August 17th

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Hi All,

After a pretty wet end to last week, we’ve had a quiet weekend and as predicted equally quiet start to this week. Last Thursday’s rain arrived in the form of thunderstorms in the south east and a band of heavy rain that pushed up country. I watched it on the radar through Thursday evening because I’m sad like that 🙂 You can see from the image below that we actually dodged a bullet because there was some torrential downpours that just missed the east coast of England. Nevertheless I understand the south coast coped it badly as predicted in last week’s blog.

rainfall130815

Was out walking in the beautiful Welland Valley yesterday and came across this whopping Puffball, itpuffball‘s the biggest I’ve seen and after managing to stop the lads from using it as a football I took this quick pic. I apologise for the pasty looking leg and 1930’s sock style but trendiness and me don’t share the same pie chart 🙂

It reminded me how the arrival of rain after the recent dry spell has stimulated fungal activity and no doubt a lot of you are seeing the effects of this on your facilities in one form or another.

So looking ahead are we back to dry weather and will this unsettled theme continue ?

General Weather Situation

This week we have a quiet start before an Atlantic low pushes in to give the north and west rainfall, however the east doesn’t escape the rain either. As usual it may be the centre of the country that stays the driest.

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We start the week with a quiet, settled and largely dry picture over the U.K and Ireland. The blot on the landscape and there’s always one isn’t there, is an area of rain currently affecting South Munster and Leinster. This will slowly move north through the morning but stop in a line across from Galway Bay and slowly clear from the south of Ireland through the afternoon. Elsewhere we have a dry picture with light winds and hazy sunshine, a lovely start to the week really. Temperatures should be high teens to low twenties and there should be some nice spells of sunshine this morning before cloud cover moves across from the west. There is another potential rain area kicking about though and this is a strange one as it’s projected to move into the east coast of England overnight into Tuesday.

So for Tuesday we have that area of rainfall projected to affect Norfolk and Suffolk from the early hours so a soggy start to the day in this area. This rain front will consolidate and affect more northerly and southerly locations on the east coast and at the same time move inland so by late afternoon you’ll see rain from Kent right up to Aberdeenshire, but confined to the east coast and eastern side of the country. How far inland it spreads is of course a bit of a lottery because this is continental rainfall, but at present it looks like it may just reach up to a line drawn up from London, the east side of Birmingham and Leeds. West of this rain we have another calm, dry and settled day with more in the way of sunshine for Ireland, especially in the afternoon / evening. Winds will be a little stronger and from the north west so this will hold temperatures down to the high teens in most places, maybe a little higher in the sun and out of the wind.

By Wednesday we start to see the first effect of that Atlantic low pushing rain into south west Munster. Across to the east of the U.K and that rain is still affecting the eastern coastline and the further north you go, the further inland it has moved so the central and eastern side of Scotland looks to be wet overnight whereas the west will miss this particularly chunk of rain. Between the two we are dry for the morning, but by lunchtime that rain front although not progressing much further across Ireland than between Galway and Wexford is now into the south west of England. By late morning that eastern rainfall has finally cleared but the western rain is now into Wales and moving north east.  East of this rain we will have a nice, sunny day and with a change of wind to the south west, it’ll feel warmer as well with temperatures in the twenties for The Midlands and higher in the south potentially. For Ireland, Wales and the west / north, it’ll be more like high teens in a light to moderate south westerly wind. By close of play Wednesday that rain has pushed into most western locations along the U.K coastline and across Ireland as well though it doesn’t progress much inland of the Severn Estuary.

Overnight into Thursday and that band of rain affecting the west coast gets new impetus and begins to track inland across the U.K, so by the early hours it’s into central U.K and by the rush hour all but the east coast. Through the morning and afternoon this rain slowly tracks eastwards so a potentially wet day for Thursday for all areas even if amounts won’t necessarily be that heavy. Wet means dull, so temperatures will be down in the areas that saw the sun on Wednesday so high teens the order of the day and again south westerly winds. So for all parts of Ireland and the U.K except the far eastern coasts I think Thursday will be wet and dull 🙁

Closing out the week that band of rain clears leaving behind a very unsettled, showery theme in its place early doors. As we reach Friday morning rush hour the showers will decrease in intensity and become confined to western coasts, the south west, west Wales and Ireland. Through the morning these will die out leaving a rain band affecting the north east coast as the only significant rainfall on the chart. So south and east of this rain Friday looks drier than Thursday and a little milder with temperatures touching the high teens / low twenties.

Onto the weekend and how are we looking ?

Not bad for Saturday although Ireland looks to be in line for sunshine and showers type day, particularly p.m. For the U.K it looks predominantly dry at first but there’s a twist because we have another Bay of Biscay low forming and if you remember last time this happened a few weeks back, it pushed rain up from the continent in bands. So for the latter part of Saturday it looks cloudier with a high risk of rainfall for the south east of England into Saturday night / Sunday morning. Sunday looks potentially wet and though there’s some disagreement where the bulk of this rainfall will fall I think we all stand a chance of seeing some rain on Sunday, maybe more so in the south west and west, but because it’s coming up from the continent it’ll move across the south coast first.

