Monthly Archives: October 2015

October 26th


Hi All,

Late, late, late today, my apologies….

Looking at the upcoming weather prospects we are going to have a very interesting weewesteastsplit261015k metereologically with a west / east split courtesy of a very deep low pressure system sitting west of Ireland and a high pressure system sitting over the continent. The two weather systems will butt up against each other and funnel warm air up from the continent so for the 6th year out of the last 8, we will have a warm end to October and a warm start to November. For Ireland I’m afraid it means you’ll get the short end of the stick with a very wet week starting today. For the U.K it’ll see-saw between very mild and cooler wetter interludes. So let’s put some detail on it…

So for Monday we already start off wet over Ireland with some heavy rain over south east Leinster and south Munster for the rush hour. That rain will push up the east coast of Ireland through the day and by the late afternoon it’ll make landfall on the tip of south west England and West Wales. For the U.K we have a dull start to many areas with overnight mist slow to clear, but by the afternoon the sun will start to break through, more across the east initially to give a lovely spell of autumn sunshine to end the day. Winds will be south-easterly, moderate and in the sun I expect temperatures to rise to the mid-teens, all in all, very pleasant.

Moving onto Tuesday and you’d expect with a clear night for the U.K it would be cold like Saturday night where we had a widespread frost, but those southerly winds are kicking in so it’ll be mild with the temperature unlikely to drop below double figures. So Tuesday starts off mild and keeps heading that way but that rain over Ireland will now be into the south west of England, South Wales and up the western coast right up to Stranraer, but not much further north. For some it’ll be just light showers, but during the morning the rain in the south west will become localised and heavy. Ireland looks to have a drier day except for the east coast of Leinster where that overnight rain will linger over The Wicklow Mountains. East of this rain it’ll be another dry and settled day with light to moderate south easterly winds and hazy sunshine and temperatures pushing into the mid to high teens in the south east of England (closer to the high). During the afternoon that rain consolidates and forms a band stretching from the south coast of England just shy of The Isle of Wight right up through Avon, South Wales and across  Ireland up to Donegal. This band of rain will slowly track east as we go through late afternoon. By Tuesday evening it’ll be into the south east , clear of Ireland but now the band stretches from Kent up through The Midlands, north western England and into the south west of Scotland.

Overnight into Wednesday this rain band will move slowly but intensify, picking up the humidity in the south east airflow so some of that rain will be heavy. By dawn on Wednesday it is projected to sit in a diagonal line from the south east of England up the east coast to the south west of Scotland and some of that rain will be heavy. North, south and west of this line will be dry with hazy sunshine and a little cooler than the highs of Tuesday with low teens the order of the day. During the morning that rain band pushes north into northern England / southern Scotland by lunchtime and closes the day firmly rooted over the Scottish Highlands. Temperatures will be a little down on Tuesday with low double figures to mid-teens and the wind will be a little lighter and southerly in orientation.

Still reasonably mild going into Thursday with a high single-figure night, but again we have a rain feature for Ireland, this time pushing into Leinster / Munster overnight and quickly moving up country, clearing Kerry by the morning rush hour, but into Dublin by the same time. The end of this rain band will reach the south west of England and south west Wales at the same time and quickly push eastwards, widening as it does so, so by midday, most  of the U.K will have rain. This rain front is quick-moving so Ireland will be clear by the afternoon as will the west of the U.K, leaving behind sunshine and a clear evening. Temperatures will be a little higher on Thursday, low to mid-teens out of the rain. Predictably as skies clear they’ll soon drop to give a cool night going into Friday.

Closing out the week we have more rain on the horizon as that low pressure sitting out west pushes more rain in overnight into the east and south east of England. By dawn we have rain into south Munster, Leinster and Connacht. Across the Irish Sea we also see rain into West Wales, the south west and south coast of England. During the morning this rain will move quickly to cover most areas including northern England and Scotland so a wet end to the week in prospect. That rain is slow to clear and by the evening it’ll be sitting along the eastern side of England and over Scotland. In the meantime some more rain is heading Ireland’s way in time for the weekend (tá mé buartha 🙂 ) Feeling a little cooler in that rain so only just making double figures, but milder out of it. All in all a crap day.

OK onto the weekend and after correctly predicting last Saturday would be a “I need to bail my boat out day” when I was fly fishing, is a repeat on the cards ?

It’s likely with rain over Ireland early doors Saturday pushing into the western coastline of the U.K by dawn. This rain could be heavy over West Wales and The Lakes during the morning. By lunchtime that rain will have pushed eastwards but it’s not projected to make it all the way across England so the east and south east may escape it. It will however push into Scotland so a projected wet start to the weekend for you guys…For us in the East Midlands I think we could be ok with any rain earlier on Saturday. Good news for Ireland because after that rain clears in the early morning it’ll be a sunny Saturday 🙂  What you will notice on Saturday is how warm it is with that southerly wind really ramping up the temperatures.

