Hi All,Blackbird

One of my many resident Blackbirds has been getting cheekier and cheekier. First she started with sitting on the shed looking into the kitchen and giving me the evil eye. Then she took to landing on the window sill to pay closer scrutiny and now she just comes in to the house and helps herself out of my bird and Hedgehog food stash 🙂 Nature is truly resourceful, I was in Coventry (mercifully briefly I hasten to add) at the weekend and right by The Ricoh Stadium I watched a Peregrine Falcon making a low pass on the prowl for Pigeons probably, great to see and un-noticed by many I’m sure.

After last week’s heat we now have a real muggy feel to the weather as a weak Atlantic low introduced moisture and therefore humidity into the picture late last week. We also saw some very localised downpours going from flooding in one town / village to bone dry just a few miles up the road. This theme of moisture will continue this week with frequent rain bands crossing the country for the first part of the week but drying up a little at the end of the week. So let’s put some detail on it before I have to make the walk of doom to an early dentist appointment 🙁

General Weather Situation

For Monday we have a potentially wet picture for many as already there are bands of rain stretching from the west coast of Ireland to the south coast of England and these are slowly moving up country aided by light, westerly winds. So for this morning you can expect rain pretty much everywhere with a pronounced band of rain moving up across Ireland, Wales and the south of England. A weaker band is situated north of this and stretches from south west Scotland down to The Humber. During the late morning this rain will intensify over the south of England, north of England and Scotland and it’ll be slow moving. Now a feature of this rain is that it can be very localised, some locations having intense showers, others just drizzle, others nothing but a few drops. Through the day this rain moves across Ireland and the U.K in a north east direction but there will be some sunshine down the east coast of Ireland and England and the north east of Scotland as we approach late afternoon. Temperature-wise it’ll feel close and humid under the cloud cover with high teens the order of the day and light winds for all of us.

Overnight into Tuesday we will still have plenty of rain on the radar across Ireland, Wales and the west coast of England / Scotland. By morning rush hour that rain is projected to begin to  consolidate across Ireland and the west coast of the U.K and then begin to move eastwards. Seperately we’ll see additional rain over central and eastern Scotland. Some areas may be dry at first, including the south coast of Ireland and the east coast of England, but by late morning that rain is much more widespread across the west coast and it’ll move into central and northern England through the early afternoon. Lots of cloud cover as we’ve seen on Monday so another dull, close day but some of that temperature will have slipped away so expect only mid- teens across the west and maybe high teens further south. Again winds will be light for most and south westerly in nature, Scotland though will pick up the other end of the low so your winds are likely to be easterly and moderate.

Moving onto Wednesday we have a drier picture for most areas for the start of the day anyway with some rain right down off the south west of England and Ireland, across the north of England and The Highlands of Scotland. There will be lighter cloud and some breaks in it as well through the morning probably across the east coast of Leinster and East Anglia. As we move through the morning into the afternoon it looks like rain will push into Ireland affecting mainly Connacht, Donegal and Leinster and at the same time we’ll see rain into the south west of England, Wales, the north west of England and south west / central Scotland. So the east coast of the U.K tends to miss most of Wednesday’s rain. By close of play Wednesday we have that rain slowly fizzling out with only the south west of England and The Highlands of Scotland holding onto it. Similar temperatures and winds to Wednesday maybe a degree or so down at night so feeling more bearable than of late.

Thursday sees another cloudy start with plenty of low cloud around light rain across Ireland, the south coast of England and north east coast of England / Scotland. During the morning we wil see further rain over Ireland and that rain across the south of England will drift up country slowly into The Midlands by the early afternoon before fading out.  The north of England and Scotland may miss any further rain through the day and there may be some breaks later on in the afternoon across the south east of England, Ireland and east of Scotland. Later in the day we will see a subtle shift in the wind swinging round to the north east and that may mean a slightly cooler day is in store for Friday.

So Friday looks a much drier day because that change in the wind direction is likely to keep most of that Atlantic moisture away from us. There’s a risk early doors of rain across the south coast and east coast of England but this shouldn’t amount to much. Elsewhere over Ireland, the bulk of Wales, England and Scotland we will see a brighter day with some breaks in that omnipresent cloud cover. Those breaks in the cloud are more likely across Ireland, the west coast of England and Scotland. Temperatures are likely to be a little down on Thursday with that change in the wind direction, particularly along eastern coasts.

So how are we looking for the weekend ?

Well drier I think though with plenty of cloud cover around across the country more so across eastern coasts as that light north easterly wind pushes cloud off The North Sea. So the brightest and warmest areas on Saturday are likely to be across Ireland, the south west of England, Wales and Scotland. Central England may see further cloud and some of it may be thick enough for a spot of drizzle in the morning. Temperature-wise, similar to the previous days so mid-teens the order of the day, perhaps a degree or two higher in the sunshine and through the day the wind shifts again to the west. Sunday looks a much brighter day for the U.K with plenty of sunshine and very little rain around. That wind change may mean more in the way of cloud for Ireland on Sunday and some of that cloud may be heavy enough for the odd shower across the west. So feeling warmer in that sunshine where and when you get it on Sunday in milder westerly winds, a nice day all in all.

