Hi All,


Image courtesy of The Telegraph

With another 17mm in the rain gauge overnight and the headlines full of warnings that this may be our wettest year and our wettest winter to come, it’s difficult sometimes to be positive ! This sense of impending doom is further compounded for me with the end of the fly fishing season at Thornton Reservoir on Saturday. As I walked around the reservoir, even though it was mild, everything had a feel about it that winter is just around the corner.

A number of newspapers featured articles over the weekend (Thanks Matthew for bringing it to my attention) detailing various Met Office boffins who are commenting that the pattern and orientation of the jet stream is all set to bring us Atlantic low after Atlantic low, and that means rain and plenty of it ! Certainly with the very wet start to 2014 and what looks like a very wet finish to date, we’re on record for a very wet year, maybe our wettest ?

As we sit just over a month away from the shortest day and so far we’ve only had 1 decent frost here, is winter’s cold a thing of the past ? Comparing how the jet stream was orientated last November with the current pattern shows a remarkable similarity, in that we have a split into 2 air currents, one south and one north.


To my amateur way of thinking, the fact that mild air is pushing up into Scandinavia and Russia means that there’s very little likelihood of very cold weather until this upper stream either stops or drops south. The bit where I differ from current thinking is that this pattern just means we’re likely to get wet weather all winter, more like we’ll head into a period of successive low’s and high’s, so wet and mild, then cooler and settled, wet and mild, then cooler and settled, you get the picture.

General Weather Situation

Coming back to this week, do we have a drier outlook after last week’s deluges ?  (For Ireland and the west particularly). Well it won’t be totally dry, but it will feature a lot less rain, even for the west of the U.K, though I’m afraid Ireland is still in line for a wettish one 🙁

Well Monday sees that wet, weekend rain in situ over the U.K, so likely the wettest day of the week for many as an easterly wind pushes the rain back over the U.K. It should have already cleared eastern coasts,The Midlands by mid-morning and by early afternoon most of the country should be dry, except the south-west corner. Ireland looks like picking up some rain over Dublin and east Leinster, but again it should clear during the morning leaving a dry day for most of Ireland. It’ll feel coolish because of that easterly wind, with temperatures just breaking double figures, possibly a little higher in the west if the sun makes an appearance.

Come Tuesday there’s still spit-spats of rain coming in off The North Sea and potentially just along the south coast, but for the whole of the U.K and Ireland a comparatively dry day (haven’t said that for awhile!) With the wind still orientated round to the east it’ll be pulling cloud off The North Sea, so plenty of Haar around keeping the day dull, but at least it’s dry. Across the west and over Ireland, there’s a higher chance of that Haar thinning to give some hazy sunshine and slightly milder tempertaures, 11-12°C, which for the third week of November is bunce.

Overnight into Wednesday, there’s an Atlantic rain front pushing into Kerry and this will track diagonally (\) across Ireland reaching Leinster by the late morning rush hour and the south-west of England at the same time. Through Wednesday, this rain pushes across Ireland, but dissipates as it does so. Across the U.K, it makes little progress and currently is set to fizzle out in the south-west, so another dry, dull day in store, but at least we get a chance to dry out. The wind will swing round to the south-east during Wednesday and this signals a change on the horizon.

By Thursday, that rain is still hanging over Ireland, so unsettled there. It’ll also have made landfall into north-west Scotland by Thursday morning. Elsewhere another dry day except for an increased risk of some rain pushing into the south coast of England and tracking slowly northwards into The Home Counties, thoguh it shouldn’t get much further than the M4 hopefully. Dull again, staying mild, with little difference between night and day temperatures as that cloud cover continues to dominate.

Closing out what will have been a pretty undramatic, dull November week, Friday sees a more unsettled outlook over the U.K, with rain pushing into the south-west and south coast and tracking northwards into Central England. This should clear during the afternoon. Ireland sees an equally unsettled day, but by late afternoon there’s a chunk of heavy rain pushing into Kerry and moving across the country to give a very wet end to the week there.

