Hi All,

Welcome to May or should I say April judging by the weather 🙂AshOak

You’ve probably all heard the old country saying “If the oak before the ash, then we’ll only have a splash, if the ash before the oak, then we’ll surely have a soak”? 

Well according to the picture right sent in from my old friend Mr Butler, we should be breaking out the factor 30, except it’s pouring down outside. That makes 18mm since Saturday night here…Not that I’m complaining as we need the rain but this is one country saying that I’ll consign to the recycling bin.

Of course election fever is inIMG_4403 full swing over here, you can’t turn on the telly or listen to the radio without some prat prattling on about it (and that’s just the politicians)

As you may have gathered I’m a bit apathetic when it comes to politics, but I had to laugh when I received this image of the local UKIP candidate for Market Harborough….Poor bugger he’s got no chance with a name like that…..Thanks to Paul and John for that titbit 🙂

General Weather Situation

After one of the driest April’s on record it seems somewhat strange to be starting my May blog with a weather picture that looks wet for most areas as we kick off Tuesday morning. So we have some heavy rain moving northwards, currently it’s clearing The Midlands and pushing through the north of England and into Scotland later in the day. It’ll leave behind a showery morning for the south of England and Midlands but you should see the sun at some point. Ireland looks to start off very wet, but again the rain clears north though not for long as another band of rain pushes into Kerry and West Cork by lunchtime and tracks along the east coast into Leinster for the afternoon rush hour. So rain isn’t far away for most people today with blustery showers pushed along on a strong south westerly wind. Temperatures will be mild after another mild night with mid-teens the order of the day for most.

Wednesday looks to be start drier for the north of England, Midlands and south of England, but that low pressure system will already be pushing rain into the west coast of Ireland, Scotland and north-west England. This rain will move eastwards through Wednesday morning into Wales and south-west of England by late morning and continuing to push south eastwards through the day, lightening in intensity as it does so. A cooler end to the day as the winds shift round to the north west for the close of the day, so mid-teens through the day, but falling to high single figures later. Again the wind will be strong through the day.

Thursday looks to be a much drier and brighter day for most areas with some rain affecting north-west Scotland and a tight band pushing through Wales into The Midlands, but this will mean rain showers will be few and far between. So a much brighter day and with a westerly wind feeling reasonably mild in the strong sunshine. That rain over north-west Scotland will push into The Highlands through the day and fall as wintry showers.

Friday sees a more or less 180° shift in the wind direction as the low pressure tilts and brings in south-easterly / easterly winds. This means two things, firstly more in the way of cloud cover, so a dull day in store for the end of the week and a much cooler one under that cloud 🙁

So temperatures barely breaking double figures and feeling chilly in the breeze I’m afraid as we close out the week. By Friday lunchtime that dry start comes to an end in the south-west of Ireland and England with a band of rain pushing in and moving north west through the afternoon. This rain intensifies and pushes across Ireland and the U.K as we go through Friday evening / night bringing heavy rain to some places. Feeling a little bit milder on Friday, but still lower temperatures than the start of the week and still with that easterly wind in situ.

The weekend looks like getting off to a cool and wet start on Saturday with that rain slow to clear from eastern Ireland and most of England. Scotland looks to start off drier thankfully. By the afternoon the rain sits stubbornly over The Wash, but elsewhere the clouds break to give long spells of afternoon sunshine particularly over Ireland, The Borders and Scotland. Still feeling cool as that wind swings round to the north, but it’s for a good reason 🙂 Sunday looks a much better start with that wind completing its swing round to the west / south-west and pushing up the temperatures. Of course a south-west wind tends to be a harbinger of rain and that is true in this case as heavy rain is set to push into Ireland on Sunday morning and affect most of the country during the day I’m afraid. Further east it looks much better, milder, drier and some broken sunshine through Sunday. Later in the day this rain pushes into Scotland, so a wet end to Sunday there. Temperatures should be low to mid-teens in that milder south westerly wind.

