May 23rd

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Hi All,

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I think May is one of my favourite months of the year to be out and about in England. The hedgerows at present are absolutely bursting with Keck (Cow Parsley), Pink Campion and White Nettles (the latter are great for a sweet hit of nectar if you pluck off a bunch of flowers and squeeze the tube-like ends together)

The Hawthorn is full of blossom and smells lovely lining the hedgerows with colour. It is an event that every year seems to come out of nowhere, one minute you’re walking in thermals and boots, the next it’s warm, you’re shedding layers, slapping on the suncream and admiring the view 🙂

Dropping the culture standard by a good couple of notches…..Before we look at the week ahead I note a recent headline in the Daily Express predicting the ‘Hottest summer in 100 years’ is on the way (thanks to Dave Howells for sending this in). You have to take it with a pinch of salt I suppose particularly when you see their other headlines include a resident Werewolf in Hull affectionately called ‘Old Stinker’ (quite believable for Hull in my books) and a rather well-endowed, Puerto Rican Weather Girl who puts this blog firmly in it’s place in terms of s*x appeal. (Scorchio springs to mind)

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Courtesy of THE DAILY EXPRESS

So is there any truth in the prediction of rising temperatures ?, well yes and no because the jet stream (you know that part of the weather that no one ever spoke about 5 years ago) is set to take a hike up north and this should (I say should) allow warmer air to funnel up from Africa / The Med eventually. I say ‘should’ because their 10-day GFS model and my 10-day GFS model don’t look the same (so it’ll be interesting to see who is right).

This transition won’t be immediate though because we are in for a change in wind direction and that’ll keep things on the cooler side for the time-being, particularly mid-week and I think the 10-day countdown will be to an unsettled next week rather than the heatwave they predict.

Ok onto this week’s weather….

General Weather Situation

For Monday we already see that change of wind direction on the move as it swings round to the north west. Ultimately it’ll be coming from the north east by Tuesday. So a dry picture for pretty much all of the U.K and Ireland today with large amounts of sunshine and broken cloud. During the morning there is a chance that some showers of rain will ease into the south east corner of England, across eastern coasts and later possibly over The Pennines, but otherwise we are all fine and dandy. There’s also some heavier bursts of rain pushing over The Gower into Swansea Bay first thing and these may drift across South Wales through the morning. Temperature-wise we will sit somewhere between low to mid teens for westerly coasts and high teens away from the effects of that wind, so cooler than the weekend for many. Winds will be north westerly and moderate.

Onto Tuesday and overnight the wind has shifted round to the east / north-east. As usual that tends to drop the daytime temperatures a bit but also bring in more cloud cover from The North Sea. This will be most apparent in Scotland where you’ll likely to have a duller, cooler day with some of that cloud cover heavy enough for some hill mizzle and light rain in places. Further south and east we share more cloud cover, particularly in central and eastern areas with the best opportunities for a break in the cloud in the south and south west. Ireland also looks to have a nice, dry day, perhaps brightest along the east coast of Leinster and Munster. Temperatures will be a degree or two down on Monday, so low-mid-teens I am afraid, likely warmest in the south and south west (in other words furthest away from the wind direction) and coolest along east coasts.

Overnight into Wednesday we see that cloud cover really pull in off The North Sea and that dulls down not only the chance of seeing the sun, but also the temperature. So Wednesday will be a really cool one, particularly for the north east / west coast of England, Scotland and along the east coast of Leinster. So very little chance of seeing the sun on Wednesday, maybe the south west of Scotland and Ireland will present the only opportunities. In the cool north east wind temperatures in the places I mentioned above will struggle to double figures, elsewhere we can expect low teens at best I think. It’ll remain dull all day and in eastern and central areas that cloud may be thick enough for some drizzle in places.

Overnight into Thursday we have some rain likely over the north and east of Scotland, along the south and south east of England and across Connacht and Donegal as well during the early hours. By the morning rush hour this rain will still be in situ and other areas will be waking up to a dull start, however the weather picture is improving in some places. It’ll still feel cool along the north east / west coast of the U.K and the east coast of Ireland, but in the south of England, across Wales and Scotland we will see a warmer day despite a continuation of that north east wind. That rain could hang around most of the day over north east Scotland and through the afternoon we can expect that rain in the south east of England to track westwards along the south coast and into the south west by close of play. So cool temperatures under the thicker cloud cover barely breaking double figures but further south and west I expect a milder day with a return to mid-teens possibly even higher.

Closing out the week, for Friday we see some of that rain over the south west push into south east Munster during the early hours. Another band will push up from the south east into the west country by the morning rush hour and possibly The Midlands as well. By mid-morning that light rain is into Munster and South Connacht as well as North Wales. North and east of this rain band you can expect a milder day, much milder in the north and Scotland in particular with temperatures pushing up into the high teens in a lighter easterly / north easterly wind. Temperatures will range from low to mid-teens under that rain to high teens in Scotland and the south of England. Again a cloudy day by and large but more breaks in the sunshine are expected and where you get them you’ll feel some pleasant warmth 🙂

So how does the weekend look, are we shaping up for a nice Bank Holiday ?

Well Saturday will start off dull for many with the best chance of seeing the sun along the south coast of England I think. They’ll be some rain around for Ireland principally affecting a line drawn north of Carlow sort of way but they’ll be some sunshine between the showers even here. So Saturday looks by and large a sunshine and showers sort of day. Pleasantly warm despite that easterly wind which will be lighter in nature. Saying that with an easterly wind there’s always the chance of some showers around in the south east of England and The Midlands. Later on Saturday there’s also a chance of rain along The Humber estuary and inland. Sunday looks the drier day of the weekend with some longer spells of sunshine for central and eastern areas. There may be more in the way of cloud for the west coast of the U.K, but for most largely dry, sunny and warm. Later on again there’s a risk of showers breaking out over Scotland. Temperature-wise I’d say high teens to maybe twenty degrees in the south of England maybe.