Sunday looks a better day as the high will keep any more rain from spoiling the party, so if you’re planning a good walking day, Sunday is likely to be it with a dry sunny day and temperatures up into the mid-teens for many. Not bad for the first day of November. (That said I’d suggest getting out of bed earlier in Ireland though as more rain is due on Sunday night)


Image courtesy of Netweather extra

Weather Outlook

I know some of you will be wondering how come we’re getting such mild weather when all the predictions are for a low-lying jet stream and a hard winter ? Well the jet stream is lower-lying than normal, but the trough is not centred over us at present, it’s to the west of us and like many times in the past it’s the position of the peak and trough that dictates the weather we’ll get. I still feel we will have a harder winter, remember back in 2010, we went from 20°C plus at the beginning of November to -5°C by the middle on the same month, so the bottom line is this current weather means nothing.

For me I don’t think you can tell how things will shape up till at least mid-November, but with the El Nino event looking set to be the biggest ever, the odds are stacked in favour of a trough in the jet stream bringing cold weather to us at some point. When ? no one knows so you can confine the predictors of doom and gloom to the recycling bin for the next 2 weeks I’d say…

So next week looks pretty much a re-run of this week, but with one crucial difference and that is the line between the low and high pressure systems will tilt from vertical to acute, that means a shift from a southerly air stream to a south westerly.

So we will have a sunshine and showers-type week, next week with a mild airflow and the rain will again be westerly, but also northerly in orientation with the south and east missing most but not all of it. The winds will be moderate to strong and increasing in strength the more north and west you are. By the end of next week I think the winds will lighten and the high pressure will sit over the U.K, so a more cooler, settled end to next week, possibly with night frosts.

Agronomic Notes


Growth Spikes..

Last week I commented on the projected forecast producing a growth peak mid-week and sure enough it was bang on. Last Wednesday we had a mild day and an extremely mild night and as you can see from the attached picture above, we were sitting at 14.5°C late on Wednesday night and still plus 13°C early in the morning (thus proving that firstly it isn’t just you guys that get up early and work long days and secondly I don’t like putting my heating on :)) So as predicted we saw increased Microdochium nivale pressure last week and we’ll see the same this week because of that milder southerly airflow bringing mild temperatures and moisture.


Meteoturf shows the sharp upward progression in Growth Potential nicely this week and because it’s sustained over more than a day it will represent a significant growth spike on all areas but particularly outfield turf with it’s higher height of cut. So we’ll see good grass growth but it won’t just be grass that’s growing well, I expect fungi and algae to be pretty active as well, so keep an eye on disease activity.



Focussing on algae, the combination of moisture and temperature has seen a lot more activity this year than I can remember and with the growth balance tipping more away from grass due to shorter day length, I expect this to continue. Algae is a hard nut to crack because it hasn’t just been prevalent where turf cover has been lost or on shady sites, this year it’s been quite active right back from August and on healthy turf as well. For sure it does like and in fact need surface moisture so the first thing to look at if you’re dealing with an algae problem is surface organic matter levels or more specifically “Are you perching water in the surface ?”

Holding water in the surface isn’t just about surface organic matter, it is also affected by the properties of the rootzone below in terms of water infiltration and of course there’s the small matter of E.T. If you are managing an areas with poor air flow (like shaded sites) then we know that less water will be lost to the atmosphere because the E.T rate will be low, so more water stays in situ. This will undoubtedly tip the balance in favour of algae. (and moss for that matter)

We must also remember that now we’re into late October the sun is starting to sit very low in the sky (see pic below, today’s sun arc is shown in yellow, the middle of winter’s in blue) and in fact we’re only 8 weeks away from The Winter Solstice.


In low light conditions I think moss and algae are able to out-compete some grass species, especially those that tend to grow less well in low light – Bentgrass and Ryegrass to name but two.

Looking at the latest research in the States it appears there are some clear differences with respect to algae colonisation and nutrient type with ammonium sulphate and in some studies, potassium nitrate coming out well in terms of reducing algae compared to less benefit with warmer temperature N sources like urea.

When you think about it this isn’t surprising because both ammonium sulphate and potassium nitrate are immediately-available N sources so they’ll give a boost in grass growth quite quickly and this means they’ll tip the balance in favour of grass growth. (over algae)  There is also a suggestion that phosphites rather than phosphates can discourage algae colonisation but no explanation as to why…In the old days when Chlorothalonil was around as a single active, I think that was doing quite a job on algae, but now it’s gone as a straight (though it remains in a mixture) I think algae gets to show its true colours.

