Monthly Archives: May 2017

May 22nd


Hi All,

Well what a difference a week maNetweather170517kes meteorologically…. this time last week we were sitting cool and dry and we start this week on the back of some pretty comprehensive rain for most areas over the last 5 days or so.

We hit 28.9mm of rain on the 17th May and followed that up with another 10mm over the next few days so a really welcome drop of rain indeed.

The rain pushed up from the south coast of England in a pretty tight band (see image left) so I think the far west probably missed the worst because the band then progressed eastwards to give East Anglia and Kent heavy rain…It is a good job we got some too because we have some heat building this week and without it we’d be fried for sure…


General Weather Situation

So we start this week with that low pressure system still bringing unsettled weather to Ireland, the north west of England and Scotland. So it will be the case today with a band of light rain pushing into the west coast of Munster and Connacht through the morning and heading north and east so the middle and east coast of Ireland will probably miss this. This rain band reaches the north west of England, south and north west of Scotland by the afternoon and tracks east over Scotland picking up in intensity as it does so through the afternoon and early evening so a pretty wet day for Scotland. A real north-south divide on Monday because south of The Pennines we have a lovely, settled day with hazy cloud and sunshine. That northerly rain may just dip down over The Pennines later in the day but for most of England and all of Wales, a lovely day with temperatures pushing into the low twenties aided by a light southerly wind. Under the effects of that rain across the west and north you’ll see more like 16-17°C and possibly accompanied by some thunder and lightning as well over Scotland.

Onto Tuesday and we have a dry outlook for all areas, possibly starting off with some low lying, heavy cloud for Scotland and some accompanying mizzly drizzle, but this will clear during the morning to leave a nice settled day. Some again fine and dry with settled conditions and hazy sunshine for England, Wales and Ireland. Later in the day they’ll be more in the way of cloud cover across the west of Ireland, Connacht particularly and this may bring some light rain off the sea. A bit of a shift in the wind to north westerly / westerly will keep temperatures in the very pleasant high teens / low twenties for most areas with just Scotland being a little lower because of that cloud cover. Continuing the trend of being mild overnight so just low-teen night-time temperatures likely.

For Wednesday we have some rain move in overnight into north west Scotland and this will push a little further south and east through the course of Wednesday morning but most of Scotland will stay dry. Another dry day for Ireland, Wales and England with temperatures beginning to push up into the low twenties in the absence of cloud cover the Wales and England, so maybe low to mid-twenties possible as a warm high pressure system comes in from the west. During the afternoon, that rain over north west Scotland fizzles out but leaves a legacy of thick, low cloud cover into the night.

Thursday sees another cracking day on the cards and even warmer I think as that high really establishes itself. So starting the day with hazy sunshine but later that cloud cover will break to give unbroken sunshine for the entire U.K and Ireland and there’s not many days of the year that I type that !

As the heat builds it may get high enough to trigger some thunderstorms but since these could start from heat reflected off the top of a warehouse roof or from cars in a car park, I’m not even going to bother suggesting where and when.  Remember you can access the ATD Lightning Detector link by clicking here and this will show you current strikes, frequency and time and will update ever 15 minutes..It may come in handy over the weekend as well. So I think mid-twenties is likely on Thursday with most places in the low twenties easily. Winds will be light to moderate and variable in direction dependent on your location.


So we close out a lovely week on Friday with most areas enjoying another fine and beautiful day and that’s good because I’m moving house and don’t want to do it in the rain !. There is however a low pressure system sitting out in The Atlantic and this may dictate the weather for the weekend and early part of next week dependent on its behaviour. This low pressure system may just bring some rain for west Munster and Connacht on Friday morning and it will push slightly inland as well as tracking north during the afternoon maybe just reaching west Leinster me thinks. Across The Irish Sea into Wales, England and Scotland, another cracking day with hot sunshine after the early cloud cover has lifted. Again we will see a risk of that heat triggering off thunderstorms later in the day.

So are we set for a similar weekend’s weather ?

Hmmm this one will be tricky because of that low pressure system…

So I think we will see another nice day on Saturday for England, Wales and Scotland with plenty of heat around but that low pressure will be pushing some rain over Ireland and I think through the second part of Saturday that moisture will come into the U.K from the west / south-west. When moist air hits hot air then we have a recipe for thunderstorms and this will be the case I think on Saturday afternoon, evening and night with rain likely to push across the U.K overnight. So likely a wet Saturday but drier Sunday for Ireland and a hot Saturday, wet afternoon, evening and then possibly a nice Sunday as that rain quickly exits north and east for the U.K.

Weather Outlook

So next week looks like being a re-run of this week with high pressure set to push in and bring settled, warm and potentially hot conditions for the first part of the week at least. Thereafter there’s a risk of low pressure coming in to bring rain and cooler temperatures and again a likelihood of thunderstorms if that is indeed the case. The only potential fly in the ointment is that low pressure system and there is a rick it may hang around early next week, we will see, opinions on this are divided.

