August 15th

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Hi All,

I see it is silly season again on the subject of the weather this summer in the tabloids (again) with many claiming the U.K and Ireland is in for a heatwave and others unsettled, wet and cold depending on which headline / paper you read. I haven’t even printed the Express headlines because they were claiming a 6 week heatwave that would last till the end of August 2 weeks ago !!!

weathernews

As I said last week I had a hunch we were in for some cooler, wetter weather and that looks like being the case from the end of this week onwards but I don’t think it’ll be the end of summer just yet mind 🙂

So what’s in store, Factor 30 or thermals and brollies ?

General Weather Situation

Well Monday is a really easy day to start the week on meteorologically-speaking because the whole of the U.K and Ireland looks dry and warm with some hazy cloud for the north and north east, but otherwise fine and dandy. Temperature-wise I’d expect low twenties just about anywhere with a gentle easterly or southerly wind depending on your location. It won’t be as hot as forecast last week because we are not now due to pick up a strong southerly airstream.

Tuesday looks a dead ringer as well with another day of warmth and bright conditions with temperatures nudging up into the low twenties in the south of England with a gentle easterly breeze probably giving a little more in the way of cloud cover for eastern coasts. Later in the day we see a rain front slowly nudge into the west coast of Ireland to bring rain to West Munster and Connacht on Tuesday evening. Here the winds will be southerly and so it’ll be a slow-moving front.

Overnight into Wednesday we see that weak rain front slowly move eastwards across Ireland and bring rain to The Midlands of Ireland as well as the west. As it moves it begins to intensify into moderate / heavy rain for the west of Ireland and central regions reaching Leinster by late morning and proceeding to give a wet afternoon  / evening for most of Ireland. As that moist air meets warm air it’s very likely to mean they’ll be some pretty active thunder and lightning across Ireland through Wednesday afternoon. For the U.K we have another lovely dry day in store for Wednesday with little cloud cover pushing temperatures up to their highest for the week, probably into the mid-twenties but we don’t completely escape. As we close out Wednesday evening we see the first of that Irish rain trickle into West Wales and the south west of England where it’ll be heavy in nature so a wet night in store there.

By the start of the Thursday morning rush hour that tight band of heavy rain has cleared most of Ireland except the far north and is now sitting just off the north west coast of England, across Wales and down into the south west of England. It’s a narrow, slow moving band which makes it likely to be heavy in nature so I’d expect some flooding in areas as the water sheds off dry soil. Through Thursday morning the front slowly moves along the south coast of England but is very localised meaning most of the rest of the U.K with the exception of Wales and the south west will miss it completely. Over these areas the combination of moist air meeting warm air is likely to set off some thunderstorms, some of which may be quite violent in nature. Through the afternoon we see some showers break out over Ireland and along the south coast of England pushing across Sussex into Kent for the tail end of the afternoon. Away from this sinous rain front we will see more cloud cover for most areas so a cooler day with temperatures in the high teens I’d expect.

Closing out the week on Friday we see a deterioration of the weather right from the off with a dense cloud base hanging over the U.K and Ireland and this will be heavy enough for showers across the west of Ireland and west coast of the U.K in time for the morning rush hour. These showers will mainly be confined to the west of the country but not entirely so The Midlands is likely to see rain as will the north of England. Haven’t mentioned Scotland by name this week and that’s because you’re likely to enjoy the most stable weather missing the rain of Thursday and Friday I think. Much cooler across Ireland and west-facing coasts with temperatures in the mid-teens likely though still with an easterly wind in place. For the U.K it’ll be a little warmer with temperatures probably warmest in the south and east of the U.K. Although Scotland is likely to be dry it will see more cloud cover and that’ll peg temperatures back to mid to high teens I’m afraid.

I’d love to say the weekend is looking fine and dandy but it isn’t by a long shot with a deep Atlantic low pressure likely to mean it’ll be cool, wet and windy for some…So Saturday sees a band of rain, some of it heavy stretching across Ireland into the north west and north of England. It’s likely to be lightest across Ireland with some breaks in the rain, but across The Irish Sea into Northern England it’s another story with heavy rain overnight pushing slowly northwards to reach Newcastle and The Lakes by Saturday morning. Further south it’s likely to be dull with some of that cloud heavy enough to bring rain over South Wales through the morning. The south west of England is another matter though with a new heavy band of rain pushing in just after dawn and moving along the south coast through Saturday morning and into Wales and The Midlands by lunchtime. Again I think there’s a risk of thunderstorms as moist air meets warm. The wind will still be comparatively light and from the east initially but turning round to the south west and freshening through the day. As hinted earlier, Scotland probably misses the worst of this and Saturday should be a pleasant day with some light showers, light winds and some breaks in the sunshine. Sunday looks the better day of the weekend because the morning is likely to be dry but by lunchtime I’d expect more rain moving up from the south west over Ireland, Wales and the south west of England and this will push north and eastwards later on. A milder feel to the weather with a change in the wind though.

Weather Outlook

So after an unsettled weekend, what’s the prognosis thereafter ?