Bottom line for me is if you’re seeing algae on your turf, check your surface organic matter, rootzone moisture levels first before you reach for the bottle / bag and try (and it’s not an easy job I know) to improve air flow on the affected areas….

Ok that’s it for today, sorry for the tardiness..

All the best

Mark Hunt




October 19th


Hi All,

Out walking again at the weekend I reflected on the fact that the over thFieldfaree same walk a fortnight ago, the sky was full of House Martins, but they’ve now shipped out to warmer climes and their place is taken by hordes of Redwings and Fieldfares who consider our climate warmer than Finland or the rest of Scandinavia where they’ve come from. They are here to feast on our berry crop and judging by the hedgerows, they won’t be disappointed. I consider the arrival of these birds as the start of winter even though the weather isn’t wintry quite yet.


I hope we have a little time yet before it does arrive though as my resident Hedgepigs have produced another pair of Hoglets (That’s 4 in total this year) and it’ll now be a race against time to get these fat enough to survive winter hibernation. According to some of the tabloids headlines recently, we are due to be heading into wintry conditions at the end of October, so is this the usual media hype or is winter not around the corner just yet ?

General Weather Situation

For Monday we have a continuation of that northerly wind but that’s on the change through the latter part of the day as it’ll swing round to north westerly and then westerly by the end of tomorrow. A dry picture for most of the U.K and Ireland but that swing in wind direction will push some rain into western Scotland through the course of the morning and this will move both eastwards and south through The Borders and into Northern England through the course of the afternoon / evening. Elsewhere we have a dry picture and across Ireland, Wales and the south-west / west of England, you may see some nice breaks in the cloud cover and some sunshine. Further east and south these breaks will be limited. It’ll feel mild in the sun and lighter winds with temperatures pushing into the mid-teens where you see the sun and a little lower where you don’t….

Onto Tuesday and we have probably the best day of the week with that northern rain fizzling out through the morning and a swing round in the wind from northerly to westerly through the day. With some breaks in the cloud and a largely dry picture, temperatures will push up to mid-teens and perhaps even higher in the south west, so a lovely day to get things done. A pretty dry picture for everyone as well. By the end of the day though we have a front of rain pushing into north west Ireland and Scotland and this will be quite heavy in nature and it’ll also move quickly.

So by Wednesday morning’s rush hour this rain will push south across Ireland (though the south west may escape its effects completely) across Scotland and down into England reaching South Wales and The Midlands by the morning rush hour and soon pushing south to cover all of the U.K by late morning. The two areas that may escape it are the north east of Scotland and the south west of Ireland that could see a sunny and mild day. That said it’ll feel mild everywhere in that westerly airflow but may feel a little cooler as the winds will strengthen through Wednesday. As hinted above it’s a quick moving rain front and so by late afternoon the west and north of the U.K and Ireland will brighten up behind it to leave a nice end to the day and a mild night to boot.

For Thursday we have a slightly cooler day as that wind shifts round to the north west, but save for north west Scotland where we will see some rain pushed in from The Atlantic, elsewhere it’ll be dry and they’ll also be some hazy breaks in the sunshine. The wind will however be stronger than of late and that’ll take the edge off the temperature so low double figures for most, perhaps a tad higher in the sunshine which you’ll see more of from midday onwards.

Closing out what hasn’t been too bad a week really approaching the end of October we have a band of rain creeping into north west Ireland and Scotland through the early hours. Light at first this will consolidate to heavier rain as we progress through the morning. This band will stretch from the south west of Ireland north east across Scotland to Aberdeenshire and it’ll be slow-moving as well. South and east of this rain Friday will be a dull day with very little in the way of breaks in the cloud cover and as we progress through Friday evening, some of that rain will push into Wales, The Lakes and the north west of England. Winds will be much lighter and from the west to south west so again not overly cold with temperatures in the low double figures.

Moving onto the all-important weekend that band of rain sinks slowly south on Saturday through the north of England down into The Midlands by dawn, so potentially a soggy boat to bail out before fishing commences though there is some disagreement on the timing and movement of this rain front so we’ll see 🙁  As the rain has already cleared Ireland, Scotland and the north west, it’ll be brighter here and mild though the wind could be set to swing back to the north east depending on where you’re situated so that’ll take the edge off things. They’ll also be some more rain pushing into north west Scotland through Saturday but this looks to stay pretty localised. Sunday looks a better day in terms of dryness but it’ll be dull after some initial sunshine across the east and from the north of England up it’ll also be windy as low pressure tries to force that high away. This low pressure will bring rain into north west Ireland and Scotland later on Sunday.

Weather Outlook

So by the weekend we know we have low pressure trying to push in from the north, is it likely to succeed or will high pressure win the day next week ?