Agronomic Notes

Disease Activity

Not suprising really when you have an increase in humidity / soil moisture after a sustained period of dry weather that we see a corresponding increase in pathogen activity.

Lots of Superficial Fairy Ring and general mushroom growth triggered by that rainfall. These fungi tend to increase the hydrophobic nature of the rootzone and so you’ll see signs of water repellency and grass stress where they are active. Key to management is to ascertain at what depth the fungi is active and to do this take a core from the affected area, lay it on its side and drop water along the profile. Where the water beads up the soil is hydrophobic and this is where you need to concentrate your wetting agent application and if you’re so inclined a Strobilurin fungicide. If it is deep then consider light spiking before application.

HydrophobicFairyRingCoreFor me Fairy RIngs aren’t one of the worst diseases (unless you have a lot of surface fibre that is) and tend to come and go with humidity but aesthetically they can be detrimental to the eye.


That humidity is also likely to have triggered off some Waitea Patch (above) because it is a disease that loves moisture / humdity . Though its appearance is very similar to Superficial Fairy Ring, it is from a completely different pathogen family being a Rhizoctonia rather than Basidiomycetes species. The difference is that there is no mushroom type smell in the rootzone, no depression in the patches and sometimes you may see mycelium on the surface. Fortunately the same fungicide actives tend to work on both diseases so if you can’t tell the difference and you decide to treat it isn’t the end of the world.


Plenty of Microdochium nivale around as well especially at the end of last week and over the last weekend, though I expect activity to decline as heat builds this week and we lose surface moisture. That said it could re-occur again when and if we get those thunderstorms during the latter part of the week / weekend. Treatment with a fungicide at this time of year is tricky because as you’ll see from the next section, we will have a lot of growth this week. The flipside of this is that although you may indeed see a lot of Microdochium patches, if the disease hasn’t damaged the crown of the grass plant then it will be able to regenerate and grow out quickly in the week ahead.

Growth Flush and E.T Stress…


The first thing you’ll notice (hopefully) is the amount of GDD and Growth Potential forecast for this week, in short, it’s alot. For instance a projected G.P of 6.7 for this area of England (North London) will mean that turf is growing in close to optimum temperature conditions. Bearing in mind the highest G.P reading you can get is 1.0, then the maximum for any 7-day period is 7.0. So 6.7 represents turf growing at close to 96% of optimum, temperature-wise.

PGR Applications..Lot’s of clippings likely this week !

On this score it’s a good week to use a PGR to lock down turf and I’d be doing it early in the week before it goes under any stress. I mention stress because you can see for England and Wales, the predicted E.T loss from the turf is 29mm and 23mm respectively so we will lose a good chunk of what we got last week in evaporation from the rootzone surface.  This is why in those areas you need to apply anything that might knock turf back a bit early in the week before the heat (and E.T) and stress builds.

With a Selective Herbicide..

Applying a selective herbicide and a PGR will work well this week provided the two products are compatible both in the spray tank and biologically when applied to the grass plant (always check with your supplier on both counts). Treating weeds on outfield, bunker banks and the like and applying a PGR (with maybe a light rate of tankmix compatible iron) is a job well done in my books under these conditions. Bear in mind with your PGR rate, the type of grasses you’re applying to because as we know, not every grass species reacts the same to a T.E PGR application with Perennial Ryegrass the least-affected and Poa annua var. annua, the most I think.

Two months of contrast – April 2017 and May 2017….

You know we spend alot of time racing along and seldom do we look back at yesterday, last week or even last month, such is the pace of modern-day life (or maybe it’s just me :)), but I thought it would be useful to look back at April and then contrast it with May to date (and projected data to month end) so you can see how strinkingly different the two months are from a growth perspective.

April was characterised by cool, easterly winds, no rain and low night time temperatures and you’ll see from the data below, there were only two days out of 30 that the Growth Potential exceeded 0.6, in other words, good growing conditions.

Contrast that with May then during which I think we will have 20 days where the G.P will exceed 0.6 !

You can download these graphs here


Ok that’s me…

They’ll be no blog next week as I am moving house and therefore taking some time off. (The chance of BT not screwing up my Broadband is I think low)…..The good news is one of my Hedgepiglets obviously survived whatever took four of them a month ago and was out feeding last night. Little does he or she know that as soon as I have my new garden looking less like an extension of a dining room and more like a naturalised garden, he will be ‘moved’. I also intend to offer it as a site for Hedgehogs from animal rescue 🙂

All the best…have fun with the clippings this week and dig out that factor 30, you’ll need it…

Mark Hunt

May 15th


Hi All,


As predicted the first rains for pretty much 6-7 weeks arrived at the end of last week and very gratefully received they were too by golf course, sports pitch and garden alike.

