Hi All,

As I look at the steady rain falling outside and note how we are still hanging on to the cool spring weather, I was surprised to hear mention of the fact that the longest day is next month…next month, next month ????, and we are still waiting for summer….ElNino

A number of you commented on the news last week that a strong El Nino signal is reported to be building in the Pacific and the last time this occurred was back in 2010. El Nino is a complicated weather phenomenon but one of its documented effects is to create a trough in the jet stream off the west coast of the U.S and this tends to cause the position of the jet stream to sit lower than normal. The effect tends to be strongest during the winter period and you may remember December 2010 happened to coincide with a trough pattern forming in the jet stream that allowed Siberian weather to dominate for the winter period so we had snow and ice and a long hard winter.


You may also remember it was also one of the barmiest / balmiest October / November periods as we hit 20°C in late October / early November 2010, because we were sitting under a peak in the jet stream.  Then in a matter of days the peak shifted, we went into a trough period and temperatures plummeted. So I’ll be keeping a close eye on this through the year to look for changes in the speed and pattern of the jet stream and will report back accordingly….

General Weather Situation

So we are starting off Monday with a bit of a dreary, wet morning, but for some the rain is welcome 🙂 So we have a slow moving rain front over the U.K and Ireland with very few breaks in it that would allow sunshine through. Maybe the east coast of Ireland could be a little brighter than most this morning, but that’s a maybe. As we progress through the afternoon this rain becomes more fragmented allowing for some brighter spells to form especially in the west of the U.K. By evening the rain is confined to the east and west coastline of the U.K and Ireland with brighter spells elsewhere. Temperatures will be low double figures and winds light to moderate from the west.

Tuesday looks a slightly better day with a dry start for the U.K, but showers will soon build from the west and push into Ireland and the western coastline of the U.K. Through the morning these will intensify and move eastwards to affect most places, except the north east of Scotland that looks to have a good, sunny day. The south of England may escape the worst of these showers as well. As the sun sets it’ll clear up to leave a cool night. Winds will again be westerly, light to moderate and temperatures still on the cool side in the low teens, maybe a little higher if you see the sun.

Wednesday is a much drier affair on the whole, still with the chance of a shower over Wales and the north west coastline of the U.K, but these look to die out reasonably quickly to leave a cloudy day. During the afternoon this cloud looks to break across the east coast of Ireland and west coast of the U.K to give some nice afternoon sunshine. So a drier day for most, staying cool though in the north-west wind.

Thursday looks to be a similar day but for a front of rain pushing into north-west Scotland and lighter rain moving over Ireland to give a duller day there. Still a chance of a shower across the west coastline of the U.K and into The Midlands maybe.Further south and east across the U.K, it looks much better and with the winds swinging round to the south west, milder as well with temperatures pushing up into the high to mid-teens as high pressure tries to assert itself. In that warm air we could see temperatures up in the high teens.

Friday closes out the week with a battle between high pressure over Ireland bringing warm air into the south and west vs. low pressure sitting off the north east of Scotland. So a forecast of two halves really with rain over Ireland and Scotland, maybe more persistent in the west of those countries. Further south and east it really depends with the risk of a few of those showers pushing into central England and The Midlands later in the morning, but I think this is marginal. It looks to be a duller day, maybe with the sun breaking through in the late afternoon / evening. Temperatures holding up in the south of England, mid to high teens, but lower in Ireland and Scotland with the more persistent rain and cloud cover. Winds will be light to moderate and from the west / north-west.

Looking ahead to the weekend, things are delicately balanced, particularly when it’s VE day at Duxford and World Superbikes from Donington 🙂 As commented earlier we have high pressure trying it’s utmost to bring some summer temperatures in from The Atlantic and that could indeed be the case for Ireland and the west of England. In the north and east it really depends on which weather system wins the battle because although it looks dry, the further east you go, the more cloud cover you could have.  Over Scotland we should have two much drier days, still duller because you’re nearer the low, but less threat of rain, maybe a little for Saturday night / Sunday morning. In the south I expect mid-teen temperatures, possibly higher if the sun breaks through, maybe cooler on Saturday with a north wind, but milder on Sunday as this swings round to the west.