Well that northerly low is a pretty deep one so the odds are that it will swing in and push rain down into Ireland and Scotland on Sunday night and this will move southwards into the rest of the U.K on Monday accompanied by some pretty strong winds, especially over Scotland and the north of Ireland. This windy, unsettled weather will push southwards on a cool north westerly wind through Monday and Tuesday, but it looks like things will then settle down again by midweek as high pressure comes in to the picture. So a cooler, settled end to next week and a wet and windy start to it. The picture by the end of next week looks complicated with low pressure surrounding the high on all sides so I think this means that the high will not be in place for long before unsettled weather asserts itself again.

Agronomic Notes

Disease pressure – Month to date and compared to 2014

Well it is October and usually that means a month of high disease pressure from our old friend Microdochium nivale. Now I was thinking although there has been disease evident on fine turf this month I don’t think it’s as bad as last year for example. So I decided to do a comparison of Growth Potential vs. Relative Humidity (drivers for disease) for October 2014 vs. 2015 year-to-date and see if this showed the pattern of disease pressure. Below you can see the comparison y.t.d.


I’ve highlighted the peaks in Growth Potential and when they coincided with high Relative Humidity (in red boxes) because that’s when the plant and also disease is growing strongly and when the leaf is wet, in other words perfect disease weather. Now I accept this is only one location in Central England, but if anyone in Scotland or Ireland wants to send a Growth Potential Spreadsheet over for last year and this year I’d love to see how this compares.

You can see that my supposition was indeed correct, last year in the first 18 days of October we’d had three ‘Disease Peaks’ and this year we’ve only had one. So we are having an easier month disease pressure-wise.

The week ahead…..

Looking ahead though we’re likely to hit another peak this week because we have mild air temperatures, both day and night and rainfall forecast for many in the early part of the week / midweek depending on your location. Below you can see the mild nights , rainfall and peak in Growth Potential is pretty much universal across the U.K and Ireland, though the south east of England has less of a dramatic peak because they’re the furthest from the mild air.

Meteoturf191015ScIre Meteoturf191015WalesEng

So that means if you’re running close to the end of your last fungicide application this week it will pay to apply before the peak this week tips the balance towards renewed disease activity.  Bear in mind also that we have mild weather, stronger winds and rainfall expected as we move towards midweek so the earlier you apply the better in my books.


Microdochium nivale, Dew Removal and rolling…

Downloaded an interesting link from some GCSAA research that I happened upon recently concerning the effects of removing dew and Microdochium incidence.


What caught my eye was the results showed that the most effective method of removing dew with respect to decreasing Microdochium nivale disease pressure was rolling. You can see if you read the link here that rolling reduced disease by 66% compared to untreated and was roughly twice as effective as using a Dewy or blower. You’ll also note from the article that they were rolling every day, now I know what you’re going to say, that’s not a feasible proposition in the winter on your surfaces and no doubt you’re right.

What I am interested in though is why rolling had any effect on Microdochium disease pressure because as a consequence of rolling the Volumetric Water Content (VWC) increased ?

So what that’s saying is that the action of rolling took the dew from the leaf and pushed it into the surface of the rootzone leading to an increase from 28% VWC in the untreated plots to 40% in the rolled plots. So in plain English it made the rootzone wetter by a factor of nearly 50% and yet Microdochium activity didn’t increase, it decreased, and did so substantially.

I think there’s two important messages in this work, but it’s not that we should go out and roll every day in the winter 🙂

The first is that removing moisture from the leaf is key to reducing the activity of Microdochium nivale, that we know I think.

The second is that a high water content rootzone i.e a wet green in the winter isn’t necessarily going to be more prone to attack by this disease. How come ?

If I had a pound for every greenkeeper who has said to me over the years that on his course the Microdochium in winter has not occurred on the normal ‘indicator greens’ of the autumn, the ones that have a good microclimate for disease, but on his driest, most open-situated greens. The same in the spring sometimes as well. I think I know why this is as currently I’m doing some research in this area and when I get the results I’ll share them with you.

Suffice to say that we have two variables at work here, moisture on the plant leaf surface and moisture in the rootzone and clearly they both don’t act the same way in terms of encouraging Microdochium development. Bit of a head scratcher but it certainly gets you thinking doesn’t it ?


With mild temperatures this week and the promise of rainfall (particularly for the drier central and southern UK) this week is an ideal time to kick areas that require an input on with a granular fertiliser. As the days shorten and therefore light availability / duration decreases, the balance can tip in some areas in favour of moss. I’m thinking particularly on areas of your turf surfaces that don’t get regular play, like back tees for example. So hitting them with a high iron, approved Mosskiller is good thinking this week and with cooler temperatures likely to follow you’ll reap the benefit right through the winter.

