Hi All,

crutchlow McPhee

Whilst all eyes have been on The Olympics and the quite fantastic performance of Team GB, I’d like to celebrate some other British winners this past weekend with a fantastic performance by Coventry’s Cal Crutchlow to win his first ever MotoGP race at Brno, Czech. It’s our first win in this class since Barry Sheene in 1981 !. To cap it all, Sam Lowes made the podium in Moto2 and Scotland’s John McPhee took his first ever win in Moto3, (A feeder class to Moto2 and MotoGP) so we had GB riders on the podium in every class yesterday. Why ? because it was raining and we get a lot of practice at racing in the rain in this country !

Talking about rain, we’ve been getting our fair share these past few days (thankfully for some) but next up we are in for some heat this week so let’s put some detail to the weather.

General Weather Situation

So for Monday we still have a wet picture for some of the U.K and Ireland with some heavy rain over the north west and north east of England and lighter rain over Wales, Ireland and Scotland. During the morning most of this rain will move off into The North Sea but not before giving the north of England a fair whallop. Behind it we will see brighter skies and rapidly warming temperatures. I mentioned most of this rain because there’s a risk that some of it will linger across Wales and drop down into The Midlands during the course of Monday morning / afternoon. So for most of us away from the rain it’ll be a pleasant day and warm with temperatures climbing into the twenties as skies clear. That rain will be stubborn though and even into Monday evening we can expect to see some sitting over north west Scotland and Wales, but it’ll be light in nature.  South east Munster may also see some rain push later this evening but most of Ireland will be sunny and warm though we may see some showers over Kilkenny. The winds will be moderate to strong and from the west.

Moving onto Tuesday and that Munster rain will push across most of Ireland during Tuesday to give a pretty wet start to the day here. This band of rain will extend across The Irish Sea into south west Scotland during the morning rush hour and push north and east into Central Scotland through the morning. Further south we have a rapidly warming picture with clear skies and bright sunshine the order of the day for Tuesday and I’d expect high twenties even touching thirty degrees in the south east of England. Closing out the day we see a better picture over Ireland as that rain clears from the south west of Ireland through late morning / early afternoon. That northern rain won’t clear as easily though because it’ll still be lurking across Northern Ireland, south west and north west Scotland into dusk. Winds will be lighter for most of us and distinctly from the south and that’s what’s bringing the warmth. Now with warmth from the south comes another feature and that is thunderstorms so be on your guard here especially for the south east of England. ATD

Don’t forget you can track the progress of any lightning using the Met Office’s ATD Lightning Detector page which updates every 15 minutes. It’s available here. As I type this we can see south west Kerry has a localised thunderstorm going on 🙂

Overnight into Wednesday we have that rain over Scotland intensifying to give some pretty heavy bursts across Glasgow and Edinburgh before moving off into The North Sea during the first part of the morning. Further south and west of this we have a much drier picture for Ireland joining Wales and England with cloud cover breaking to give a lovely warm, dry day with light southerly winds. Those rapidly rising temperatures combined with humidity will give another day of pretty active thunderstorms over the south of England particularly but I’d expect them to push up country later on as well. So a very warm day again for this area with high twenties likely. Further west and north it’ll be cooler with Scotland and Ireland in the high teens, low twenties I’d expect with their light westerly wind. Further south we see that wind reverse around and become northerly in nature, but it’ll be very light.

Moving onto Thursday and overnight we see some continental rain move up into the south of England, at present it’s east coast-orientated but it is continental rain so we’ll see. There’s a lot more rain around on Thursday with a weak low pressure pushing rain across Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England during Thursday morning. Some of this rain will be localised and heavy particularly across the south west of England, north of England and Scotland. This rain band will push north and eastwards to give potentially heavy rain to The Midlands and east of England as well. Ireland will start off cloudy and then we’ll see that cloud break to give warm, sunny spells but through the late morning and afternoon rain will push across country from the west and move slowly through the rest of the day to clear by the evening. Most of the U.K rain should clear by the evening with only the east coast likely to hang onto some. As you’d expect temperatures will settle down significantly for Thursday with high teens and low twenties likely, so much more refreshing.

Closing out the week for Friday we have a much better picture for most areas with cloud clearing to give a fine, bright, sunny day for most. I say ‘most’ areas because Ireland will see a band of rain pushing into the west, likely across Galway, Mayo, Sligo sort of way during the afternoon after a nice sunny start to the day. This band of rain will intensify to give heavy bursts across Ireland and the south west of Scotland through the second part of the day. You could draw a line across the U.K at the border because south of this line will be bright, sunny and warm with temperatures picking up to the low twenties in a light westerly / southerly breeze.

Looking at the weekend we can see that rain band across north west Ireland looks to intensify to give some heavy rain and flooding for this area I’m afraid early on Saturday. This band of rain will extend all the way into and across Scotland so a pretty wet start to Saturday there as well. South of this line we have a pleasant warm day with hazy sunshine but there is the chance of thunderstorms overnight and extending into the early morning as well particularly across The Midlands. These may crop up again later on Saturday as moist air meets warm air. Now life gets complicated because there is the risk of a southerly low coming into play and that could push rain up across the south of the U.K for the second part of Saturday. This unsettled picture could extend into Sunday for Ireland and the U.K with rain showers pushing in on strengthening south westerly winds, whereas Scotland should have a drier day on Sunday. That leaves Bank Holiday Monday to pick up the mantle as most likely the best day of the Bank Holiday (understood Scotland and Ireland will be working 🙁 ) I think with a drier picture and clearing skies. Cooler though with high teens, possibly nudging the twenties. Now it’s worth pointing out that not all models agree on this southerly low pressure system so we will have to see how it pans out.