So how does the coming weekend look ?, hmmm mild and unsettled with plenty of rain around on Saturday, particularly for Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the south-west coast of England. This rain will push inland during Saturday, so central areas may pick some up later into the morning. Temperatures will be milder, up to 11-13°C, Sunday looks drier for everyone, staying mild, but dull over much of the U.K, though Ireland may see some longer spells of sunshine. (rejoice!)

Weather Outlook

Next week looks like starting pretty dry for most areas as a high pressure drifts in from the east and stabilises our weather, albeit momentarily. We have another deep Atlantic low pushing in from the west on Tuesday and as these two pressure systems meet, the air will be squashed between them, producing packed isobars. This means windy from the south, so pretty mild I think for the time of year. it also means potentially wet, especially across Ireland and west coasts. By mid-week, that high is set to weaken, drift eastwards and that’ll allow the low pressure to swing in, so wetter for everyone mid-week. There is a little ray of hope on the horizon in that a small high is set to develop below the U.K and Ireland and if it does occur, it may push that low over us, giving a drier end to next week.

Agronomic Notes


A quick thanks to the BIGGA South-East Regional Semniar organisers for hosting their event last week and particularly to the IOG Yorkshire Branch for making me feel so welcome after a long drive up from Essex last Wednesday. Cheers to Rod and Peter in particular.

Anthracnose Basal Rot

Awhile back I made a comment about the risk of this summer’s Anthracnose Foliar Blight becoming this autumn’s Basal Rot and it sounds like this has come to pass, at least along the west side of the country where they’ve received the lion’s share of the rainfall (Not that anywhere else is dry like !) I know from taking samples in the field that a lot of the Acervuli on the leaves of Anthracnose Foliar Blight-affected plants have already produced their spores and they have been distributed into the turf layer.


Since Anthracnose Foliar Blight and Basal Rot are in effect the same disease, but just having different environmental drivers, that of plant stress and elevated moisture levels at the plant base respectively, it is no surprise that following a high disease pressure period in late summer / early autumn, we now see a re-occurrence of the disease later on. The question is what do you do about it ?

A fungicide application made when Anthracnose Basal Rot becomes visible will control the mycelium and possibly the spore production of the disease, depending on what product is applied and where the disease is in the sporulation cycle. It will not make a yellow, diseased plant healthy. For this to occur we need a change in the weather patterns, for surfaces to dry out and for temperatures to drop which will reduce the activity of the disease.

So in reality I think you’re better off, raising the nutrition with a granular, winter analysis-type product and if you’re able to get machinery out and onto your greens, punching some light aeration through the surface fibre layer. It goes without saying that all of your summer and autumn aeration work and topdressing pays dividends when we got through such a wet period like this or it should do anyway.

Microdochium nivale pressure

MicrodochiumSurprisingly I think that the current period of wet, mild weather will not promote widespread disease activity in the field, except in cases where there was significant scarring earlier in the autumn which allowed a high disease population to establish. Last year we saw the same thing, i.e a mild and wet winter did not result in aggressive disease activity during November, December, January and February. I’d be interested to note if you see this or not, so don’t forget to post a comment.

Growing yourself out of a problem – what’s the chance in mid-November ?

Looking at the projected temperatures and assuming you’re an Anthracnose Basal Rot / Microdochium nivale-affected golf course in the west of England, Ireland or Wales, what’s the chances of maintaining growth with the current forecast ?


Well as you can see from the graphic above showing projected minimum and maximum air temperatures for the coming week, you can see that the Growth Potential (G.P) is looking good. This suggests that application of a granular or liquid fertiliser this week will produce a good response and although light levels in terms of dull, cloud cover and shorter days will limit efficacy somewhat, you should still be gaining a benefit in terms of clipping yield. I’d be looking to use a cool-temperature N source, so ammonium sulphate, potassium nitrate-based products will work well and if you’re applying a liquid, be sure to add iron as we know the suppression effect on Microdochium is significant, more about that at BTME2015 in my short 30 minute slot 🙂

Ok that’s all for this week, sorry for the late Blog but our server decided to throw it’s toys out of the pram mid-morning, hence the delay 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt