Hi All,

What a miserable morning to be typing this blog, barely light outside and the rain gauge has already passed 15mm overnight to add to the 20mm of Saturday night / Sunday morning. Apparently this one is called Storm Angus, now I could make a few jokes here because some of us know a certain wee man of the same name but I’ll stop short in the interests of future relations :).

It’s a really slow-moving storm this one because it’s sitting in a trough in the jet stream, exactly as described in last week’s blog so it is slowly revolving around its axis and dumping rain.

I took 3 screen shots from NetWeather’s excellent V7 rain radar overnight and you can see its really slow progression from last night to this morning…


The good news is once it’s passed we have a bit more tomorrow and then we go dry for maybe a week. Now already that’s different from last year because when we went wet last November / December, one of the stand out issues was the lack of drying days with no rainfall, i.e they were few and far between. A week of drying easterly winds could be just what the doctor ordered for the battered south of the U.K.


On the plus side, (trying to be positive) we are now only a month away from the Winter Solstice so after that the sun begins climbing again on the horizon, albeit slowly 🙂

General Weather Situation

So no surprise to say we start and in some places finish Monday wet but it isn’t the case  everywhere because this storm is very much a southern-orientated jobbie. So Scotland and Ireland start the day dry as does the north of England. The path of Angus is north though so it won’t be dry all day where you start dry if you get my meaning. So early afternoon has the rain stretching from the south coast of England all the way up to close on Newcastle with the heaviest rain over The South West and Wales I am afraid to say. Scotland and Ireland though start cold and dry with a harsh frost in the former and you’ll have long spells of winter sunshine for most of Monday. That rain is moving very slowly so I don’t expect it to clear the south coast till the evening and reach Scotland till overnight Tuesday. With temperatures on the low side it could easily turn to wintry showers over the higher ground of The Pennines, The Lakes and The Borders. Winds will be blustery and from the east initially swinging round to the south through the day but it won’t feel that mild I’m afraid with mid to high-single figures under that rain. You may just hit double figures in the south of England but it won’t feel that jolly.

Overnight into Tuesday that band of rain is still affecting the U.K and it’s possible the eastern side of it may dip a toe into Leinster bringing a mix of rain and wintry showers overnight and for the morning rush hour. By this time it’ll be into Scotland and potentially heaviest on the east side with again a mix of rain, sleet and snow forecast. Further south it won’t be totally dry with some vestige of rain over Wales, the south of England and The Midlands through Tuesday morning with perhaps the south east of England starting and staying dry. By early afternoon we have rain affecting Wales, The Midlands, north of England all the way up to Scotland with possibly the west of Scotland staying dry. Ireland looks set to miss it again so apart from some rain and wintry showers over East Leinster early doors, it should be a dry, bright and cold day on Tuesday. Similar temperatures to Monday with high single figures, possibly just breaking into the double digits in the south of England and a strong to blustery south wind in the south and north wind in the north.

By mid-week, we have a much better weather picture I am pleased to say as high pressure pushes in and moves Angus up north where he belongs (having fun on this one). So Wednesday should start dry for many places with the exception being a possibility of showers over the south west of England and the last part of Angus stubbornly refusing to leave the north east coast of England and Scotland. (Angus ? stubborn ? nah 🙂 ) Plenty of cloud about though particularly for eastern and central regions but Ireland, the west and later Scotland should see some long spells of winter sunshine. The reason for the cloud cover is a change in the wind direction to more north easterly direction and that’ll push in Haar off The North Sea so dry, dull and cool on Wednesday for central, southern and eastern regions. Lighter winds on Wednesday though so not a bad day, just a bit drab for some. Where you see the sun you’ll be up to high single figures but only mid-single figures under it 🙁

For Thursday we have a dry day everywhere with again plenty of cloud cover across central and southern areas. Scotland and Ireland will stand the best chance of seeing the sun but even here it’ll cloud over later. That wind will pick up strength and blow from the north east so it’ll be breezy, cold, but dry and after the beginning of the week, that’s just what we need. The same looks to be true for Friday, with more in the way of cloud cover for areas previously sunny like Ireland and Scotland. Dry again though for Friday with similar temperatures and wind direction, i.e high single figures in a strong to moderate north easterly wind. It should be a good drying wind though. There is a possibility that some of that cloud cover coming in from The Humber and The Wash will be thick enough to fall as a mizzly, drizzle.

