Monthly Archives: June 2017

June 26th


Hi All,

This time last week we were sweltering (well some of us were) in high 20’s,JuneTrough low 30’s heat and we went on to record the hottest June day for 41 years measured at 34.5°C at Heathrow I think.

The projections back then for this week were a move from a hot peak in the jet stream to a cool and crucially wet trough and that’s where we are going for sure…Already we can see the first pulse of heavy rain just moving into the west of Ireland on rain radar. This trough will feature a succession of slow-moving, low pressure systems pushing in this week so that means rain, some of it heavy for the U.K and Ireland. So put away that factor 30 and get out your Nikwax and waterproofs because you’ll need them this week !

General Weather Situation

So Monday sees that first pulse of heavy rain pushing into Ireland and heading north east so the heaviest rain will affect Connacht, Donegal, the north of Ireland before pushing across country slowly until just the south east of Ireland escapes the rain till dusk. Remember how I said fronts would be slow-moving in this weather system well Monday is likely to be the only dry day for the U.K because the rain stays confined to Ireland giving a warm and pleasant day for much of England, Wales and Scotland with light to moderate, north westerly winds and temperatures in high teens, low twenties.

Overnight into Tuesday and that rain has pushed into Scotland bringing heavy rain to the south west of Scotland in particular. As we approach morning rush hour that rain will have moved south into northern England and a seperate front will push into The South West and along the south coast. By mid-morning Ireland looks to be clear from the last of the rain, meanwhile over The Irish Sea and it’s pushing up from The South West into South Wales and The Midlands joining up with the northern front of rain which is pushing southwards across the U.K. By early afternoon most of the U.K is covered by rain with some heavy pulses expected across the south coast, Bristol area, really following the M5 up into The Midlands I’d wager. So a pretty manky day when all is said and done but of course we need this rain desperately to top up irrigation lakes, river systems and the like, such has been the deficit this year. So mid to high teens away from the rain in Ireland where you’ll have a pleasant day and the same for areas across the U.K until the rain arrives when it’ll drop to mid-teens. Some areas may not see this rain till close of play Tuesday, but see it you will.

Moving onto Wednesday and that slow-moving low pressure revolves around on its axis to bring more rain and thick cloud across the U.K for Wednesday with heavy pulses expected across The Midlands, the east and north east coast of England. Ireland may see some rain across the north and west but this will clear through the morning to give a largely dry day before showers push in from the south west later in the day. That rain looks to stay more central and east-orientated through the day clearing Wales and the west by late morning to leave thicker cloud and showers remaining. By late afternoon / dusk that band of heavy rain will have moved up the north east coast into Scotland and it’ll push north during the evening but always more east in its orientation. So another pretty wet day for some areas of the U.K and temperatures barely making it into the mid-teens under that rain, maybe a degree or two higher for Ireland and the west.

By Thursday morning that pulse of heavy rain is affecting an area from The Pennines up to Scotland so here you can expect a very wet start to the day. The low pressure system begins to complete its third anti-clockwise rotation and in so doing moves the rain across Scotland and down into the north of Ireland by the morning rush hour.  Meanwhile more rain fronts will push in from the west across Ireland and into The South West and Wales through the morning, tracking eastwards. By the afternoon the top half of Ireland, drawing a line from the south of Leinster up to the north of Connacht, is affected by heavy rain as will be the majority of Scotland aside from the east. Through the afternoon that rain sinks south across the east of Ireland with the west missing the worst of it. It’ll also affect the west coast of England and Wales so central and eastern areas will remain reasonably dry in the main. A south westerly wind takes over from Thursday as the low spins on its axis and that’ll end up pushing rain into central areas on Friday. Mid to high teens again temperature-wise.

So we close out what will have been for some a very wet week bearing in mind Saturday marks the first day of July with more rain for Friday. So Friday looks to be rain for almost all areas as the low pressure begins its fourth rotation across the U.K. I mention this because normally low pressure systems move across the U.K and Ireland in 12-18 hours completing perhaps one rotation before moving off into The North Sea. When we have a trough in the jet stream it fixes weather systems in place and so they can go through multiple rotations leading to heavy, localised rainfall. So Friday sees thick cloud and heavy showers for most of the U.K and Ireland, with maybe the west coast of Ireland seeing less of the rain. Through the morning that rain moves eastwards across Scotland, Wales and England so all places are likely to see some rain pushed along on light to moderate westerly winds. As that rain moves east it clears Ireland and you might even see some sunshine there down in south Munster for Friday evening. Similar temperatures to Thursday with mid to high teens the order of the day.