Above is a schematic of the rain currently moving north east across the U.K and Ireland so you can see the some areas are in for a clattering. Last week I did a talk to the south west Scotland BIGGA section near Irvine, it was the driest I’ve ever seen Scotland and I promised them rain and better night temperatures, well lads you have it now and sorry my talk kept you from your golf 🙂

There’s plenty more rain to come this week, but it’s not all good news. Last week’s rain brought the first humidity we have experienced for a good while and that triggered a number of turfgrass pathogens into action. We will see more of that this week I’m sure…..

General Weather Situation

So starting off Monday we have a heavy rain front crossing Ireland and the U.K from the west and moving north and east. So during the morning this rain will push north and eastwards across Ireland and the U.K moving into central and eastern parts by the early afternoon. It won’t be particularly heavy rain for most with the exception I think of The Lake District and the south west / Central Scotland where it could be potentially heavy. Pushed along by moderate to strong southerly winds we will see a succession of showers across the U.K and Ireland but potentially the south east of England will miss the majority. Before you curse your luck down there, your time will come this week 🙂 Ireland should see a brighter afternoon as will the U.K across some parts but still plenty of showers around. Temperature-wise, mid to high teens are to be expected after a mild night but perhaps touching 20°C across Ireland on Monday.

Overnight into Tuesday and another tight band of rain is expected to just brush south east Munster and Leinster and then push into the north west of England, south, west and north Wales and The Borders by the morning rush hour. South and central areas of England are set to start dry and noticeably warmer after a very muggy night indeed when I expect temperatures to remain low to mid-teens. Through the morning and afternoon we will see more persistent rain across North Wales, the north west and far south west of Scotland as well as northern England. For Ireland they’ll be plenty of showers across the west coast of Munster and Connacht and some of these may push across to Leinster during the morning.  By the late afternoon these will clear across Connacht and leave a dry end to Tuesday for you. The same is true for the U.K, a dry end to the day with only the risk of showers moving along the south coast / I.O.W type area as darkness falls. Temperature-wise, the heat builds across the southern half of the U.K with warm south westerly winds, so expect low twenties here. Further north for northern England and Scotland a couple of degrees lower under that cloud cover. The same for Ireland.

Moving briskly along to Wednesday and we’ll see rain pushing into the southern half of the U.K overnight, especially along the south coast and south east of England which has missed out on the majority of the rainfall action up until now. Further north and west of this band of rain, it’ll be a dry, pleasant morning with plenty of cloud but also some sunny intervals. During the late morning, afternoon the rising tempertaure will kick off some showers across Ireland and the north west of Scotland. At the same time, that heavy band of rain affecting the south of England will move north slowly (great it’ll follow me home then 🙁 ) during the afternoon on Wednesday pushing into The Midlands, East Anglia and eastern England up to The Humber Estuary I think.  That band of rain will be very slow moving so that means it’ll be heavy and if you are under it, expect some heavish rainfall totals. By Wednesday night it will still be affecting the East Midlands and eastern England whereas the rest of the U.K and Ireland should finish dry. Feeling much cooler on Wednesday as the winds swing round more northerly / north westerly.

For Thursday we see that band of heavy rain finally clear the east of England but it wouldn’t surprise me if some areas receive an inch of rain through the course of Wednesday and early Thursday. Once that rain clears east it’ll be a dry start for most on Thursday with milder temperatures as well as the wind swings more westerly again. So a drier day on Thursday for all initially but during the late morning we will see some showers push into the west coast of Ireland and the south west and west coast of England and Wales up to The Borders. These showers will push eastwards over the course of Thursday afternoon and potentially consolidate across the south and east of England as we go through the day with a risk of some very heavy rain for the far south east on Thursday night. Milder on Thursday with mid-teens for most but feeling cooler than this across Ireland and Scotland with low teens here.

Closing out what will have been for some a wet week and Friday is set to bring heavy rain overnight to the south east and east of England and this will still be present by morning rush hour pushing up central and eastern England into the north and east early doors. Another day of showers for Ireland but skies will clear across England as that main rain front pushes through. So during Friday afternoon that rain is projected to affect northern England and southern Scotland clearing The Midlands by tea time just in time for me to go out and get muddy on the mountain bike :). Again that rain front will be slow-moving so the north of England and southern Scotland along with the North of Ireland may see a very wet end to the week indeed. Closing out Friday that rain will clear the north and push into the north east of Scotland turning wintry over the hills and mountains. Temperature-wise, low to mid-teens I think for most and maybe a little cooler again across Ireland and Scotland with light to moderate westerly winds in situ.


So how are we looking for the weekend ?