Weather Outlook

Well for the start of next week I think we will still have that vestige of low pressure sitting off the north east of Scotland so unsettled for the early part of the week for Scotland. Further south and west, that high pressure system seems to be projected to gather strength, so dry and settled conditions with heat building from the west through the week. Potentially it could be the warmest weather we have had so far this year for the south west and Ireland I think. It all depends on cloud cover but a much drier and milder week in prospect for many :).

Agronomic Notes

GDD Comparison

Had some data in last week from the south-west and north-east of England so I thought it would be interesting to chart the two locations against each other and see how they compare. Thanks to James and Adrian for their input, appreciated lads.


It’s quite interesting considering the  two locations are nearly 210 miles apart as the crow flies because you see the growth pattern was very similar for the first three months of the year, but from the start of April, the milder temperatures in the south west of England push the growth on faster, so by the middle of May, Long Ashton is two weeks ahead of York from a growth perspective.

It’s all relative though because last year Long Ashton hit the the same GDD total at the end of April, so they are two weeks behind still from a growth perspective, year-on-year.


Nutrition and PGR’s

Well the cool wet outlook for the first part of this week will curtail most activities in the spray department but as that rain draws away at the end of the week then we have some decisions to make…..

Notably if there are areas that could benefit from a TE-based PGR application to hold back growth. If the heat arrives as predicted next week for The Bank Holiday (U.K only) then we could see a growth flush with the combination of warmer night temperatures, a moist soil and warm days. You can clearly see the increase in growth potential on the Meteo Turf schematic for the coming week shown above with the growth building from Thursday onwards as those temperatures creep up. There’s no point in applying a liquid fertiliser until the back end of the week so you could easily combine the two and also add some iron for extra colour.

Of course the boot may be on the other foot in that you may still need some extra growth and like last week I’d be using a light-rate autumn / winter type granular product to move things along.


Plenty of seedheads around at the moment as the perennial Poa. seeding gets into full swing. I expect this to continue and possibly peak through the next 7-10 days. With the dry outlook for next week at least you’ll be able to kick in some cultural management to lessen the surface disruption.

My greens are still bumpy….

A lot of people appear to be still having issues with bumpy surfaces but for me with the combination of rainfall and temperature I’d expect this type of problem to diminish with a more consistent growth window and the opportunity to verticut, groom, topdress and roll to maintain a smoother surface. I know a lot is written about cutting height, but the fact is a tighter cut will decrease the physiological differences between the grass species on your green and for sure running through the winter at a consistent height will pay dividends in the spring. Firm greens with managed-surface organic matter and good topdressing levels will always come out on top when we have a spring like this, but convincing your club that the work, labour and money need to be targeted in this manner is often another ball game, sadly 🙁

Selective Herbicides


Weed growth which is already quite impressive this month will need to be knocked back and many clubs / venues are struggling with the lack of spray days and available labour to do so, but with a better outlook from the end of the week, this could tie in nicely if you have the right conditions for a spray window.

Pests & Plant Pathogens

On the lawncare side I’m afraid you’ll see a resurgence in the dreaded Ant population / activities this week and next week because they seem to love moisture and then temperature. On the subject of insect pests there is still plenty of evidence of Leatherjacket activity and whilst fishing on Saturday morning I saw a number of hatching Daddy-longlegs.

I also expect to see some increased pressure from Microdochium nivale with the wet spell of weather this week and the arrival of milder temperatures at the end of this week. Some will choose to grow it out, but if you are spraying I think you’ll get a good result from a systemic if you’re applying at the end of the week.

Ok that’s it for now…all the best and expect a blog on Tuesday next week because of the Bank Holiday.

Mark Hunt