I realise you’ve probably done it now and personally I’d probably have applied both because the iron itself is the cheapest part of the mix. What I would also have suggested is that you leave an area unsprayed (spraying over an A4 plastic sheet) when you’re doing the main application, typically on the edge of a green and simply either just apply iron to this area or leave it completely unsprayed. The objective is to see what would have happened if a) You hadn’t have sprayed the fungicide at all or b) You just sprayed iron. This time of year I get a lot of similar questions like this Cary and a number of greenkeepers I know have tried test plots with no fungicide just to see how things would have developed without a spray, so far I’ve not seen any horror stories. My personal belief is that if you can get this far into the year with a reasonably clean sward then the next time that disease pressure is likely to become an issue is the spring when temperatures rise quickly, so non-fungicidal tonics are a good choice pre-Christmas and often do the job without need for a fungicidal addition. Always a tricky balance though. The thrust of my R&D work is in this area, non-pesticidal suppression of disease and it’s the part I enjoy the most.

      Mark

      Reply

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