Well as you can see from the above weather projection for Sunday, we have a cool, low pressure system set to sit right over us so that means cool and unsettled with potentially more heavy rain across the east and central areas of the U.K later on Saturday and through Sunday as well. As you can see the colours are greens and light blue which means cool as well as a north easterly wind is set to take the edge off the temperatures through the course of the 2nd part of the weekend. So my prognosis is plenty of rain around for the U.K and Ireland over the whole of the weekend with cool temperatures courtesy of that northerly airstream.

Weather Outlook

So it looks like we will start next week cool and unsettled with that low pressure system still sitting over us and it’ll only slowly move away eastwards over the course of Tuesday leaving a dry day for Wednesday. Enjoy it because by late Wednesday we see a new Atlantic low pressure system set to rattle in so that’ll displace the cooler temperatures and bring a milder, south westerly airstream but will plenty of rain so brace yourselves for a wet, windy and wild end to next week if the weather pans out as I think it will.

Agronomic Notes

The rainfall was welcome for sure but it is always a game of plus and minus this turf lark and you rarely get one without the other !

Disease Activity


So with rainfall comes humidity and with humidity a wet grass leaf and with a wet grass leaf comes disease…

You can clearly see from the graph below the significant effect on night temperature and humdity a change in wind direction and rainfall brought about last week…(Black box area)


From the above you can clearly see how the night temperature (blue dotted line) increased markedly from 11th May and you can also see the effect on humidity once the rain arrived. It shot straight up > 95% which is ideal for the development of turfgrass pathogens.

So if you’re seeing Microdochium nivale, Superficial Fairy Ring, Waitea Patch, maybe Red Thread (though I haven’t as yet) possibly, then this is the reason why….

Growth Flush


Just to add a further sprinkle of negativity I’d expect to see more this week because we have a temperature spike this week that’ll result in both a grass growth and a disease flush on Tuesday for the southern and central regions of the U.K, whereas Ireland will be getting their growth flush today because of the warmer temperatures out west. Scotland will also see a mini-version of this over Monday and Tuesday.

Time to work surfaces…

This growth flush may be very welcome where greens and other areas just needed a bit of a helping hand to get a surface back to 100%. Importantly it’ll also mean that you have the ability to start verticutting, brushing and grooming, light spiking, microtining, etc and then topdressing because we have consistent growth.


Now ok it’ll go cool after this flush and then coolish at the end of the week / weekend but I still think we will be warm enough to keep some consistency of growth going thereafter and for sure the soil will be a whole lot warmer. A good time to work an overseeder over thin areas from winter wear or as I saw last week, on tees affected by grazing from resident Leatherjacket grubs..


Plenty of large resident grubs about currently and I’ve seen the first Daddy Long Legs adults emerging so that’s the first hatch of the year.

Nutrition and PGR’s going forward…

So no immediate need for nutrition this week because we will have the afore-mentioned growth flush and with mild night time temperatures for the first part of the week, that’ll keep us ticking. Yes we will go cooler after this but I think the warmer soil and rain will keep consistent growth through this period until we return to the milder, south westerly airstream mid-week, next week, so maybe just iron to maintain colour and keep any disease pinned back for the time-being. Do we apply a PGR with this knowing that the growth is flushing ? Well I don’t think we will need to rely too heavily rate-wise with a PGR application, but keeping things under control with a light application of TE wouldn’t go amiss for sure with a higher rate on areas like tees, outfields and the like. My point is with the wildly fluctuating temperatures we shouldn’t go too heavy-handed with any application until we have stability.

Ok that’s it for this week, enjoy (if that’s the right word) the rain 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt









May 8th


Hi All,

MorningThrushWith the loss of all of my Hedgepiglets a month ago, (ripped apart by an unknown predator) nature can be cruel, but it can also make you smile. This little chap sits outside my back door every morning waiting for some suet sprinkles and chirps excitedly when I emerge with a handful. Little things I know please little minds, but I don’t care, it makes me smile 🙂

So the east / west split continues with beautiful weather in the east and north of the U.K and Ireland and cool, dull in the south and east with an ever-present cold north easterly wind that seems to blow all day and all night. And very dry in just about all areas as well.


Last week in my outlook my hunch was that our resident high would finally move away at the end of this week and be replaced by low pressure and that’s the way it indeed looks, so we definitely have an unsettled period of weather on the way with rain for all areas at the end of the week and over the weekend as well. You can see the low pressure system in blue, mid-image on the projection for next Monday above. I’ll be very glad to see the back of those easterly winds, they’re aren’t great for grass and they make fishing challenging as well 🙂

General Weather Situation

Monday to Tuesday are in one chunk today or else I just begin to sound like a scratched record. A scratched record that says the east and south east of the U.K will be subject to more of that north easterly wind pushing cloud cover in overnight through Monday and Tuesday that slowly burns off in the day to be replaced by sunny intervals but staying cool and dry. For Ireland, Wales, the west of England and up to Scotland you are further away from that cold air mass so really pleasant weather for you with warmer days pushing up to mid-high teens and long spells of unbroken sunshine and again, you’re dry. The penalty if you can call it that is cooler nights due to less cloud cover.