Next week looks to start off with a westerly airstream firmly in place and this is likely to rattle some showers across the U.K and Ireland through Monday but heaivest I think for the north and west. Warm though in the far south with temperatures touching the twenties, but cooler under that rain with high teens likely. By Tuesday we see a southerly airstream push warmer air across the U.K and Ireland and that means any rain is likely to be more northerly, perhaps north westerly, so a drier day for many I think. By mid-week, next week we look warm and dry for most of the U.K and Ireland with just Scotland likely to hang onto the last of the remnants of that low pressure system. Stable weather for Thursday before a new low pressure system is likely to push down from the north and bring more unsettled weather with it. Plenty of time for this to change though.

Agronomic Notes

Soil moisture levels…

Type1FairyRingMoistureMeter

I get asked a lot when I go round with my Delta-T moisture meter what should we be looking for moisture-wise from a greens rootzone ? The answer is usually pretty site-specific obviously but in general I see good, firm greens with minimal wilting in the region of 12- 18% moisture content and often wilting kicking in once we get shy of 10%. Last week I saw readings down as low as 2.2% on exposed ridge areas of greens and the plant looked really dessicated not surprisingly but when you have E.T days > 5-6mm it’s easy to go from sufficient to deficient in a very short space of time.

I also saw the opposite end of the stick with sheltered greens showing moisture levels varying from 25-40% because they’re not suffering the same E.T levels and so less moisture is being lost from the surface. All pretty straight-forward I hear you say but it’s amazing how many clubs don’t have a clear handle on their irrigation efficiency and here I mean across sports rather than just golf. Ok I accept not everyone can afford a moisture meter but for me they pay for themselves in a very short space of time with less water utilised (important if you’re not on a borehole supply and are paying for mains water) once you adjust your irrigation cycles per area.

The benefits go beyond just efficient moisture use because watering and soil moisture has a profound effect on other areas such as nutrient availability and disease management.

Below is a simplified diagram of what I am seeing sometimes across a golf green with over-watering and excess moisture in one area and then other areas which are deficient due to coverage, greens shape, sticking or low-lying heads. It’s not uncommon to see disease patterns linked to watering and soil moisture levels as the diagram below indicates, particularly with Anthracnose.

water

Using moisture wisely…

Some areas of the U.K and Ireland have had a pretty pronounced dry spell and therefore native soils have dried down significantly which means when and if we finally receive moisture it’s likely to shed from the surface unless we manage the process. Organic matter is concentrated in the surface of a rootzone and once this has dried down it’s likely to become hydrophobic (water-repellent) because dead and decaying roots are naturally water-repellent. Applying a soil surfactant to known dry areas such as drain lines, recently turfed areas, high spots and ridges prior to rainfall means that the water will penetrate quickly and rehydrate the soil profile rather than being shed straight off the top. On small areas a granular wetter can be very convenient for this type of application as you can just put it in a pedestrian spreader and apply accurately to a set area. In my mind it’s one of the best uses of surfactant technology but make sure that the one you use isn’t just a penetrant because it’ll need to have a chemistry present that neutralises hydrophobicity and many of the penetrants don’t have this because they’re built down to a price.

I realise this won’t apply to everyone as I’m sure there are areas of the U.K and Ireland that are just fine and dandy soil moisture-wise but by the same token they are areas that aren’t 🙂

Disease Activity

DollarSpotSept2012

Dollar Spot

Saw my first Dollar Spot activity last week out and about on my rounds. This one is a strange disease because more often than not you see a few small patches during the hotter months of the summer and then once we begin to lose night time air temperature coming into September and start getting consistently heavy dews, we see a massive increase in activity. I appreciate this is another situation where a lot of you will read this and shrug your shoulders saying “Never had that here” but it’s the kind of disease where you don’t see it and then one day you’ll walk in and find this on one or two areas…

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And then that’ll get your attention…

Dollar Spot likes a weak turf, with low nutrition status and typically under stress, it also likes it if it’s over-regulated. That said, like Red Thread, you can have a low stress area growing well that gets hammered. There’s a huge amount we don’t know about this disease considering in The States and on the continent it’s one of the most harmful, but that’s the joys of science. I happen to know it’s one of Kate’s favourites 🙂

Etiolated Growth

Etiolated Growth

Whilst I’m on the subject of diseases we seem to know little about, an informative email dropped into my Inbox recently (Thanks Aine) detailing some recent work on etiolation in bentgrass conducted in the U.S. It states a clear link with applications of TE but goes on to say that the TE-applied plots were the best for visual quality (after they were cut then)

The author (Richard Latin) also goes on to state that under microscopic examination he could clearly see bacteria streaming out of affected plants. So what are we saying here ? That the cause is bacterial (rather than fungal) and the phenomenon is exaggerated by applications of TE ? The plot thickens. if you read the comments there is one that claims the link to TE was proven 5 years ago…hmmm interesting….

You can read the article here

Now I expect this to show up next week because it likes spells of warm weather followed by cool and damp weather so here’s a challenge to you….If you have areas that are affected badly, contact me by email or via this blog and we will organise to see if bacterial infestations are the cause.

I hope they’re not because if they are you will all be nipping to Boots to spray on antibiotics !!!

Ok that’s it for now, enjoy the sun and the rain 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

 

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