September 26th

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Hi All,

Popped into the office last week and was greeted by some interesting snacks that Wendy, our resident tech support-type person had brought back from Canada. I’ve been reading about using insects as a source of protein for a good while now in New Scientist but this is the first time I have seen them marketed for human consumption.

Protein

I decided to try the Crickettes as no one else seemed keen, it was fine really as long as you didn’t think about what you were eating though the wings are a bit chewy 🙂

Can’t see my resident Hedgepigs liking the Cheddar flavour mealworms though….

On a serious note this is heralded by many as key to meeting our increasing food consumption needs as a planet, farm-reared insects ground up as a protein flour source.

So onto the weather in hand and first an admission that my longer term outlook may be a bit flaky this week because Unisys seems to have gone on the blink I’m afraid, not sure if it’s temporary or permanent. Anyway I’ll give it my best shot…

General Weather Situation

So for Monday we have (looking out of the window) a grey start with a heavy band of rain that’s currently sitting over Leinster and east Munster after moving across Ireland overnight. This rain is due to move into the south west, west and North Wales very soon on Monday morning and head inland so you’ll be seeing some rain and drizzle moving into The Midlands and northern England. There’s also a seperate band of rain currently over north west Scotland. Through the course of the morning this rain will clear most of Ireland but will be reluctant to leave south / south east Munster and it’ll move inland stretching from the south west of England right up to north west England / The Borders. Through the afternoon it will continue to affect western areas and inland too but I think the south east and east coast will miss the worst of it. A dull, cool day with temperatures around the mid-teens for most and a moderate south west wind pushing that rain along.

Overnight into Tuesday and that rain will still be affecting the west coast of England and Wales and parts of northern England as well so a dull and dreary start to Tuesday for many. As we progress through the morning this light rain drifts eastwards across The Midlands and Home Counties but we begin to see the first signs of a positive change as cloud cover breaks over Ireland to bring some warmth and sunshine. Through the afternoon we see a continuation of this trend from the west with the cloud breaking and sunshine coming through to end the day dry and consequently feeling much warmer than Monday with high teens and perhaps just nudging into the twenties in the far south east. The wind will be all over the place, southerly, swinging to north westerly and then finally westerly overnight into Wednesday.

For Wednesday we have a much nicer day on the cards for most people, note the use of ‘most’ because for Ireland we have a rain front that pushes into Co. Clare overnight and moves across country during Wednesday morning.  This rain will also push across The Irish Sea into north and mid-Wales late morning and then across Wales and the north west of England. East and south of this rain band, Wednesday looks to be a lovely day, warm sunshine and a real pick up in temperatures even across the west with low twenties likely in a strong to moderate westerly wind. A good drying day for some but not for Scotland unfortunately as we have an extension of this Irish rain due to push in through the afternoon to bring cloud and rain for the 2nd half of the day. Some of this rain may be heavy across the north west.

On Thursday we see a change in the weather because instead of high pressure building (as I forecast last week) we have a low pressure pushing in and that’ll introduce cooler air and rain for the end of the week. So overnight into Thursday and that rain over Scotland and Ireland intensifies and moves south and east and by the morning rush hour it’ll stretch from The Lakes across the Irish Sea and down across Ireland. Ahead of this rain band will be a thick bank of cloud and sometimes it’ll be heavy enough for drizzle as well as we start Thursday morning. That heavy pulse of rain is projected to move down the north west coast of England through Thursday morning so by lunchtime it’ll be affecting northern England and Wales. Ireland looks to brighten up after that heavy rain wih spells of sunshine interspersed with some heavy showers as well. As it sinks south that rain band fizzles out so the south of England may enjoy another dry day on Thursday but duller for sure and that’ll keep the temperatures down into the mid to high teens, slightly cooler across Scotland where that cloud cover and rain are heaviest.

Closing out what has been a mixed week we have a change in the wind direction to north west and that’ll introduce a cooler feel to the weather even though the wind won’t be that strong. A much drier day for everyone on Friday with some clouds and sunshine across all areas. There will be some showers drifting over Connacht through the course of the morning and these may well end up reaching Leinster but amounts look light (at the moment) The best of the sunshine will be across the east coast of the U.K including Scotland and The Midlands so here expect mid-teen temperatures and maybe hanging onto the high teens in the south.

The all-important weekend’s forecast follows.

We have a sneaky little low pressure in charge over the weekend which has pushed that nice warm high aside (perhaps temporarily) so Saturday looks to be a day of sunshine and showers with a definite north / south divide in the weather with the far south set to hold onto those better temperatures whereas for Ireland, the north of England and Scotland we will see a strong south westerly / westerly wind and frequent showers moving through, some of them heavy in nature. Further south across The Midlands you should miss most of these but it will be a duller and hence cooler day. Sunday looks a similar day I’d say with sunshine and showers pushed across on a westerly wind as that low pressure moves northwards so the best weather again on the south coast.