The weekend outlook looks unsettled but maybe Saturday will be largely dry before strengthening north westerly winds push more rain fronts in from The Atlantic for Sunday for all parts of the U.K and Ireland.

Weather Outlook

So does the trough pattern continue or do we see a return to summer for the w/c 3rd July ?

Well at this stage it looks like the former, same, but different in that the low pressure systems will be the more usual Atlantic, rather than southerly-orientated ones. So I think we will start off next week with a pleasant Monday, warmer even as we get a brief hint of summer before the next low pressure system arrives to bring rain to Ireland later that day, sweeping north and east across into the U.K for Tuesday morning pushed along by some strong winds to boot. Thereafter we will be sunshine and showers for all but I think we have some heavier rain for the south west of Ireland / U.K waiting in the wings on Thursday to spin up for the end of the week / weekend.

Agronomic Notes

Last week was definitely an “Any ideas what this is” week with lots of turf maladies coming out of the woodwork.

If you took your surfaces through the heat and high E.T largely unscathed then you can give yourself a pat on the back for all the hand-watering, syringing and well-timed irrigation you carried out.

Deep aeration pays dividends during dry, hot periods of weather…

It’s not just a case of work carrfied out now either because organic matter management and decompaction using the vertidrain / Air2G2 for example really bears fruit during periods like these with better rooting in decompacted, higher oxygen content soils.

Below are a couple of nice pics sent in from sunny Kent (Thanks Toddy) showing quite clearly the line between winter vertidraining and non-vertidraining in terms of drought stress.

vertidrain2 vertidrain

A lot of people associate use of the vertidrain as a winter operation but I don’t agree because decompacting and more specifically, providing gaseous exchange and water movement during and prior to heat stress can be really advantageous as well as initiating new root development. I remember back in 2014 visiting a course during August with very bad Anthracnose and all bar 2 greens were heavily infected / affected by this disease. The two greens which were relatively unscathed were those that had been vertidrained during July. Makes you think doesn’t it….?

The same is true for organic matter control…

The temperature and humidity stats shown below are from a Central London location and show the run of high temperature days that we experienced and together with very high rates of evapotranspiration, they really pile the pressure on the grass plant, particularly when you take into account how (on greens) we remove most of the leaves required for photosynthesis and respiration and then expect the grass plant to cope with the situation !


If you have a compact surface fibre layer where the roots are bridged (growing horizontally, rather than downward into the rootzone) then the kind of weather we have had recently really piles the pressure on the poor old grass plant.


Organic matter heats up much more quickly than soil and so areas with high surface organic matter go under stress much more quickly. Those areas really stand out when we have a run of hot, dry weather with high E.T because they burn up quicker, tend to be more hydrophobic (so are harder to re-wet) because they contain mostly root matter which is naturally water-repellent and prehaps most importantly, the crown of the grass plant grows on the top of the fibre layer so is elevated and right in the firing line of high temperature stress.

The image below was featured in a presentation given by Bruce Clarke, Rutgers on Anthracnose during GIS2017 and was being used to highlight the benefit of summer topdressing and actually topdressing in particular when it comes to management of this disease.

You can see in the Poa annua plants on the left side of the image, the crown is growing on the surface and so is exposed to the worst of high temperature, not to mention wear and tear and the increased risk of coming into contact with the bottom blade during wetter conditions. The Poa in the centre and right has its crown deeper in the rootzone profile surrounded and therefore protected by topdressing.


I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again but I think it’s sometimes a hard call to communicate to the powers-that-be why there is a requirement to aerate, topdress, etc when the surfaces that you are treating look fine. The reality is we are in the game of preventative maintenance, i.e we put in place preventative maintenance in order to keep the grass plant healthy and in so doing we are maximising the potential to present an optimum surface for as many days of the year as possible.OMMeasurement

So I guess the bottom line is that if you’ve noticed areas of turf be they golf green, outfield, sports pitch or lawn go under stress much faster or react differently to watering, then the first thing you should check out is the organic matter level you’re dealing with. For sure you can send samples away to a lab but this is costly and takes time. Just as effective (in my humble opinion) is to take a sample wedge with a knife and examine the depth and nature of the fibre. I’ve uploaded a Powerpoint presentation to show you how I do this and what I look for here

I’m not saying it is the definitive way but it works for me that’s all….