Weather Outlook

So with an unsettled close to the weekend, how is next week looking ? Well not too bad but for me there’s a question mark on how and where this southerly low will move and with it rainfall. Currently the projections are showing the rain should stay south of the U.K and Ireland in the main with high pressure keeping the low away from us after Sunday / Monday’s potential rainfall. So with maybe some rain at the start of the week I think from Tuesday we will go drier across all parts with light winds and pleasant temperatures. That should be the order of things to later in the week when I think another continental low will push in to bring further rainfall for the south and east in particular later in the week.

Agronomic Notes

Microdochium

With heavy rainfall falling on warm, dry ground (for the central and southern U.K) it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a sharp increase in disease activity from Friday morning with numerous reports of Microdochium coming in. With Friday being a dull, wet and overcast day with humidity levels in the high 80%, it was ideal for the development of disease and particularly Microdochium. Thankfully the drier weather over the weekend should have lowered its activity level but I expect it to be a bit of a continuing feature from now on as we go through the latter part of August with the potential for more rainfall on the horizon.

The question is whether you spray or not , though I expect this question will most likely have been answered already. Although I like to keep fungicide applications to a minimum it’s important to stop the Microdochium population establishing in August because if it does it has a nasty habit of sitting in the background through this month and increasing the disease pressure going into late September / October.

Growth Flush

One factor in your favour though that is also a consequence of the arrival of heavy rain is the amount of growth stimulated by this event. I’m sure we’d have had a significant amount of N in the rainfall (I did take a sample), particularly where you got thunder and lightning with it (south east mainly). So I anticipate a strong flush of growth over the weekend and most likely this morning you’re coming into work to see a pronounced growth hike on all areas courtesy of the N input along with some disease activity. It’s not just the nitrogen in the rain that is stimulating growth, we also have higher soil moisture levels making soil nutrient more available and a likely increase in microbial conversion of organic N into mineral N. If this is the case I’m sure your clip rate will be growing the disease out (or disease scarring) as quickly as it came in so hopefully any disruption to the surface is temporary. and you may not have had to spray.

Etiolated Growth

As discussed last week the arrival of moisture, high humidity and rainfall has stimulated a good deal of this phenomenon but I hope some dry cuts and more settled weather will peg it back. No comments on anything slowing down its effect from you guys so we can only hope that the research in the U.S yields some answers because we’re struggling at present.

Dollar Spot

Normally we don’t see a lot of this pathogen in the U.K (and especially Ireland) with it more confined to the south west and south coast of England in my experience. That said it does pop up particularly on lighter soil type sites, on pitches and golf course tees / approaches and fairways. Normally the pattern is we see a small amount of activity in late June / early July, but this then declines during the summer heat until the weather breaks and heavy morning dew and higher humidity levels kick in. We often then see a resurgence in its activity with widespread fungal mycelium.

This is particularly the case on the continent where I think the more stable weather patterns tend to promote the activity of this pathogen. So with rain over the last 3 days across Germany, Austria and Switzerland accompanied by high humidity and lower night temperatures and this following some record dry spells / high temperatures I think you’ll see an increase in Dollar Spot activity.

One of the best ways of combating this pathogen on outfield areas is to literally grow it out because in my experience its effect is primarily foliar in nature. So you want an un-regulated grass plant and very good N levels to literally stimulate growth and physically remove the mycelium by mowing. The image below left (cheers Chris) shows a fairway affected by Dollar Spot in early September 2014 and the same fairway 2 weeks later after receiving a good hit of granular N and no fungicide of course because of cost and in some countries regulations forbidding the application of fungicides to outfield areas.

DollarSpot15

Please keep me posted if you’ve noted Dollar Spot activity on your site by dropping an email to me at mark.hunt@headlandamenity.com

Anthracnose

Quiet (ish) still on this front though I’m getting more and more reports of activity, principally Basal Rot and with the rainfall of late last week I suggest you continue to keep your eyes peeled. That said all the advice from a few weeks back still hold true – Keep nutrition ‘little, but often’, and ensure good surface moisture movement by light aeration and topdressing. One another feature to keep an eye on is Anthracnose occurring ‘off green’ and then being walked onto the green by foot traffic.

Anthracnosewearpath

This was quite a common phenomenon last year and if you do encounter it I suggest aerating the affected area, overseeding with a non-affected species like Ryegrass / Fescue and topdressing to lower the risk in future.

GDD Comparison

A bit late this month owing to various summer holiday’s but we should be back on track at the end of this month 🙂

DailyGDDJuly2015image

The graph above depicting the daily GDD for July highlights the heat at the beginning of the month and the variable nature of the daily temperature thereafter. It also shows the temperature drop-off at the end of July which co-incided with heavy rain.

GDDmonthlycomparisonandcumulativeJantoDec2010to2015image

Year to date you can see that we are still lagging behind previous years in terms of the total GDD and that July 2015 was a lower GDD month than 2014. That’s why we haven’t got as high a risk of Anthracnose foliar blight and more of a risk of Basal Rot because high temperatures = increased plant stress = Anthracnose Foliar Blight.

Ok that’s all for now, but don’t forget to drop me a comment or email if you’re seeing Dollar Spot activity as it’s a pathogen I’m interested in.

All the best.

 

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

On some sites and particularly on the continent where they have endured a prolonged heatwave, the arrival of moisture is sure to kick off

 

 

 

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