I remember visiting a golf course where they’d applied Dichlorofen, back in the days when it was available, and they did so in early November but ran out after 16 greens, so 2 greens were untreated. Looking at them the next February, the difference was staggering in terms of moss ingression on the 2 untreated greens vs. the treated, there was so much moss ! This demonstrates that moss grows preferentially to grass in the winter months (and sometimes in the height of summer as well :))

Ok, that’s all for now, have a good week..

Mark Hunt









October 12th


Hi All,

After a chilly, but mainly dry weekend, (except I think for parts of Scotland) it truly feels like autumn has set in and predictably talk turns to the winter ahead and the re-emergence of the ‘Beast from the East’ in some tabloids. You may remember me talking about the increased potential for a harder winter this year due to a low-lying jet stream that will allow colder air to come in. Well just to show that very little in life and not much in meteorology goes to plan, I see the projection over the coming week is for the jet stream to swing really high and that’ll allow high pressure to fill in the void and sit over the U.K. It won’t be a warm high though because of the direction of the wind and the presence of cold air spilling in over the continent to give them a first taste of winter. So this week I confidently predict you’ll be digging out the buffs and the thicker fleeces in readiness for the winter ahead 🙁

So how are we looking for the coming week ?

General Weather Situation

Well for most we have a dry, settled, cool but bright day following on from a misty start to the day, but in the north east of Scotland we still have a vestige of that rain lingering and during the morning this will push south down into The Borders and later on, northern England and the north Midlands possibly to bring some light rain to some areas. After some early drizzle over northwest Connacht it looks like a nice pleasant autumn day for Ireland and pretty much all of Wales and the south west, southern and central England. There will be spells of nice sunshine and out of the wind it’ll feel pleasant. There is of course a ‘but’ to this dry scenario and this concerns the temperature. It’ll feel chilly because the light to moderate wind will have a northern component and depending on where you sit, it may be north east or straight north, but it will keep temperatures down in the low double figures for many. Night time temperatures through the coming week are likely to be low single figures so there’s a chance of mist and fog early doors and a risk of a light ground frost in rural areas.

Moving onto Tuesday and we still have some rain lingering over north east England and The Borders but this will gradually dissipate through the course of the morning. The wind will pick up a pronounced north east orientation and that will introduce our old friend ‘Haar’ onto the scene so Tuesday looks to be a good deal cloudier and therefore duller across the U.K, with perhaps the best chance of sunshine over Wales, westerly coasts and possibly Ireland where it also looks set for a dry, autumnal day. Temperatures will be a degree or two down on Monday due to the cloud cover. The wind will be fresher for Tuesday and that will keep the temperature pinned down.

Overnight into Wednesday and a similar day to Tuesday is on the cards with that north east wind continuing to spill in cloud from The North Sea. There’s also the chance of some of that cloud being thick enough for rain along eastern coasts and the coast of the south east of England. Elsewhere it’ll be dull, cool and with some drizzle amongst the thicker cloud base. That moderate north easterly wind will continue to peg back temperatures so a cooler day again for mid-week with temperatures barely making it into double figures. Those thicker winter fleeces will come out of the cupboards for sure this week 🙂

Onto Thursday and a changing wind direction for some will push rain into north western Scotland and Ireland through the morning and this will push south and east through the day. At the same time we have some more rain pushing over from the continent and that may mean some light showers for the eastern coast of England through the morning. The wind will be all over the place depending on your location, varying from north west over Ireland, south east over Scotland and turning through the day to northerly for England and Wales. No surprise then that we have another chilly, dull day on the cards for England and Wales, but a milder one for Ireland and Scotland with that change in the wind direction so here temperatures may just make it into the low teens (Gosh Golly say one and all)

Closing out what will be a dull, cool unspectacular week we have more of the same unfortunately. That rain over Scotland and Ireland should have all but fizzled out, maybe some drizzle remaining, but for eastern and central counties of England we will again see some very thick cloud courtesy of The North Sea and this is likely to bring light rain and drizzle for some areas here. Through the course of the day this cloud cover will push west so extending the areas affected by the lower temperatures and drizzle. Further north we may see some gaps in the cloud for northern England and Scotland with that rare feature, the sun, visible at times. Under the cloud it’ll remain dull and cool, but in the sunshine temperatures will lift a little. Ireland looks to have a similar day, with dense cloud cover across eastern counties but some chance of breaks in this for the west. Again that wind will be northerly / north easterly and so keeping the lid on any semblance of decent temperatures.