Looking ahead to the weekend and on the whole it looks like a continuation of Thursday and Friday, that is dry, dull and cool with very little in the way of sunshine as lots of cloud cover is pushed across the U.K and Ireland on a slightly lighter north east wind. Again some of that cloud cover may be thick enough to fall as drizzle and light rain along eastern coasts.

Weather Outlook

So I think next week will start out pretty similar to the weekend, that is dry and settled with plenty of cloud cover. As we progress into Tuesday we see the first signs of change over Scotland as a northerly low pressure system begins to edge its way in and then push down from Scotland through Wednesday bringing a more unsettled feel to the weather for the north and west. It should feel slightly milder as the wind swings round to the south west but because this is another northerly low pressure system, maybe not. By Thursday I think we will have showers of rain, possibly falling as sleet and snow over the higher ground of Scotland and Northern England accompanied by a strong north westerly wind. So closing out next week and into the weekend I think we will be unsettled and possibly milder as a stronger westerly air stream takes over at the weekend. Mild and westerly winds in the winter usually only mean one thing though and that could be more rain 🙁

Agronomic Notes



First off another thank you to Tracey Walker and all at the BIGGA team for the invite to speak at and the organisation of the South West and South Wales BIGGA Regional Conference. It was a well-attended event and hopefully useful for everyone who made the effort with some very good speakers (aside from me that is). I’m also grateful to James at Long Ashton and Richard at Burnham for the local weather data that allowed me to make comparisons relevant to the attending audience, cheers lads, appreciated. That’s pretty much the last of my talks now for this year so you can all relax now 🙂

Disease Pressure

The one benefit of our cool and wet and then cool and dry weather outlook will be a lessening of disease pressure with none of the high night temperature / high humidity scenarios experienced last week.


The data from Long Ashton clearly shows the 3 peaks in grass growth and also disease populations this autumn culminating in last weeks hIgh disease pressure period when night temperatures and day temperatures were pretty much equivalent.

It is these peaks that have to be managed going forward with a limited but effective (I believe) range of fungicides available to the end -user. Stop the Microdochium nivale population establishing during this period and you’ll be more assured of lower disease pressure thereafter. On the flip-side if you have incurred some scarring during this period then I’d have expected to see renewed activity around the circumference of the disease scar last week for reasons I have explained before. Thankfully with this week’s temperature reduction and from Wednesday, lower humidity (due to strong north easterly winds) I think we will have weathered the worst for the time-being.


You can see the outlook for grass growth over the next week is minimal with a total of 1.0 for this location in Berkshire, 0.1 for Central Scotland (not a lot happening there then!), 0.4 for Leinster and 0.2 for Limerick over in Ireland. In other words, little growth and little opportunity to do anything about it anyway because of the strengthening wind later this week. (so no spray days until next week I’d say and then it’ll only be for a short interval)

For this reason I’d expect to see some of the other pathogens out and about last week which included Red Thread, Superficial Fairy Ring / Thatch Collapse, Pink Patch, Ectoparasitic Nematodes and the like, to be put to bed and a lessening of their negative effect on the plant.

Dry Autumn / Salty Boreholes !

Not for everyone this, but an email and some water sample results from a colleague over in the east of England reminded of a scenario I hadn’t seen or heard of for years.

During very dry summer and autumn periods it is a fact that in some locations the freshwater table shrinks inland and is followed inland by the salt water table from the sea. This can have the unwelcome consequence of a golf or sports clubs borehole suddenly changing from freshwater to brackish water if they’re located close (ish) to the sea. I’ve noted this in South Wales, the North East of England, Essex and Kent before. Now although it sounds quite dramatic, the issue rarely has serious consequences because although sodium levels rise, if there are good levels of calcium and magnesium also present, then the sodium is buffered and doesn’t present an issue. (This relationship is measured by the Sodium Absorption Ratio or SAR for short)

If calcium and magnesium levels are low though, you will see an accumulation of sodium in the profile, in fact in my experience, right at the top of the rootzone profile and this can cause issues with respect to surface root scorch, particularly after application of a quick release fertiliser. (Because it releases additional ions that add to the high background ion level from the sodium and chloride). As the autumn and winter rains arrive, the situation corrects itself as the freshwater table pushes out again towards the sea.

Interesting one that and observed last week in some water samples from the East of England.

Ok that’s me for this week, I hope you weather the storms and the windchill and let’s hope for better things to close out November.

All the best.

Mark Hunt