Looking ahead…

So we are now facing at least a week of rainfall following a prolonged dry and stressy spell…what can we expect ?

Well some good recovery for one provided nutrition and cultural is in place, so light aeration to facilitate gaseous exchange and water movement from the surface is a must if resources and time allow this prior to the arrival of rain.  Overseeding weak areas after aeration will also be beneficial and no place better than wear areas, tees, outfield and the like, but make sure you’re not just overseeding into thatch else you are not giving the grass plant much chance at all.


Disease-wise I guess you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that we will likely see more disease over the next week or so with the increase in humidity / leaf wetness, with Microdochium nivale, Red Thread and possibly Anthracnose / Dollar Spot likely to raise their ugly heads.

A prolonged period of hot weather followed by moisture and humidity are potential calling cards for the development of Anthracnose and I expect this summer to feature high disease pressure from this pathogen after the trigger event at the end of May and the same at the end of June. Time will tell if I am right (in a way I hope I’m wrong) because unfortunately we won’t see the symptom until it is too late and the disease is present at an advanced (spore-forming) stage.

There is plenty that can be done from a preventative perspective and I’ll cover that next week.

In the meantime enjoy the cooler nights (better sleeping any way so there’s always a flipside :)) and all the best for the coming week.

Mark Hunt

June 19th


Hi All,

Some of you may know I like to try and keep fit (emphasis on the try) and as part of this approach I wear a Garmin Forerunner which amongst many other things keeps a track of your heart rate. I had a laugh last week when I decided to look at my heart rate during a day spent applying trials, trying to keeping alert with copious Costa Flat Whites and finally having the wholely unwelcome sight of a BMW 5-Series Police Car loom up in my car mirrors on a mission 🙁

You can clearly see the effect of all of these actions….


Onto the weather…

So the North-South divide in the weather continues with temperatures hitting 31.5°C here yesterday as I was out for a leisurely stroll and a good 14 days now from the last significant rainfall. We are set to go higher today as hot air from the south pushes into the south of England. Up country we are 15°C cooler in Scotland.  If the weather projections are correct we will move from a peak pattern in the jet stream this week (that has allowed that hot air to push up from Europe) to a trough pattern which will allow cooler, wetter air to push in early next week. (see below)


General Weather Situation

So onto this week and Monday starts for central and southern England as a repeat of yesterday with heat building from the off (already it’s 20°C outside at 6.30 a.m.). Skies are clear right up to The Pennines so it means a hot day for all. Across to Wales and Ireland and we see the same picture, stable high pressure, hot and dry. Further north we see some cloud cover for Scotland which will bring with it some showers and much cooler temperatures, high teens for most areas there. Winds will be light and from the north east. Through the day the temperature builds in the south and may be hot enough to trigger some thunderstorms but it’s no use predicting where and when they will occur.


Thunderstorms begin as an updraft of hot air and this can be initiated off a car park, storage warehouse, ploughed field or the like and so are pretty random. Check the ATD Lightning Detector to see if there’s any storms coming your way in the afternoon / evening here.

Temperature-wise they are saying we could touch mid-thirties in the known hot spots down south which are traditionally Heathrow, Guildford and Gravesend (Keep hydrated Lee and lads :))

Onto Tuesday and we see subtle change in wind direction to the east and this will push some cloud cover off The North Sea into most parts of the U.K, thicker obviously along the east coast. Mercifully this will knock the edge off those high temperatures so we drop to low / mid-twenties for eastern and central locations but across the west, that cloud cover will break and we’ll be back up to the mid-twenties here and across The Irish Sea. For Scotland we see cloud cover remain for most of the day, broken up at times to reveal hazy sunshine. Here we will sit in the high teens for a thoroughly pleasant day. Cloud cover off The North Sea means we will have a mass of cooler air butting up against warmer air and it’s typically this mix that kicks off thunderstorms so there is a heightened risk through Tuesday of this occurring, more I think for eastern, southern and central areas.