Onto the all important weekend and any chance of a change in the fixed, dull, cool pattern ? In a word….no with what looks to be a dull cool Saturday with plenty of cloud cover for eastern and central areas of the U.K. The west and north again may have the best chance of seeing the sun on Saturday, but it looks a dull and cool one for Ireland as well, though the cloud will break late in the day. Sunday looks a little more promising with more in the way of sunshine for most areas, but with that north easterly wind still calling the shots, it’ll only feel a little milder, possibly climbing into double figures for Central England and maybe a degree or two higher in the west.

Weather Outlook

With a week of high pressure, cool and dull weather under our belt by next Monday, is there any sign of the high moving off and bringing in some milder temperatures ? No there isn’t. So for next week it looks like high pressure will again sit over the U.K and we will have cool winds particularly for the early part of the week before it settles down and brings us quieter autumn weather towards the end of the week. So another dry week to come next week, maybe more in the way of sunshine from mid-week, next week onwards, as we lose that north easterly wind direction and the associated Haar. Temperatures are projected to be low double figures during the day so remaining cool.

If you look at the Unisys-animated GIF at the top of the page I’d like to draw your attention to the mass of cold air that is projected to come down into Scandinavia and Central Europe during next week. Now in my books it’s very early to see cold air that far south and it does set up the possibility of some colder, more wintry weather earlier than normal for us depending on the jet stream orientation.

Agronomic Notes

Disease Pressure – Some better news…

With the arrival of cooler and settled conditions with less risk of morning dew because of the wind direction I’d expect disease pressure to drop from last week’s high pressure spike that I discussed a week ago. The 48 hour period from Sunday 4th October through to Tuesday 6th October represented quite some disease pressure as you can see from the image below.


What this is showing is that the coolest it got all night going from Monday into Tuesday was 14.5°C and that was at 7 a.m. Throughout the night the air temperature sat between 15 and 16°C, which is ideal for disease development. In addition we had rainfall and so a very moist atmosphere with the humidity sitting close to and exceeding 98% during the same period.

We are therefore looking at two key drivers here, one is temperature and the other is leaf wetness, the latter is critical as it facilitates fungal mycelial growth across a leaf surface and into the leaf itself.

So if you did see significant disease development through Sunday to late Tuesday, you can now see why….

A poor uptake week coming up…

During the above disease period the Growth Potential reached 0.8 or 80% of the theoretical maximum possible so the grass plant was also growing strongly. Compare that with this week’s projected Growth Potential and you can see the average daily growth potential is close to 0.15 or 15% for the week coming up, a fraction of what was occurring only 7 days ago !


So this means we have a grass plant that is only growing at a very slow rate because of the cooler days we have in store this week. Couple that with lower light levels due to increasing cloud cover and I think you can see the plant isn’t going to be up to much in terms of growth, nutrient or fungicidal A.I uptake. So if you’re spraying this week, don’t expect much to happen fast because the plant will be very slow to react to either a nutrient input and / or a pesticidal one. Today and tomorrow probably represent the best days for uptake, but it’s marginal to say the least. Yet again it shows why knowing the Growth Potential on your site, seeing how it’s likely to sit in the coming week and then making management decisions on the back of it are integral to good agronomics.

I am aware some of you are aerating this coming week (against your better judgement I appreciate sometimes) and I wanted to continue on the theme of graphing out the likely growth attainable as a % of the maximum Growth Potential over a 7 day period. I’ve included the projected maximum and minimum air temperatures over the next 7 days so you can see how much of a drop they will be this week in terms of growth and therefore plant uptake.


So you can see for the coming week the projected growth is 8% of the theoretical maximum compared to 28% last week so we have a growth reduction of nearly 72% compared to last week.

To put that into perspective in terms of potential recovery, if we aerated a month ago and say it took 14 days for the surfaces to recover, it’s likely to take 8 times longer if the temperatures stay as they are now to get the same recover, in other words a very long time. I appreciate there is the matter of fixtures, revenue and agronomics to try and balance, but I’m merely pointing out that with every week that goes past mid-September, your recovery time increases markedly, particularly once you’re into October.

Now all this may change and we may get the traditional warm end to October / start to November that we’ve had in 5 years out of the last 7, but somehow I don’t think so this year with that cold air mass sitting over Europe.

Wrap up well and all the best.

Mark Hunt






October 5th


Hi All,

Well what a difference a day makes…yesterday here we had clear blue skies and a cracking autumn day, the leaves on the turn, the mist in the valleys and the dew on the ground.


As I walked yesterday I noted the absence of Swallows and House Martins in the sky and thought they must have all have left to head south and follow the sun but was pleased to see a flock of Martins still filling the air over Hallaton, proving summer is still clinging on by the very tip of its fingers.. 🙂

Things are very different this morning however, it’s rained (and raining), the skies are leaden and the wind is up. It’s also 5°C warmer than it was at the same time yesterday morning and that’s going to cause some agronomic issues I think in terms of disease development. (More on that later)

I was shocked seeing yesterday’s pictures from the south-east of France where they had 6 inches of rain in 2 hours leaving towns and cities devastated and people dead, that’s a huge amount of rain to fall in such a small space of time and shows the power and energy of our climate as its worst.

General Weather Situation

So we have low pressure in charge as predicted for the start of this week and I think we’re now set in a pattern of short-term, intense low pressure systems pushing in from The Atlantic and then interspersed by quieter, settled periods when high pressure takes charge. So how’s Monday shaping up ? well mild and with some moisture around for sure.

Currently we have some heavy rain around, specifically over Ireland and the west of England / Wales. This will push northwards propelled by a southerly wind and it’s this that’s bringing the higher temperatures and humidity. By early afternoon the worst should have cleared all but the northern counties of Ireland, but they’ll still be significant rain over northern England and this will push up into The Borders during the afternoon and into Scotland in general by late afternoon. A new pulse of rain will push into the south coast of England early afternoon and this will then move northwards though I think tracking east of a line up from the Isle of Wight to Birmingham. This rain will intensify to heavy bursts during the late afternoon over Hampshire and Surrey before moving across London and into The East Midlands / Eastern counties. It’ll feel humid with temperatures touching the high teens and winds will be moderate to blustery.

As we progress overnight into Tuesday, another band of heavy rain is into the south of Ireland late Monday night and also the south west of England. The heaviest rain looks to be along the west coast of Kerry, Mayo and Sligo through Tuesday morning, but it’ll also be potentially heavy in the southern part of the U.K and over Wales as well through Tuesday morning. That overnight rain will also be sitting over Scotland during Tuesday morning so we’ll have two distinct rain pulses, one over the south of the U.K, the other over Scotland and between them it’ll be dry and potentially sunny. For the second half of Tuesday that rain looks to clear Ireland, push across the north of England and then concentrate across Wales and the west coast of northern England as we see out Tuesday. Again it’ll feel mild with temperatures in the mid-teens courtesy of a mainly southerly airflow.

Into Wednesday and we have a potentially better picture for most areas with rain still featuring along the west coast of the U.K and pushing into northern England and Scotland through Wednesday morning. Over to the west across Ireland it looks drier with only some isolated showers along the west coast of Munster and Connacht later on in the afternoon / evening. The same is true south of Leeds / Manchester where it looks to be a drier and significantly, a cooler day as the wind swings round to the north west moving the warm, humid air away. So temperatures in the low to mid-teens for Wednesday, but they’ll be some breaks in the clouds across the south west and central England through the course of the day. As we progress to Wednesday evening the rain over Scotland pushes more eastwards and potentially finishes off with some heavier bursts across the north east of Scotland as we see out the day.

Onto Thursday and two things you’ll notice, firstly the winds will be much lighter and it’ll be a much drier weather picture. Sadly not for everyone as we have some rain likely to push into Kerry and track north and east across Ireland through Thursday afternoon, though it’ll be decreasing in intensity as it does so.  It’ll feel cooler again with temperatures in the low teens, but they’ll be some periods of sunshine around across the east coast mainly of the U.K and across Ireland before that rain arrives. Winds will remain westerly in nature but are set to change through Friday.

Overnight into Friday we have high pressure settling in over the U.K and Ireland so dry on the whole save for some scattered, light showers affecting the west coastline of the U.K. By late afternoon we have a new pulse of rain pushing into the south west of Ireland and moving across the country through Friday evening into Saturday, though it looks like it’ll track along the west coast so some areas may miss this entirely. For the U.K, we look cool and settled with light winds now coming from the east and low to mid-teen temperatures depending on whether you see any breaks in the cloud cover. This is likely to be more on the west coast as our old friend Haar will probably come calling along the eastern coasts and central areas.

Onto the all-important weekend and though high pressure looks to be in charge, it won’t be a calm one because those easterly winds will ramp up through the course of Saturday and Sunday. This is because we have two southerly low pressure systems trying to get in on the act and you remember what happens when a low and a high meet, the winds get funneled between them. That rain over the west of Ireland will slowly move northwards through the day into Donegal and then off into The Atlantic by close of play Saturday. Elsewhere it’ll be a dry, breezy day, dull on the whole as the wind brings cloud cover off The North Sea. Sunday looks more of the same, dry for all areas I think, windier than Saturday, but also with the promise of some sunny intervals through the morning and afternoon. All in all, not bad really.