Weather Outlook

Ok this may be tricky without the guiding hands of Unisys Weather 🙁 but I have obtained some more GFS output so we’ll see…

With low pressure in charge over the weekend it’s no surprise to you that next Monday looks to continue that unsettled outlook with rain, some of it heavy, across the U.K and Ireland whipped along by strong winds, especially in the north and west. As we progress onto Tuesday then we see a gradually improving picture with high pressure pushing up from the south and introducing warmer, drier air to many. Now there’s a caviat here because there’s a huge, deep low pressure system out in The Atlantic and this may cause a change to occur next week between now and next Monday. The current projection is for a peak of warm, dry air to push up from the continent and keep that low pressure out in The Atlantic for the rest of next week but it’ll be a close run thing so we will see which one wins the day, hopefully it’s the high and we’ll have a nice start to October 🙂

Agronomic Notes

It is a year for Dollar Spot

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Dollar Spot is a very strange disease for sure.

I say that because although it’s the no.1 pathogen in the U.S on sportsturf we still don’t know a lot about it.  Even the casual organism is up for question. There’s a very good up-to-date article on the APS site (American Phytopathological Society) that discusses the disease in general but in the classification heading you’ll note that there is still some way to go to know exactly what we’re dealing with.  You can find it here ;

Last week I was over working in Ireland (thanks to Damian and Alan for their efforts and for all that took time out of a busy week to attend) and it featured on the radar as a disease there as well which is unusual as normally Irish Sportsturf doesn’t suffer badly with this disease.

So why has this year been a bad Dollar Spot year ?

I think without a doubt it’s due to humidity because July, August and the first half of September have been noticeable for some periods of very high humidity, especially at night. It’s leaf wetness that really pushes disease like Red Thread and Dollar Spot on and we’ve had plenty of that.

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Remember this image of my weather station in the wee hours of an early September morning ?, high overnight temperature and high humidity, a calling card for this disease and others.

This humidity manifests itself in the form of heavy dew (and Guttation Fluid as well) and often the start of high dew formation in the late summer / early autumn marks the beginning in earnest of Dollar Spot activity.

Dew

The good news to me is that if you have Dollar Spot-affected areas on your golf course or sports pitch, we still have time to do something about it, especially if you’re in for some dry weather over the next week. Personally I’d scarify / brush the areas to remove all the dead, bleached turf and remember to box it off because this is a disease that seems to be easily transported around by foot traffic and machinery. Once you have a good seedbed then I’d be drilling in a Fescue / Rye mix to give a good sward in time for the winter and above all fertilise once you have seedlings through (5-7 days at this time of year) to ensure rapid recovery. I prefer using a granular for this purpose. The image above showing affected and recovering turf is seperated by 3 weeks and some good cultural and nutrition work.

Worms and Weeds

wormcasts

Alot of both of these around I am afraid at the moment and of course the two are sometimes connected with the worms bringing up weed seeds to the surface and / or the casts offering a great germination bed for new weed seedlings. Where you haven’t got the rain this week then you have a great uptake window for selective herbicides coming up in the early part of the week so take advantage of it if you can…

Below is the Meteoturf module for my location in Market Harborough and you can see that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday offers a great uptake window for pesticide and / or fertiliser applications.

Meteoturf260916

Nutrition going forward

I think the next 6 weeks is one of the trickier periods of the year regardless of what type of sportsturf you maintain. It’s particularly the case on fine turf because in my mind from October to mid-November presents the worst / heaviest disease pressure from Microdochium nivale (Fusarium old style) and of course we still tend to keep warm temperatures right through this period, with high humidity and heavy dews. (see above)

Nutrition needs to be carefully managed so the plant is ‘balanced’. An over-fertilised plant will display high leaf succulence with thin cell walls and these will be easy for a pathogen to penetrate. A weak, under-fertilised plant will also present a willing target for disease because it will not grow away from the disease sufficiently.

PGR Usage

This brings me on neatly to PGR usage on fine turf in the autumn / winter and this is a tricky subject again because there are ‘Fors’ and ‘Againsts’ without a doubt and these depend on the area in question and your management practices.

On higher-height-of-cut turf then I think it’s more of an open and shut case unless of course you have Dollar Spot lurking because if that’s the case you don’t want to regulate the plant at a time when you need to be cutting and physically removing the mycelium (the same is true for Red Thread). Regulating growth (in the absence of those diseases) makes sense going into a period of the year when you know we are likely to have wet surfaces and lush growth.

On fine turf I’m split because a regulated grass plant will for sure maintain a fungicide active in the plant longer (because you’re cutting less off) but by the same token it’ll allow a pathogen like Microdochium to be more aggressive. I think if you intend to run PGR’s late into the season on fine turf, you have to have your fungicide program pinned and I’d suggest it might also be more on the intensive side. Like I said earlier there’s good reasons why you might or might not and talking to greenkeepers on my travels I think opinions are split.

I am interested on your experiences on this subject area.

USGA Record

Saw two great articles recently in the above and although their weather and resources are often different from our own, I think we can always learn a thing or two…

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wetusgarecord

You can find this article here

And an article on triple aeration here

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It’s a great resource to me and it’s free to subscribe..:)

That’s it for this week, enjoy your warm, mid-week blast, I’m on my travels again so Tempus Fugit my friends 🙂

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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