Weather Outlook

So next week looks like starting off settled for Monday and Tuesday as we see pleasant warm temperatures, light winds from the south west and a largely dry picture. There is however a low pressure system projected to enter the picture from mid-week, next week with strengthening westerly winds and rain likely to push into the north and west first later on Tuesday before moving south across most of the U.K for Wednesday. This low pressure then looks to dictate the rest of the week really so unsettled and windy from the west through Thursday and Friday with showers of rain, more so across the west and north I think.

Agronomic Notes

Disease Activity

When you look to the fact that we’ve been running some very high temperatures (in some parts of the U.K and Ireland) and then we’ve had some rain as well creating a humid environment, it is hardly surprising that we are seeing lots of disease activity around, some of which is not what it appears though. Here’s a pic I received recently from a golf course in the south of England.


Now my first thoughts would be Anthracnose or Plant Parasitic Nematodes (PPN), typically Spiral or Stunt from a species perspective. We took some sample cores from the outside of the affected area (because fungal disease and PPN’s typically spread outwards) and sent them off to Kate Entwistle for analysis. Sure enough there was Anthracnose in the Poa annua but there was also Take-All affecting both the Bentgrass and Poa plants.

In my formative years in this industry before Strobilurins arrived, Take all was a real pain of a disease because we had nothing for it from a preventative perspective and we were seeing lots of new golf course constructions affected by it. Come the arrival of Azoxystrobin and Propiconazole, it kind of faded off the map but in recent years it has had a resurgence and it got me into thinking as to why ?

In the old days Take-all was a disease of the early summer, typically appearing once we had high E.T days in June, July. The damage was actually being done long before that in the cool, wet spring days when the pathogen was attacking the root system. Everything looks fine though then because the plant can easily manage its moisture requirements and E.T levels are low. Come the afore-mentioned hot, windy June and July days when E.T levels rocket and the plant needs to take up more moisture from the soil, it can’t do because the root system has been damaged by the Take All pathogen, so you then start to see damage. It was often visible as a nice round patch with dead grass (Bentgrass) in the middle and possibly with some unaffected Poa annua and Fescue as well depending on the sward type and age of the construction. It always took out bentgrass and never Poa annua. (see image below)


Fast forward through to now and we typically see Take All as a late summer and sometimes autumn disease and I think this is primarily because of changes in our weather patterns.

Specifically this would be the very wet months we sometimes get in the summer, this year it was June and then the disease appeared in August. In other years we’ve had wet August’s and then the disease has appeared in September and even October.

It is not only a change in our weather that is worth noting, we also now see plenty of cases where Take All as a pathogen is happy to take out Poa annua rather than just Bentgrass. Here’s some pictures of the pathogen in the crown of the plant taken by Kate Entwistle (Cheers me dears 🙂 )


Take All in Bentgrass – Image Kate Entwistle


Take All in Poa annua – Image Kate Entwistle

You’ll note in some respects it looks similar to Anthracnose with blackening at the base of the affected plant and visually if you didn’t have access to a microsocope you may think that’s what it is. The key distinguishing feature with Take all is the presence of ‘runner hyphae’ within the affected plant tissue (Black cobweb -like structures) and in the bentgrass plant (top image) they are also extending outside the plant. (I was unaware that they do this)

Like most root pathogens, I’m afraid by the time you see actual displayed turf symptoms the bulk of the damage is done and despite what people say, you can’t curatively spray Anthracnose or Take-All, there is no way of turning back the clock. All you are achieving by spraying is maybe killing the spores produced by the fungus and ‘ring fencing’ the outbreak. I say ‘ring fencing’ but it is typical with both diseases to see a continuation of die back after you have sprayed a label-approved product.

There is plenty of Anthracnose around….

On the subject of Anthracnose I’m getting plenty of reports now about activity particularly on areas that saw the same last year as well. The only way to deal with this 100% is to apply a preventative in the summer but if you’ve got it I appreciate that’s not a lot of help. For me I’d suggest lightly aerating to try and encourage the affected plant to develop new roots, maintaining good soil moisture levels without over-watering obviously as that will just encourage the Basal Rot form of this disease and good nutrition. In bad attacks it’s often better to plug out and overseed the affected area using a rootzone topdressing material (with higher organic matter for better establishment). I’m afraid to say it can be a slow and painful process getting sward density back.

Etiolated growth

Plenty about as predicted last week with the combination of warm temperatures and rainfall and with high humidity and the likelihood of thunderstorms this week I can’t see this going away quickly I am afraid. Still it’s a challenge and one we have to manage or learn to manage.

Red Thread and Dollar Spot


I’d expect another hard week from these pathogens on outfield turf because of the temperature / humidity / rainfall combination anticipated.

The Coming Week…

High temperatures, thunderstorms and humidity will probably trigger off some of the more unusual turf diseases like Rhizoctonia solani and Waitea I think so it is important to keep the plant healthy through this period. It is (I acknowledge) a tricky line to tread between keeping a plant ticking along nicely but not over or under-feeding, the same is true of rootzone moisture levels and the balance between overhead irrigation and hand-watering (and your available resources) I like to maximise my biostimulant usage during this time because this is when they should be helping the plant to do its job.

All the best for the coming week…

Mark Hunt