Through Tuesday that easterly-biased wind begins to decline in strength and then on Wednesday we see a shift in the wind as it begins to turn southerly so a milder day for those areas in the south and east that have really struggled over the past 7-10 days with that wind on Wednesday.  Warm in the west, across Ireland but for Scotland we see more cloud cover push in from the north east and this will bring some rain to the north east of area and some mizzly, drizzle across Central Scotland later in the day. Overnight that brief sojourn from the easterly wind is lost and we return to an easterly theme wind-wise.

For Thursday we remain dry over most of the U.K and Ireland and pleasant temperature-wise in the south, east and west despite that easterly wind returning for one last reminder of its presence. More in the way of cloud cover for Scotland and some of it heavy enough for some more mizzle and light rain, feeling much cooler here as well compared to the start of the week. In the south of England, a much brighter day, less cloud cover and reasonable temperatures. Ireland follows a similar pattern, dry with maybe more in the way of cloud cover for the west and north west of Ireland with sunnier intervals further south and east.

Closing out the week and Friday is our change day.  Overnight we see some rain push into the south west of England and south east of Ireland and this rain front will slowly push north and eastwards through the course of Friday morning aided by a changing wind direction to the south and south west reaching South Wales by mid-morning on Friday I think. For Ireland this rain (the first for you for a good while) will push up country from the south again through the course of Friday morning. Last week I was asked for ‘warm rain’ when it does finally arrive and it’ll be mild enough so not bad really Martin 🙂 A much cloudier day on Friday because of the arrival of that low pressure system so dull in the south and Central England with breaks in the cloud the further north you go.  Lighter winds as well that gradually complete the east / south transition through the mid-part of Friday. Scotland looks to close out the week dull and cool I’m afraid with thickening cloud from the south. Through Friday afternoon we see the cloud thicken enough to give mizzly drizzle and light rain across England whilst that Irish rain will have covered the whole country by the evening rush hour but it’ll be light by the time it reaches the north. Through the course of the evening we see that rain push in across Wales and England so most places catching some I think from Friday night onwards.

So how does the weekend look ?

Well Saturday looks unsettled, a sunshine and showers day with rain fronts pushing up from the south west of England right from the off, these will consolidate into longer spells of rain for all areas later in the day on Saturday. The same for the north of England and Scotland, rain showers from the off consolidating as we go through the day to longer spells of heavier rain. South west winds mean it’ll be mild though so all is not lost. Some areas may not see that rain until the 2nd part of Saturday and this could include Ireland. Sunday looks similar to me, windy and unsettled with frequent showers and longer spells of rain pushing up from the south west of England / Ireland on a brisk south westerly airstream. Temperature-wise I think 14-16°C will be the order of the day.

Weather Outlook

Now it’s important to state that along with last week there’s a good degree of uncertainty surrounding next week’s weather. Some models predict high pressure re-asserting itself as we start the week, whereas Unisys looks to continue the more unsettled theme.

So a feature of next week’s weather will be very strong winds as we see a battle develop from an advancing, warm, Atlantic high pressure system and this cool low pressure system that arrives at the end of this week. So for the start of next week we continue the unsettled theme from the weekend with strong south westerly winds pushing rain in across country. More for the north and west I think on Tuesday as you pick up some heavier rain and stronger winds. All areas continue unsettled and cooler on Wednesday as the wind swings more northerly and this will push the rain into southern areas as well mid-week. Thereafter is tricky (and the limit of my projections) but I think high pressure will assert itself from the west later on next week to give warmer and more settled conditions.

Agronomic Notes

It’s all looking a bit glassy out there…

With continual day and night wind from the east and a continuation of a long, dry spell for many, turf quality is just about hanging in there at the moment. Poa annua is either seeding or getting ready to seed so uptake from foliar applications is not great at the moment because most energy is being tranlocated from the bottom leaves of the grass plant upward. Foliars and liquid irons on fine turf aren’t really resulting in their normal levels of enhanced presentation because the grass plant is shut down due to dessication and as hinted above, not in uptake mode. With food reserves moving from the older leaves to towards the seedhead, the former will lose colour giving that pasty appearance to the turf.

With constant drying winds the grass plant will be in water conservation mode so that means stomatal pores closed and leaf area minimised to reduce the surface area affected by the wind, both of these decrease the efficacy of foliar applications.