Weather Outlook

As intimated above we have a battle between a deep southerly low pressure system that is projected to be sitting over The Bay of Biscay this time next week, and a flattening high pressure sitting over Scandinavia. So although high pressure starts off the week in a similar mode to the weekend, dry but with strong easterly winds, I think it’s likely to slowly pick up some of the effects of that southerly low pressure system as the week goes on, so that means we will get some rain off the continent as we go through the week, but amounts will be light and scattered. That high pressure will be a stubborn one to go however so it’ll be a gradual capitulation rather than a quick transition. Easterly winds will be the theme of the week so that means plenty of cloud cover, cool as well and reasonably dry. I think by the time we close out next week we’ll have low pressure in the driving seat so that will mean a south westerly / westerly airflow and potentially a bit milder as well.

 Agronomic Notes

Disease Pressure

I expect the next 2 days to be a real test in terms of Microdochium disease pressure because we have combination of mild temperatures, moisture and humidity. All of these are drivers for disease and more importantly the temperatures won’t drop much as we go through Monday and Tuesday night, so conditions will very much suit fungal growth over the next 48 hours. It highlights to me yet again what a good system we have with the Growth Potential (G.P) model for expressing turfgrass growth potential.

Last week I charted out the weekly total G.P to give a definitive indication as to the potential for recovery from aeration work and to highlight why early is best when it comes to autumn aeration. This week I’ll use it to demonstrate that it provides us with an ‘early warning’ system when we link to a projected weather forecast as we do in Meteoturf. Looking at Meteoturf today you can clearly see the increase in G.P highlighted for Monday and Tuesday, directly as a result of mild day and night temperatures.


Looking at this from the start of October you can see how much of a peak it actually represents and that the driver is the two mild nights at the start of this week..


A number of key points here ;

Firstly, this peak was evident from last Wednesday on Meteoturf when the weather forecast correctly predicted the swing to a southerly airflow so we knew it was coming and had 3 good days to apply any preventative strategy from a fungicide perspective. I say we had 3 good days but that doesn’t allow for shotgun starts and the like 🙂

Secondly, trying to apply reactively rather than preventatively won’t be too much of a feasible option because we have rainfall through today and tomorrow and reasonably blustery winds.

Lastly, it’s likely to be one of those periods when the balance is tipped very much in favour of the disease even if you have what you think is an effective control already down. So don’t be surprised to see signs of potential activity even though you’re in the ‘sweet spot’ of a preventative fungicide application. It won’t just apply to Microdochium either, I expect Red Thread, maybe even Dollar Spot to raise its head and also Superficial Fairy Ring / Waitea Patch.

Thankfully this period of adverse disease pressure will be relatively short-lived because you can  see from the graph above that once you get to Wednesday we lose that humid air and consequently the mild night time temperatures and things settle down to normal. It is however unlikely to be the last G.P peak we see this month because for the last 5 years out of 7, we have seen very mild temperatures (day and night) going into November.

It graphically highlights to me how growth-predicting models like GDD and G.P can be not only useful but essential in order to make proactive turf management decisions out on the golf course. The tools are there at our finger tips, we just need to use them in a consistent manner.

The best time to aerate in the autumn according to Growth Potential

Last week I used G.P to look back at the period from July to the end of September and see how the growth compared on a weekly basis to the theoretical maximum attainable during that week. It gave (I thought) a good indication of how quickly growth drops off when we get into September and therefore how much longer recovery will take from any aeration work. This week I have added on a northern location, York (Thanks Adrian) to compare two different locations. Here’s how it looks…


You can see pretty similar trends though the northern location appears to drop off quicker as we get through week 3 in September. You can also see the potential to catch some cooler air up north even at the end of July when the weekly total G.P fell back to 66% vs. 86% further south at Thame. This was due to some wetter, cooler air coming in from the continent and primarily affecting the west and north of the U.K and Ireland. As promised I’ll carry this on through October to highlight how aeration and recovery potential during this month compares with July to September, I hope it will help some of you make a case to the powers-that-be.


Last week I wrote that I regard October as a “Steady as she goes” month nutritionally and this week highlights why this is the case. Imagine if you’d have fertilised last week with a significant nutrient input and then we have these two balmy days following on from that application. Aside from increased clipping yield and wet growth to try and manage, it’s also quite possible that you may have created a very succulent grass plant, one more easily prone to disease ingression.

Looking at this week, from mid-week I think things will settle down temperature and growth-wise and if you need to make an application the conditions should be fine for this with calmer winds and a lower likelihood of rainfall. So small amounts of available N combined with iron are I feel the way to go for the time-being, remembering that it’s not usually till the mid part of November before temperatures drop off and life becomes easier to predict.

Ok that’s all for this week, I hope my prognosis on the potential for disease development during the early part of this week is inaccurate, please as usual drop me a comment or an email on what you see out on the turf on your facility as it does help me to keep a handle on theory vs. practice.

All the best.

Mark Hunt