Weather Outlook

So is this changeable, almost April feel to May’s weather likely to remain or will high pressure return to bring us some warmth ?

Well I think next week looks to start off milder, possibly even warm / hot for the south of England as the wind pushes up warm air from Africa. We look to be sandwiched between a southerly high and a northerly low next week and that means a number of things. Firstly it’ll be windy, particularly from Tuesday onwards, warm in the south, cooler in the north, but generally mild everywhere and we’ll keep those milder nights and that’s crucial for growth (see below)

Rainfall-wise next week, Monday looks unsettled for Ireland, the north west and Scotland, drier and warmer in the south. Tuesday looks dry for all initially with rain moving in later to the same areas as Monday. Wednesday again looks unsettled for the west, but that low really ramps up the wind and that pushes rain across all areas for Thursday and Friday. So very much an unsettled theme to the weather next week, warmer though in the south.

Agronomic Notes

GDD Figures

First a look at our GDD figures till the end of April kindly prepared by Wendy :)….You can see from the graphs below that April was a so-so month for growth and nothing like 2014 in terms of good growing conditions.

The cumulative chart at the bottom shows us to be a long way behind 2014 in terms of total GDD at the end of April.


Irish GDD

Interestingly when you compare the figures above with sites across Ireland, you see that Cork sitting at a cumulative GDD of 157 at the end of April is very similar to The Oxfordshire, whereas the other sites are sitting behind, with the exception of Valentia which I think will be on a similar GDD figure to the south coast of England !


Growth Characteristics

A look at 2 consecutive days over The Bank Holiday….



When you look at two consecutive days in May (2nd and the 3rd), you can see the difference the arrival of the milder air made in terms of milder morning and evening temperatures and greater growth potential.

In terms of outright growth, the cool 2nd of May  yielded a G.P figure of 0.32, the much milder 3rd of May, a G.P figure of 0.75, in other words 2.5 times more growth potential !


So with that in mind you should be seeing plenty of growth out there, maybe too much to come back to after a Bank Holiday :(, but I think the combination of rain and temperature will mean more consistent growth across all surfaces with Perennial Poa kicking into gear. That of course means seedheads and I expect a significant hike in seedhead numbers through this week and again if we get the heat the early part of next week. Bearing in mind that Perennial Poa tends to seed profusely from 200GDD, we will be hitting that figure early next week.


PGR usage on outfield areas

When you consider that last week we were looking at a total projected GDD figure of 1 for the week and this week it’s 24, you can see that the growth outlook is much better, so that means thoughts may turn to using TE to hold back that growth and I think that makes a lot of sense, particularly in the south of England which may receive some warm weather at the start of next week (Note I say ‘may’)

Pathogen ActivityLeatherjacket

I’ve had a good number of reports of Leatherjacket activity, particularly with respect to the larvae emerging from core holes and feeding at night, leaving that tell-tale, chamfered exit hole. This can be especially problematic if you aerated during March / April and are seeing poor recovery even now that the weather has turned in our favour. A test spray or a sheet placed on the ground and left overnight can soon reveal if these guys are making a name for themselves.



I also received this picture from Ireland to show that some of these larvae are already hatching out into mature Crane Fly. (Cheers Bren) Makes a lot of sense to me because of the exceptionally mild autumn / winter we had up until mid-January. It also explains why I’ve done particularly well fly fishing recently using one of my home-tied Daddy Longlegs patterns (Cue collective yawning from all of you !)

Of course mild nights and moisture will also mean that Microdochium nivale will have made an appearance over the weekend as predicted in last week’s blog. I expect it’ll be pretty active but since growth will be as well, you’d like to think it will grow out soon enough. Of course this may be wishful thinking but finding a spray day may be tricky this week because of the rainfall and strength of the wind.

Ok that’s it for now, bit of a mega blog really in terms of content, sorry about that but a lot to say this week 🙂

All the best…

Mark Hunt