This risk of thunder storms extends through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning with a much cooler night hopefully if you receive them. For Wednesday we have an active weather front pushing rain into north Connacht and Donegal through the morning and this rain will make the short hop across The Irish Sea into western Scotland in time for the morning rush hour. It will then push across country through the morning to give a wet day north of the border. For the south and central areas we start off with some cloud cover and risk of thunderstorms but through the course of Wednesday that wind swings round to the south for one last hurrah. This will push those temperatures up again into the high twenties from midday on Wednesday where skies clear and a couple of degrees lower further north where you retain more of that cloud cover. Later on Wednesday evening we could see some of that northern rain push south across the border into northern England. Humid it will be.

Overnight into Thursday and a change to a westerly wind direction will see a front of thick cloud push into Ireland so a much cooler day for you guys across The Irish Sea as that cloud will knock 7-8°C off temperatures, down from the mid-twenties to high teens. So the situation is reversed from earlier in the week with more cloud on western coasts pegging back temperatures into the more pleasant low twenties and that cloud may be thick enough for some mizzly, drizzle across north west England. For Scotland we see a similar pattern, thick cloud, cooler temperatures and some risk of moisture along western coasts. Across central and eastern areas though we will see those temperatures rise again into the mid to high twenties as skies clear and if the forecast is right, this will be the last day of those high temperatures for the southern half of the U.K.

Finishing off the week we see another band of rain and thicker cloud push into north west Ireland and this will move south and east through the course of early Friday morning so you’ll wake up to a much duller and cooler outlook at the end of the week (assuming you get to sleep of course :)) This thick cloud base will bring some rain to the coasts of north west Connacht and Donegal as well as across western coasts of Scotland. It may also bring some drizzle to West Wales and The South West. So a big temperature drop, maybe 10°C less for Friday for central and southern parts as that cloud cover pushes in during the course of the day. That rain affecting Irish coasts will push south and east to cross and cover Ireland by close of play Friday. The rain over Scotland will also push a little further south into north west England later in the day. So we close the week cooler with a fresher, westerly wind in situ.

So how are we looking for the weekend to come, another scorcher or more pleasant ?

Well Saturday could be wet for the north of England and Wales as that band of Irish rain crosses The Irish Sea and moves diagonally south, fizzling out a bit as it does so but it’ll bring some rain to northern England and this may even reach The Midlands later on Saturday. Continuing in the cooler vein from Friday and I for one will be thankful for that 🙂 This rain marks the beginning of the change from high pressure to low pressure and we will see more rain pushing in over Saturday and Sunday, principally more for the north and west (and in particular Ireland) so a much more unsettled outlook for the weekend and cooler to boot.

Weather Outlook

So next week if it pans out as projected that is, is a real about turn with low pressure and a trough system projected to be in place for pretty much the whole week. So a much cooler feel to the weather next week, frequent showers, more north and west initially but as we progress through the week, that low pressure sinks further south and so brings that rain with it to more central areas of the U.K. Potentially very wet for Ireland and the west of Scotland earlier on next week as that low pressure pushes in. I hope the projection is right as we could do with cooling off over here in more ways than one….

Agronomic Notes

I appreciate we have a north-south divide here so some of my comments relating to plant stress levels won’t apply to Scotland but hopefully it’ll be of interest.

During high temperature conditions like this we see the difference in using GDD as a measurement of potential plant growth rates vs. Growth Potential.

Growth Potential has a formula that is calculated on an optimum temperature for growth, in my spreadsheet this is 18°C for a cool season grass. If the temperature pushes above 26°C, we know the growth rate of the grass plant will begin to slow as physiological processes kick in to conserve water and cool the plant. This slowing down of growth rate is reflected in the Growth Potential calculation as a drop in G.P, whereas in the GDD equation we just see a continuation of higher and higher values as the temperature increases. (this is the drawback with using GDD during the summer)

So over the weekend and most of this week we will see a dropping back of Growth Potential and this is indicative of plant stress (see below)


I’ve marked the stress days in red where you can see both a reduction in growth and below that , 4 days of high E.T.

So the upshot is we are in for some hot weather and the prediction is that plant will go under stress.

During such times it is necessary to try and help the grass plant manage these conditions and one of the ways of doing this is light syringing, applying a fine mist onto the grass leaf which will help cool the leaf and reduce moisture loss. It’s the same effect as having a nice shower when it is hot, you come out of the shower and immediately feel cool as heat is taken from the skin to evaporate surface moisture. There are a number of practices that all help the grass plant during what for us is short periods of stress, imagine weeks of this as they get in Southern Europe and The States. (Note temperatures in Spain and Portugal are in the 40’s currently).