We will lose these winds by the end of the week and we will have rainfall, how much will depend upon your location, but we will see a reduction in E.T stress and with milder nights that may take the handbrake off Poa annua as we go through next week resulting in a seedhead flush towards the end of the week if that high pressure and warmer weather comes to pass…

Moisture Deficit – How dry are we ?

Ok, this is a subjective exercise because we all have different rainfall and evapotranspiration dynamics but I thought it would be interesting to look at how dry we really are using data from The Oxfordshire because I get rainfall and E.T data from this source (cheers Sean as per usual)

So first I charted out the daily rainfall from the start of the year vs. Daily E.T..

RainfallvsETThe OxJanApril

So you can already see the clear dynamic of a dry spring, that is descending rainfall totals as we progress from January to April vs. ascending E.T totals….

I then charted the monthly totals to look at whether we have retained a moisture surplus or ran a deficit in the soil as we have progressed through the spring..


So you can see that even in March we had a deficit of rainfall vs. E.T of -15.3mm but because the previous two months we were in surplus (which is usual) there was still plenty of moisture in the soil.

April really did the damage though with a monthly deficit of rainfall vs. E.T of -63.6mm and this meant that by the end of the month we were running an overall soil moisture deficit of -23.6mm y.t.d.

That trend has only increased as we have progressed through the first part of May with warm drying winds for the north and west and cool drying ones for the east and south and very little rainfall to boot.

You can download the bottom graph as a jpeg here


IMG_7105 IMG_7163

There’s some really odd looking disease at the moment which to all extents and purposes looks to me like Microdochium nivale but it doesn’t seem to respond to fungicide applications. I’m pretty sure it is M.nivale but I think that the lack of growth and plant uptake during April’s challenging conditions has meant it seems to be hanging around.

There may however be another rationale to explain it….



A Combination of Pathogens ?

It could be that we have a combination effect here with two pathogens at work.

The first being Microdochium nivale, the second, Plant Parasitic Nematodes (PPN’s) like the Spiral Nematodes shown above.(Thanks Kate, Colin for the image..)

Bearing in mind we are in a period of high plant stress then the effect of PPN’s feeding on the root system of a grass plant will be increased. If there’s disease also attacking the plant then what we would expect to see is disease symptoms that won’t readily grow out because the PPN’s and the weather are holding growth and recovery back.

Just to add further grist to the mill at the beginning of this blog I discussed why foliar applications of nutrient and iron won’t be generating super effects on fine turf at present because the grass plant is non-receptive and I see no reason to think this would be any different from application of a fungicide, whether that be systemic or contact (or both).

With the changing conditions forecast for the end of this week, i.e rainfall, south west wind and better night temperatures, we should see the handbrake lifted on Poa growth and that should mean it’ll start to grow away from the disease and you’ll get recovery. It may also mean that the disease looks active again because we’ll pick up an increase in humidity.

Going Foward


You can really see the effect of the change in wind direction and the arrival of a low pressure system in the Meteo Turf graphic from my location in dull, dreary and dry Leicestershire.

Up until Friday we have the same sort of daily Growth Potential that we seem to have had now for yonks, 0.2-0.3, in other words not much of anything.

Cue Friday and the arrival of those south westerly winds, increase in night temperatures and some expected rainfall and the daily Growth Potential doubles.

So if you get an opportunity to make an application towards the end of this week with the decreasing winds, it could be well placed.

Ok that’s all for this week, the Thrush needs feeding again and my Intray has collapsed…

All the best..

Mark Hunt


May 2nd


Hi All,

Well after a not so bad Bank Holiday weekend and a welcome drop of rain (6mm) on Sunday night (our first for a month) we are all set fair to start May. Unfortunately the high pressure and warm southerly airstream projected last week has gone off kilter and it’s now projected to tilt on its side and pull in easterly winds instead for England. Our loss is a Celtic gain though and particularly Scotland’s because the warmer part of the high will be further west and north so you’ll see a cracking week temperature-wise up north and better temperatures the further west you are. Even for the south of the U.K, it won’t be the end of the world because at least we’ll keep half-decent night temperatures and that’ll help growth along a bit, however easterlies rarely bring rain, (though some may drift off the continent this week) and that means we’ll continue dry for the foreseeable. So not the best news I know, not the worst either, but you can put that factor 30 on hold for the foreseeable 🙂

General Weather Situation

Ok so we kick off Tuesday with a dry day and plenty of spring sunshne out there on offer. That breezy east / north easterly wind will be in from the off so that will pull some cloud cover off The North Sea through the day and that’ll peg back temperatures on the east coastline of the U.K particularly. Later on in the day there’s a risk of rain pushing over from France into the south east and south coast of England so a chance of a drop of welcome rain tonight in those areas. Temperature-wise, expect 12-13°C on the east coast but across the west coast, Wales and Ireland, it’ll be 3-4°C warmer so a much nicer day here. Scotland will also be 2-3°C warmer so here as well a lovely day. The only plus side for the south of England is that with the ever-present cloud cover departs the risk of frost.


Quickly onto Wednesday and the theme for the week is kind of set as this graphic (courtesy of Meteoblue) shows with cloud cover coming in off The North Sea and pegging back temperatures for south and particularly east England whereas further north and west, you’ll have lovely sunshine. So after some rain overnight for the south east of England, Wednesday promises to be a lovely day for Ireland, most of Wales, the north of England and Scotland with lots of sunshine. For England though certainly from The Humber estuary down we’ll have thick cloud cover off The North Sea so a dull and bloody cold day for sure with a pronounced north easterly wind. Bah Humbug. Temperature-wise expect 14 -17°C for Wales, the north west of England, Scotland and Ireland and then lop a good chunk off that for Central England with 11-13°C likely under that cloud, some of which may be heavy enough for some mizzly drizzle.

Thursday sees a continuation of the above weather pattern with cloud again for the south of England but this time it stretches over to Wales. Less cloud about north of this though so The Midlands will see some sunshine as will Scotland and the north of England. That band of cloud will push over the Irish Sea into the south of Leinster and Munster so more cloud cover as well for Ireland but it’ll still feel pleasantly warm. That wind will still be brisk to moderate and perhaps more easterly than north easterly on Thursday and that’s why the cloud cover and temperatures are a wee bit better. A mild night again with temperatures not set to drop below 7-8°C and that’ll help growth somewhat.

Closing out a short week on Friday we see that cloud cover thicken late on Thursday across the south east of England, dense enough for some drizzle in places I’m guessing. Through the course of Friday morning that cloud cover sinks south and departs into The Channel so Friday looks to be a much better end of the week for everyone with lots of sunshine and some reasonable temperatures. Still though we will have that ever-present, easterly wind in situ and that’ll make things feel cooler across the east, but nice out of the wind mind. Temperature-wise expect 14 -17°C for Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland.

The upcoming weekend doesn’t look half bad but they’ll be a subtle shift in the wind direction from easterly to northerly through the course of Saturday night so you’d expect this to mean it’ll be cooler for Scotland. Not a bit of it and a cracking weekend in prospect as I sit and type this with temperatures likely to hit 20°C up there. It’ll be a real case of east / west divide though because it’s likely that we will still see some thicker cloud cover particularly across the north east of England on Saturday and this will make it a dull, cool day there. This cloud cover will drift down along the east coast during Saturday and push into central areas overnight into Sunday so more in the way of cloud and slightly cooler on Sunday for England with a light to moderate northerly wind in situ. For Ireland, Wales the west / north west of England and Scotland, no such worries here as Sunday looks to be a beautiful sunny day with pleasant temperatures pushing up in the high teens.

So the bottom line is if you’re thinking about nipping off for the weekend and you live in England, point the car, motorcycle, bike, camper (delete where applicable) westwards !


Image courtesy of Netweather Extra

Weather Outlook

When you have a jet stream that is so fragmented, (see above) it’s little wonder that long term, 10-day weather forecasts can change, so trying to predict next week’s weather is going to be tricky. That said the first part of the week is easy because it looks like high pressure will still be dominant so I think next Monday looks warm and dry and that’s the way we should stay with a change in the wind direction to more southerly as we get to mid-week.

Now low pressure systems are stacking up east, west and north of the resident high so you’d think they’d be a good chance that at some point one of these is set to dominate and that’s the way it looks for the end of next week with an Atlantic low pressure (our first for yonks) set to push in from Friday next week and over the weekend so south westerly winds and rain for most parts of the U.K and Ireland could be on the cards. That’s what all 3 long-term models are indicating so there’s a good chance it may well happen 🙂

Agronomic Notes

Ok first up it’s a look at April 2017, a month I’m sure that will be looked back on as not particularly easy from a managing surfaces perspective whether that be fine turf or the conversion of winter sports pitches to cricket outfields in a schools scenario.

GDD Comparison

First off with the April comparison, we will look at our set location of Thame.



So looking at our GDD figure for April 2017, we see we hit 98.25 for the month compared to 119 for March, so the first thing we can ascertain is that March 2017 was a warmer month than April 2017, surely some mistake ?,

No that’s the way it played out and re-affirms my assertion that the calendar and turfgrass management don’t sleep in the same bed together 🙂

Cumulatively of course we are racing ahead because of the warm 2nd half of February and March with close on the highest cumulative GDD figure (280.8 y.t.d) since we have been recording the data (just pipped by 2011 though I can’t remember that being a good growth)

U.K Site Comparison

Thanks to everyone for sending their data in, this week we can look at GDD and rainfall the length of the U.K.