Weather Outlook

Well this is where my 10-day weather projection differs from The Daily Express because to me it doesn’t look like we’ll start summer next week (but it is coming). My projections show a sneaky little Bay of Biscay low pressure moving up to sit south of the U.K and Ireland for the start of next week. So for Bank Holiday Monday I can see this bringing strengthening winds in the south and the likelihood of rain in the south and south west of England in particular. So the best weather will be north and west of this and the further north you go, the better it gets with Scotland in particular looking to enjoy some bright, sunny and warm weather.

It is unlikely to be a cool low pressure though because of its orientation so despite the rain I think it’ll be mid to high teens on Bank Holiday Monday. Tuesday sees that low pressure edge northwards so therefore an increasing likelihood of rain for The Midlands, north of England, Wales and Ireland. (though Ireland may miss the worst) That easterly wind will be in place through the week, but further west it’ll be southerly in nature and that could pull up some warm and dry air to the west coast and Ireland in particular. So remaining unsettled through the week but with slowly improving temperatures. I’ve got a feeling that by the weekend after next we move into June (crumbs already ?) we will see some stable conditions and high temperatures.

Agronomic Notes

What I am going to attempt to do today is talk about agronomic notes in three different locations using the MeteoTurf module on Headland Weathercheck because we have such a diverse forecast for the next week or so and for the U.K, we have a forthcoming Bank Holiday (Ireland I think is the first week of June). I can’t include every location as I’d still be typing this on Friday but here goes…

South of England / Wales / Midlands

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So looking at the turf-related parameters detailed on MeteoTurf for this week we have a number of interesting features ;

Predicted Grass Growth

Firstly we can see that we have a pronounced mid-week dip in our growth projections courtesy of that cool north east wind and cloud cover imposing itself on Wednesday so this means after a weekend of warmth and some rain yesterday you should be able to get growth under control by the middle of the week. Greens growth will slow due to that cool Wednesday but then look at the Growth Potential pattern for the end of the week and weekend !

You can see by Saturday and Sunday we have very good growth and that means a growth flush is predicted for the Bank Holiday weekend. (groan)

Remembering my point that next week is looking unsettled as well, that may mean that this growth flush will present a maintenance issue for many of us in the south of England.

Application Window and Uptake…

So applying a product today should be ok but personally I’d look to make any foliar applications at the back end of the week provided rain isn’t forecast for your location. This is particularly true for PGR’s because I don’t think you’ll get good uptake applying in the first-half of the week with that cool, mid-week interlude predicted. If you have the budget and resources I’d say this coming weekend will present another significant growth flush on outfield areas so a good shout to make a PGR application in my books.

E.T Stress

You can also see that the predicted moisture loss from the turf surface due to Evapotranspiration is 21mm with particularly high moisture loss predicted for Saturday and Sunday so this means pay attention to high spots stressing out and hand water if necessary. If next week turns out unsettled then this need will disappear by the early part of next week.

Pathogen Activity

With warmth and moisture I expect the usual suspects to come out to play including some Red Thread which I noticed over the weekend on some fine-leaved Ryegrass and I also expect to see some Basidiomycete activity (Fairy Ring to you and I) because of the rise in humidity over the last weekend. They’ll also be some Microdochium activity I expect but since forecasted moisture levels are low this shouldn’t be rampant by any means.

North of England / Scotland

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A similar picture to the south of England except I think you’ll actually pick up better temperatures than they will at the end of the week and next week going forward. Your outlook is also likely to be drier for the early part of next week before that rain reaches you eventually mid-week, next week.

Similar comments here on the uptake window with those declining temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday suggesting to me that I would delay applications of foliar products till later in the week if at all possible so you’re applying on a rising uptake curve, not a falling one.

The growth flush may not be quite as pronounced as in the south of England because your temperatures will be a little lower but there will be a flush for you guys over the weekend. The difference is you may have better conditions for cutting immediately after the Bank Holiday.

E.T-wise, again not quite as high a demand as in the south of England, but significant anyway and for those who are still sitting wet, you should experience a pretty good drying week.

I expect similar pathogen activity over the next 7 days with probably a lower prognosis for Microdochium.

Ireland

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You can clearly see the difference that the predicted cooler temperatures forecast will have on grass growth and uptake. Like the forecasts above you share that mid-week dip and so again I’d look to make applications (particularly ones containing PGR’s) against a rising Growth Potential curve rather than a falling one.

Your growth looks to be less likely to flush over the weekend but it should be more consistent once you lose the cooler nights of mid-week. Similarly the predicted E.T loss is less than half of the south of the U.K so I think this will translate to nicely drying surfaces and no likelihood of stress.

It’s been an up and down month….

Before I sign off for another week I thought I’d show you how this month has panned out so far growth-wise and how it is predicted to pan out till the month end. These stats are for our usual location of Thame.

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You can clearly see the flush in week1 and week2, the drop off in growth last week before another growth flush this past weekend and the anticipated flush towards the end of May as well. Definitely May continues its reputation as one of my ‘Yoyo’ months 🙂

Ok that’s it for this week, next week the blog won’t be till Wednesday because I’m having a break as I’m cream-crackered 🙂

All the best..

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

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