Raising cutting height, alternating rolling and cutting, skipping the clean up cut on greens and postponing aggressive aeration all come to the fore during these periods.

There’s a great recent article (June 2017 no less !) in the USGA Record on managing heat stress, some of it is typically American (use of fans which is a must on some of their sites with their pervasive humidity), but a lot of it holds true for us. You can download it here.

Where are you now Toro Hydrojet ?

One of the best machines to use during this time was the Toro Hydrojet because it could vent the greens and inject water at the same time allowing gaseous exchange and cooling of the rootzone. I still see some out there and wonder why they didn’t persist with it because it’s ace in the summer.

Collar Management – Putting Greens

I’ve seen quite a lot of puffy looking collars on my travels and it got me to thinking on this oft-neglected area of the green. These areas typically receive the same level of nutrition as the greens but often are not on the same rootzone, don’t receive the same amount of wear and tear and critically the same aeration.

For these reasons they tend to accumulate thatch and this can present a number of issues.

Not least the potential for disease formation and then ingression onto the green (probably worst with diseases that seem to be able to move like Anthracnose) but also and perhaps more importantly, water movement. If you have a high surface fibre build up on a putting green collar then it will effectively act as a barrier to water movement off the green, holding it in place just in the area that receives twice the cut (the clean up strip).

I have heard it described as ‘Collar Dams’ and for me if you have the resources, it’s worth upping your management of organic matter in collars by aeration and topdessing to reduce organic matter accumulation. You’ll notice the first signs when you see scalping on the collars because the mower has sunk into the surface fibre and the bottom blade has come into contact with the crown of the grass plant. The crown is the area where the plant produces both new shoots and new roots and if it gets damaged, then it’s bye bye grass plant. This situation can become exacerbated by a build up of topdressing on the collars as a result of pulling, matting topdressing off the green so you get a crown effect.

A quick way of alleviating this is to use a turf cutter, strip back the turf, remove the excess sand and level it back. Time-consuming I know but if you can create a healthier environment off green you’ll reduce potential disease infection and increase water movement to give a drier canopy during periods of high rainfall. (Difficult to imagine at present I know)

Plant Pathogens

With a north-south divide in place we also see a split in the types of pathogens present on surfaces at the moment. In the cooler and wetter north (Scotland) we have plenty of disease activity after what has been a prolonged wet spell that we call June..Mostly Microdochium nivale but if I’m right I expect to see the first signs of Anthracnose later this month or early in July following the late May trigger.


In the heat and high E.T of the south and west of the U.K and Ireland, I’d expect to see symptoms typical of root pathogens coming to the fore, namely Take-All and Plant Parasitic Nematodes to name but two. (above are images of Root Gall Nematode in Poa annua greens as an example)

As explained in previous blogs, these pathogens damage the root system of their host species and in so doing reduce the ability of the plant to uptake water. So during hot spells of weather when E.T loss is higher and the plant requires more water just to keep up with this process, it can’t uptake as much as it needs and so shows the symptoms of turf damage.

Kids gloves it is this week in the south from a plant management perspective and I’d be holding fire on PGR, Selective Herbicide apps to outfield until we get to the end of the week if your plant is showing signs of stress. You’ll get poor uptake and in some cases increase the stress on the plant by applying.

For Scotland though you’ll have some good spray days with lower temperatures and some periods of dry weather, especially early on in the week, so I’d make hay whilst the sun shines 🙂

Ok that’s it for this week, short and sweet…like me.

Keep hydrated, slap on the factor 30, don’t forget to top up those bird baths or put a tray of water out for wildlife because those guys need to drink as well you know.

All the best.

Mark Hunt

June 12th


Hi All,

Just a week or so away from the longest day now and a bit of a sobering thought for all of us is that the evenings will then start heading back again towards winter. This week’s weather is a bit of a rodeo ride between a northern-influencing low pressure and a southern-influencing high pressure so that means cooler and wetter up north balanced out by dry and potentialy pretty hot for the south.