The first thing that’s apparent here is the lack of rainfall and that’s part of the reason April 2017 has been a tough month in most areas to get consistent grass growth. Those GDD weren’t spread evenly across the month either as you’ll see later in the blog when we dig into the month proper to see the pattern of growth.

Irish Site Comparison


Now there’s not many times that I’d put this data together and then look enviously at Valentia’s rainfall total for the month because usually it’s rather high (as a comparison it was 104mm in April 2016 ). So Ireland is dry as well, joining the U.K in having a very dry start to the year.

Pattern of growth and rainfall….It’s all about the direction of the wind….

You may or may not have noticed that it seems like it has been a long while since we had a continuous south westerly wind ushering in an Atlantic low pressure system ?

So this month I decided to do some delving into wind direction to see if there’s anything in this….

Below is a cute little graphic (well I like it but then I am sad…) called a wind rose and I’ve used it to show the number of days that the wind blew from different directions. I’ve used data from Sean at The Oxfordshire because he always includes wind direction 🙂

WindroseApril2017 WinddirectionApril2017_2

So the first thing you should notice is that we had plenty of days when the wind wasn’t in the direction that is normally associated with good day and more critically, good night temperatures. This would normally be S, SSW, SW, WSW, W.

Actually the chart shows that for nigh on 2/3 of the month it wasn’t in the right direction to provide good day and night temperatures for growth. This was because rather than having low pressure systems from the west or south west, we had high pressure systems from the north or east.

Just as a refresher if night time temperatures are low it really impacts on the potential of the grass plant to grow…This graphic which I’ve put up before shows two different scenario’s, one with good night time temperatures and one without and you can see the effect on Growth Potential.


So temperature was growth-limiting in April 2017 because of the high frequency of days when night time temperatures were low.

But that wasn’t the only growth-limiting factor, we were also dry….very dry in fact..

Growth Potential and Rainfall – April 2017

So let’s drill down into April 2017 and see where and when the growth occurred and the same for rainfall….

GPRainfallApril2017Thame GPRainfallApril2017Fife GPRainfallApril2017Dublin

You don’t have to be a resident rocket scientist to figure out that the non-existent top graph denotes a) Low daily rainfall events and b) High dry day frequency.

High Moisture Deficit

If you look at rainfall vs. evapotranspiration through the month of April for our Thame location, the stats indicate that they received 6.2mm of rainfall and 69.8mm of E.T, so they had a moisture deficit of 63.6mm.

That means if they were working to replace 80% of the E.T loss / moisture deficit, they’d have had to supply 50.88mm of rain through irrigation, now that’s a lot of water to be applying.

Just to add a further negative note, many facilities reservoirs used for irrigation water are extremely low because of the dry winter and this points to a tough time coming in the summer unless Mother Nature decides to balance the rainfall books.

Growth-wise we can see that we had temperatures consistent enough to generate good spring growth for ;

Thame – 9 out of 30 days = 30% of the month

Fife –       6 out of 30 days = 20% of the month

Dublin – 3 out of 30 days = 10% of the month

Remember what I said about wind direction and growth and here we can see the relationship is confirmed using the Thame location data. So for 39.9% of the month the wind was in the right direction to provide good day and night temperatures and that tallies closely with the % of days when the G.P figure required for good spring growth. was 0.4 or above.

I think this shows quite clearly that April 2017 was a bruising month for growing grass because it was either limited by temperature or moisture or both !

Looking ahead…

As my outlook suggests I think we have a pretty dry picture for the next 7-10 days with the exception of some continental rainfall creeping across The Channel. We will also be cool in the areas of the U.K affected by the cloud cover pushed in off The North Sea so don’t expect bundles of growth too quickly in those areas. Happily one location’s pain is another’s gain because the west and north will have better day and night temperatures this week and that means some good growth prospects (provided you have irrigation 🙂 )

Here you can see the projections for the next week across different locations….


Accepting the fact that we are dry we should be able to get a good response from a foliar application this week, especially if it is applied towards the end of the week as temperatures look to rise (even in England) but of course you’ll need a grass plant that is irrigated or that benefitted from last weekend’s rain else you won’t get a growth response.

Manage soil moisture and plant stress

So management of soil moisture levels going forward over the next 7-10 days will be hyper-critical to ensuring a consistent surface and generating consistent growth. I’d suggest being careful when looking to carry out any operations that could add to plant stress including heavy lateral aeration and even something as straight-forward as applying a selective herbicide to outfields areas.

I’d also expect a continuation of the increase in Poa seedhead development as forecast last week because with better temperatures and drier rootzones, Poa will look to seed to survive.

Beyond the next week we can hope that we will see some consistent rainfall at the end of next week and that heralds a more stable, westerly airstream and in turn consistent growth.

Ok that’s all for this week, I think I’m charted out mentally 🙂

All the best..

Mark Hunt