Hi All,

A cool and unsettled weekend for many with some pretty gusty winds, but we have a nice bit of warmth on the way later this week, though indications are that it won’t hang around too long unfortunately, but at least it’ll be dry and warm during this period 🙂

General Weather Situation

Monday is kicking off for many dull and largely dry, save for a band of rain affecting North West Scotland. This rain band will sink south and be joined by another pushing down from the north-west of England to bring showers / heavier spells of rain for many later in the morning / afternoon. These showers / rain will track south-east into The Midlands and across to the east coast through the afternoon. Ireland will mirror the U.K with heavy showers / bands of rain pushing into the north west and then tracking south-east towards Munster across the country. It looks like the area south and west of a line from North Wales to London may stay dry, but there’s always a risk of some rain in the south-west and south-east of England. Temperatures will be similar to the weekend, so low teens, but the wind will be lighter and from the north-west, though still blustery in the rain.

For Tuesday, we have a drier start for many, but again there’s a risk of some light rain affecting the north-west of England. During the late morning those showers will consolidate and again push inland down from the north Welsh coast tracking south-east across The Midlands and south of the U.K. This time it looks like Ireland and Scotland / north of England should have a much better day, dry for the most part, with maybe a chance of light rain affecting the coast of Connacht. For most temperatures will be similar to Monday, low teens and the wind will remain from the north-west.

Wednesday looks a much better day for all of us save for a weak rain front that will skirt Connacht and then push up to Donegal and later into the north-west of Scotland. Aside from that we look to be dry, warmer and with hazy sunshine pushing temperatures into their mid-teens. This is a result of high pressure pushing in and beginning to influence our weather for the 2nd part of the week.  That northern rain will continue to track eastwards through the day affecting central and eastern Scotland later in the day. Winds will be northerly, but light.

Thursday looks to be a bit of a north-south divide, except the dividing line will be probably be Nottingham /  Carlow. North of this, a rain front will push into Donegal and track south across Ireland, possibly reaching down into southern Leinster. For the U.K, this same rain front will affect Scotland early doors and then it’ll move southwards, though there’s a suggestion that it may be more confined to the east coast during the day, rather than the west. Further south it’ll be a lovely day, hazy sunshine with temperatures climbing into the high teens with light winds, predominantly from the north. It’ll be a much milder night on Thursday compared to earlier in the week, with temperatures unlikely to dip below double figures.

Closing off the week we have a lovely day on the cards with only the far north-west of Scotland looking to hold onto some rain. For the rest of the U.K and Ireland it’ll be warm, dry and potentially those tempertures could rise to 20°C during the day. Winds will again be light and kind of a mixed bag really, initially northerly, but then swinging round to the west.

I’d love to say the outlook for the weekend looks fine and dandy, but it doesn’t. That said, Saturday may just hold onto that dry weather for just a little while longer in The Midlands and south of England compared to the west and north which will come under the influence of a northern low. (again). So it’s looking unsettled for Ireland and Scotland with rain soon into the western coasts of both, before tracking eastwards. Further south it will feel cooler, with noticeable more cloud cover and the wind swinging round to the west. Later on Saturday evening and overnight into Sunday, that rain is across Ireland and most of the U.K with some potentially heavy bursts amongst it. So Sunday looks back to an unsettled weather picture, with cooler temperatures, a north-west wind and widespread rain.

 Weather Outlook

You’ll note from the Unisys weather image above that the low pressure system that swings in over Saturday looks to stay in situ for the best part of next week. Ok things can change for sure because only 3 days ago it looked like high pressure was in charge next week, but I think on balance it looks like next week will be cool, unsettled with potentially some heavy rain around. You’ll note that rather than the low coming in from the west and then moving across into Europe, it actually comes down from the north and then stays put. This is precisely what we’ve seen before when we have a low jet stream forming into troughs and this feature typically characterised the summers (if you can call them that) of 2008 and 2012, to name but two.See image below for next Monday’s projection and that jet stream trough….

Jet stream trough190514

Image courtesy of NetWeather

Not wishing to be the harbinger of doom for summer 2014, but unless we see a hike up in the jet stream, it ain’t looking great 🙁

Agronomic Notes

Anticipated Growth Flush

Well firstly it looks like we have a flush of growth coming later in the week and this will probably include greens as well as outfield (greens have been noticeably slow to react this year, particularly those with high levels of perennial Poa), it doesn’t look like lasting long, (Maybe 3 days or so depending on where you are, see image below…)


Spray Window

So if you want to take advantage of this to get good uptake into the grass plant, then look to apply on the upward slope, say Wednesday onwards. When I say gain uptake, that could be anything from a targeted foliar application, a PGR to lock down areas ahead like outfield areas, tees, etc ahead of the flush or a selective herbicide application where you have some weeds to target and need some dry conditions and good uptake of the applied A.I. With the weather pattern as it is this may be the only spray window for the next 7-10 days if you’re looking to get foliar uptake, rather than a root / soil treatment.

Lads and lasses in the north and west will have a much shorter opportunity of course because the low is going to bring rain to those areas first, so you’ll have to pick your days and of course the temperature / growth spike won’t be as large 🙁

TPC Sawgrass – Some thoughts…

I’ve been following the events related to the above since it became news that there was a problem with the putting surfaces. You have to say it’s rare nowadays for this to happen, especially in the U.S, you also have to remember that they’re coming off the back of one of their most severest winters on record and that undoubtedly has played a part. You can read a balanced take on the situation here

Of course the associated media and commentators were quick to point the finger at the ‘greenkeepers’ for ‘mis-application of a product’, in this case, a growth regulator. Two things strike me here, the first is that according to Bert McCarty, Turfgrass Professor from Clemson State University, “….all products were applied according to manufacturers recommendations”, so that potentially means whatever occurred was a combination of severe weather and possibly incorrect timing of a PGR for the weather conditions. The second is I note that a ‘well respected source’ is quoted as saying “… regular repeated aerification that should be performed at the layout is not done so as to maximize play and revenue”
Bert McCarty added…
“The Stadium greens have excessive organic matter accumulation. This accumulation decreases air porosity and increases water held in the soil. This factor coupled with high levels of traffic increases compaction and wear, especially in limited pin-placement locations,” McCarty wrote. “The bermudagrass had insufficient root structure. This is from excessive thatch, high traffic levels and compaction.”

Sound familar anyone ?

Now it’s very easy to be wise after the event and I’m not including this in my blog for speculations sake either, we all know these things happen or at least have the potential to do so, but I’d emphasise two key points ;

1. We have to be as well informed as we can be weather-wise before we go out and apply products, not just the short-term forecast, but the type of season that#’s hsaking out. Just because a product is used at the label rate, doesn’t mean it is a correct application, if the health of the grass / weather conditions suggest otherwise.

2. We have to continually make the case with our heirachy about the need for aeration, even though it ultimately means coming up against the perennial balancing act between revenue, play and the quality of the putting / playing surfaces. The problem is the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality of a lot of the people we have to communicate with and personally I find it difficult to convince someone of the need to aerate when the surface ‘look good’, even though I can see issues stacking up for the future. It’s all about good communication and I take my hat off to you guys that have managed to achieve it with your clubs.

We all must remember and it’s worth reminding them, that it takes a long time to build up a reputation (for good surfaces for example) and a very short time to lose it…Players will only remember their last put or their last outing, that’s a given…

All the best…

Mark Hunt