Hi All

Whilst the news is full of a potential north-south split, trust the weather to bat on regardless and provide us with a week of east-west split instead, how refreshing……..Blackberry

“Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness” wrote  the English poet John Keats in his poem ‘To Autumn’ and we certainly have both, as I look at out the window at a dull and damp start here and walked in the Leicestershire and Rutland countryside at the weekend. The hedgerows were positively heaving with Elderberries, Blackberries and Sloe Berries and provided a nice snack stop whilst out and about 🙂


Photo courtesy of Crash.net

A really lovely weekend capped off with watching Valentino Rossi stuff all the young guns in MotoGP, at the tender age of 35, in front of his adoring crowds at Misano. (his home track) What a class act and an inspiration to many (including myself) that age is only a number !


Onto the weather and as the wind continues to blow from the north-east / east this week, it will push cloud cover in from The North Sea and gives us mizzly and dull starts to the day, with the cloud heavy enough for rain inland as well….It certainly won’t be a dry week for all, as rain fronts will nibble away at either end of the U.K and eastern coasts, but the further west you are, the brighter it will be, with some lovely autumn sunshine 🙂

General Weather Situation

So for Monday we have for many a dull start, with some rain overnight, here we only had 0.7 of a mm, but it’s enough to wet everything up. That rain will linger along eastern coasts, particularly north of The Humber, right up to the tip of Aberdeenshire. By late morning though the cloud will thin over Wales and the southern part of the U.K and Ireland to allow the sun to break through. So a bright, warm end to the day for those areas, but that rain over the north-eastern coasts may linger all day.

For Tuesday we have a very similar picture with cloud again building overnight to give us a dull start to the day in the same areas as Monday. There’s a risk of rain over The Highlands of Scotland and eastern coasts, but again further south and west including Ireland, it looks to be another nice day after a dull start. Later on in the afternoon, there’s a risk of rain pushing in off The Channel into the south-east of England and moving north and west across The Home Counties.  Under the cloud in the north, temperatures will be mid to high teens but breaking 20°C in the sunshine, maybe higher in the west. Winds will be moderate and fluctuating between the east and north-east.

MBlue170914This image from Meteoblue neatly sums up the east-west  split in terms of cloud cover and hence temperature. Wednesday promises to be a pretty much dry day for all, with the sun perhaps breaking through a little earlier to warm things up. There may again be just enough cloud to give some rain, drizzle along eastern coasts, but elsewhere a cracking autumn day, if and when the cloud cover lifts. With the ever-present cloud cover, night temperatures will be mild and that may be an issue for us this week.

Thursday pretty much sees a repeat of earlier in the week, dull and grey to start with and cloud gradually breaking through, however through the afternoon, that Bay of Biscay low pressure throws some rain fronts up towards the south coast, so the south and south-west may see some rain in the afternoon. Elsewhere a nice day, temperatures similar to earlier in the week, mid to high teens under the cloud and twenty degrees plus in the sunshine 🙂

Closing out the week, we have a very similar picture again, there’s some uncertainty if rain from that low will influence the south and south-west of England, it all depends on pressure, at this stage it says it’ll be pretty clear, so a nice dry, sunny end to the week. Further north and over Scotland, it’ll be the east coast, but also the central Highlands that remain dull and cool as that cloud cover threatens to thicken over the latter.

The weekend follows a similar pattern, with dry, sunny weather for most areas, especially the south and west, east coasts will have more cloud cover, but this will burn off in the south and mid-part of the country. Further north that cloud cover stays thick and entrenched, so a dull, cool and disappointing weather weekend for Scotland. Winds remain easterly and moderate in nature.

Weather Outlook

This time last week it looked like low pressure would eventually win the day and push the September high out of the way, but as with all things weather related, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Despite the low sitting down in the Bay of Biscay having 3 attempts to shift the high out of the way it won’t be successful because there’s an equally strong high over northern continental Europe and Russia and this is rebutting every attempt to shift it. So for next week we look set to remain settled, warm and dry, perhaps a little cooler than this week though.

Agronomic Notes

Last week we had a typical September week for many, dry, warm days with nice sunshine and clear, cool nights, however the week before was different and we had humid nights with cloud cover. Since we have an east-west split this week in terms of temperatures and cloud cover, we’ll see both types of weather in different parts of the country. These two weather scenarios will also provide very different conditions on the turfgrass leaf. On this subject, I got some great data from Sean’s weather station at The Oxfordshire to have a look at the two scenarios because undoubtedly there remains a huge number of disease issues out there, judging by my calls, texts and Inbox 🙁

Clear sunny days, cool nights


So this is the scenario most likely for the south and west of the U.K and Ireland this week.

If you follow the humidity (blue trace) on the graph, you can see there is high humidity from around 9 p.m. at night through till about 8 a.m. the following morning, so there’s a good chance the grass plant leaf is sitting wet for around 11 hours.

Dull days, sun breaks through in the afternoon, cloud cover at night


Here you can see a different scenario as the temperature only climbs slowly through the day because there’s cloud cover and although it reaches the same maximum temperature as the previous day when the sun breaks through in the afternoon, it does so for less time, so the result is very different. If you look at the humidity trace, it’s much flatter which means the atmosphere is saturated with moisture for longer. In this scenario, the grass plant leaf is likely to be wet / damp for pretty much 20 hours of the day.

Hopefully the 2 scenarios above show you why disease pressure can vary so much during September, these are 2 successive days, but you can see the pressure from disease is likely to be much worse on the cloudy, dull day, though having a wet leaf for 11 hours is hardly ideal.

Current Disease Pressure

If you’re in an area where you have the cloudy, dull conditions forecast, then I expect quite high disease pressure from Microdochium this week for the reasons I have explained above, however if you’re in the sunnier south and west, it should be less so.

Plenty of diseases doing the rounds at present though, with Anthracnose and Ectoparasitic nematodes continuing to cause issues. It’s important to remember that these don’t have to occur seperately and sometimes what looks like Anthracnose is actually Ectoparasitic nematode damage and vice-versa. Indeed ‘complexes’ of diseases are pretty common nowadays, that is two diseases affecting the same plant and the give-away is when you’ve ticked all the fungal boxes, but the grass plant continues to show symptoms or is slower to recover than usual.One of the give-aways of Ectoparasitic nematode activity is white and green banding on the leaf of the grass plant, so take a close look in the affected areas to see if this is present.



It’s clear that disease pressure has been high this year from Anthracnose because I managed to find some affected plants by the side (not on) a path the other day, no stresses from cultural work, cutting or anything, but the plant was still showing the symptoms at the base of the crown.



Another disease I noted at the weekend was rust, a tell-tale sign of a dry month, so remember to keep your rootzone at the correct moisture status. This one will be doing the rounds on uncut rough, sports pitches and the like and always tends to occur when the plant is dry and stressed at the tale end of the summer. It’s easy to spot (look at the top of your shoes, they’ll go yellow as you walk through the affected areas)

PGR’s definitely encourage Rust because one of the best ways of removing it is by cutting, normally after applying a light liquid feed, but if the plant is regulated, this doesn’t occur. The same is true of Red Thread and with a bit of moisture in the air this week in places, it’ll be another pathogen doing the rounds.

Ok got to dash, a lot more to say, but no time to say it 🙁

All the best

Mark Hunt