Weather Outlook

So next week we look to have an improvement on the cards, particularly for the south of England. We have a low pressure skirting over the top of us so that means a westerly wind direction, moderate winds and more chance of rain in the west and particularly the north going through the week. Monday looks to be potentially the wettest day of the week for the west and north dropping down to lighter showers from Tuesday for these areas. The south and east of England look to be dry, warm and settled coming under the influence of a continental high pressure system so it could get pretty warm as we go through the week.

Agronomic Notes


Pathogen Activity

The above Meteoturf for the south of England highlights a continuing trend for high humidity this week carrying on from the last week. Looking across multiple locations for Wales, Ireland and Scotland, the theme is the same, high atmospheric moisture.

High humidity tends to be a driver for disease, especially when it usually coincides with rainfall and during our summer months, high temperature.

Red Thread


So expect to see a lot more in the way of pathogens active in your sward this week. First and foremost on outfield turf I think we will see alot of pressure from Red Thread, irrespective of the level of plant nutrition with prolonged leaf wetness and high humidity really aiding development of this fungal disease. If your turf is regulated by a PGR it will unfortunately be more prone to attack from this pathogen especially if you’re at higher rates of regulation.

Fairy RIngs


Another disease that will definitely become more prominent over the next week or so is Fairy Ring, in its many manifestations whether that be Superficial, Thatch Fungus or just plain mushrooms. Like Red Thread, this fungus really prefers high humidity to become active and so it’s common to see it from now onwards. In extreme situations you can experience turf loss and this may be down to the activity of the fungus in the soil causing localised hydrophobicity or in some cases, a build up of ammonia. If you’re fortunate enough to own a moisture meter, you can very easily check to see if hydrophobicity is the cause by measuring in the centre of the ring, the active ring area itself and then outside the ring. If hydrophobicity is present expect to see low moisture readings in the active area of the ring.


The best treatment if hydrophobicity is present is to hand water with a surfactant pellet and then monitor moisture levels in the stressed area till they reach a level you’re happy with, in other words your benchmark level for non-stressed turf. You can treat with a combination of Strobilurin fungicide and soil surfactant but in my experience if you’re dead set on trying to manage Fairy RIngs out of your turf, this is best done much earlier in the spring preventatively.

Waitea Patch (Brown Ring Patch)


Often confused with Superficial Fairy Ring (SFR) is Waitea Patch, but it’s caused by a completely different fungal family with Basidiomycetes the culprit for SFR and a Rhizoctonia-like fungus the causal agent of Waitea Patch. Waitea Patch or Waitea circinata var. circinata if we’re being official about it is a relative new kid on the block in terms of actual I.D, though i suspect it’s been here for longer than we think but has been mis-diagnosed as SFR in the past.

The two diseases are very different and most prominent in the difference between the two is their behaviour in terms of moisture. Waitea Patch is often associated with elevated levels of moisture so it tends to appear on a wetter turf surface area and becomes more pronounced after rainfall / irrigation. You can read an excellent article by John Kaminski here

Fortunately both disease respond to the same chemical in terms of treatment with Azoxystrobin amongst the best A.I’s for both. The difference is how you treat them with a soil drench often required to get the product down to the area of fungal activity with Fairy Rings but the opposite is true for Waitea where you need to keep the A.I in the surface and crown of the plant.

Microdochium nivale

Yes it is a long list this week and this one has been doing the rounds now for the last couple of weeks with lots of activity both last week and this week. You know the drill, either decide if you and your golfers can live with it or treat it with a systemic fungicide to try and clean up your sward.

It’s concerning for me to hear that we seem to be heading to a situation of decreased tolerance of this disease at some golf clubs from a management perspective. My advice is wake up and smell the coffee because we are not in the U.S and our range of active products that efficiently control the disease is getting less and less, with one of the best combination products disappearing from sale this month.

With the weather in the autumn a significant driver to increased Microdochium pressure and less products effective in control, I’m afraid we are going to have to live with it and accept some damage across a sward whether you like it or not. Yes we can try to reduce its impact with good cultural work and if you’re very lucky, a change away from Poa as the dominant grass species , but this in itself is not easily achieved.

Algae and Cyanobacteria


Image courtesy of Kate Entwistle – http://www.theturfdiseasecentre.co.uk

Got an email from Kate Entwistle (No ‘H’ you know..ahaha cue rolled eyes from Kate) which highlighted cyanobacteria in the sward at a particular golf club. It’s more on a symptom than a pathogen in a way because the presence of both algae and cyanobacteria species like Oscillatoria are symptomatic of an enviroment that favours their presence. They like high humidity in order to develop and ideally a perched water table so if you have fibre build up, poor air flow and perched water in the surface of the sward, it’s likely that you’ll notice this pathogen. I often see it in shaded areas with poor air flow and where the turf has thinned like clean up strips on golf greens.

Ok a busy week for us all then with the weather keeping us on our toes, good luck to you all.

Mark Hunt