Meanwhile here in The Midlands we’ll be sandwiched nicely between the two 🙂

General Weather Situation

Over the past week we have had some pretty high winds and these have continued through the night as well but you’ll see a change here after Monday as we begin to lose the wind strength. So Monday kicks off with that North-South divide already in place and we see some early rain for Leinster and thicker cloud for Ireland. Across The Irish Sea to the U.K we have thick cloud and showers already affecting North Wales and the north west coastline of the U.K up through Scotland. Further south and east of this we see a pretty dull start to the week with high cloud cover in place. As we move through the morning that rain clears Ireland and North Wales but sits stubbornly over the west coast of the U.K from The Pennines northwards. Further south and east of this we see some sunnier intervals as the cloud cover thins. Through to Monday evening, those showers become confined to north west Scotland as most areas see more in the way of the sun however Ireland picks up a new rain front around dusk pushing into the west and crossing the country overnight. Temperature wise, these reflect that north-south divide with mid-teens for Ireland and those areas of the U.K under cloud vs. high teens for The Midlands, South Wales, The South West and south of England. The wind will continue strong to blustery  (crumbs it was choppy in the boat on Saturday fly fishing :)) and from the west.

Overnight into Tuesday and that rain for Ireland has moved further east and at the start of Tuesday is already affecting north western areas of the U.K, really in a line up from The Pennines. South of this we see another pleasant day, notably with ligher winds allowing the temperature to pick up a degree or two over Monday. As we progress through the morning we still see showers and thick cloud across Ireland, more so across Connacht and Donegal and for Scotland in particular that coastal rain will push inland to affect all areas. So too for the north of England, that rain pushes more inland than Monday and may drift far enough south to reach the North Midlands as well late morning / early afternoon. Through Tuesday afternoon that rain becomes confined to northern counties of Ireland, but stays across most of Scotland whereas further south we see brighter weather make an appearance lifting temperatures into the low twenties for the south of England. Much lighter winds on Tuesday, still westerly but allowing warmer air for the south of England in particular.

Wednesday sees a drier picture over most of the U.K and Ireland, still with some rain pushing across the Scottish Highlands but confined here to the north of Scotland mainly. For Ireland, Wales, the rest of Scotland and England, a much drier day with lighter cloud cover and this means we’ll see temperatures climb into the low twenties across the south of England aided by a change in wind direction to lighter southerlies. All in all, a pleasant day for the U.K and Ireland.

Late on Wednesday night though we see another rain front push into the west of Ireland and overnight into Thursday this moves across Ireland and pushes thicker cloud and some showers across the north west coast of the U.K by the morning rush hour on Thursday. More sunshine and showers for Ireland on Thursday with the west coast most affected by the rain, the same for north west England and Scotland. South of this band of rain we see a much sunnier day with lots of sunshine from the off and this means low twenties are potentially likely with the risk of some thunderstorms kicking off. Under that cloud cover cooler for Ireland and Scotland with mid to high teens and also a little cooler for The Midlands with a change in wind direction to north west.

Closing out the week on Friday, the ‘Glorious 16th’, (a reference to the start of the coarse fishing season on rivers in the U.K and a date that met with so much anticipation as a youngster I could hardly sleep, now it’s met with a shrug of the shoulders and the realisation that I haven’t the time to enjoy this 🙁 ) we have rain and thicker cloud from the off for Connacht and Donegal and this extends into northern England and across Scotland with the rain more western coast-orientated. Some of that thicker cloud may push into the south of England for a time as well. A North-South divide for both Ireland and the U.K with south Leinster and Munster enjoying some fine sunny weather on Friday and joined by Wales, The South West and south of England. Move north though and you’re into thicker cloud across The Midlands. That rain pushes across Scotland during the late morning / early afternoon but stays confined to the north west of England with the north east brightening up through the afternoon. As we progress through Friday afternoon into the evening we see cloud cover burn off to leave unbroken sunshine and that’ll push temperatures up into the mid-twenties for sure across the south of England. Mid to high teens likely for Scotland but Ireland may see temperatures touching the twenties where skies clear. As we close out Friday we see that rain affecting the north west of Scotland intensify and become heavier I am afraid.

So how does the outlook for the weekend look ?

Well with high pressure asserting itself and the northerly low pressure moving off into Scandinavia, we should have a pretty nice weekend on the cards with plenty of dry weather around and sunshine. Temperatures will ultimately depend on cloud cover but for me I’ll be hoping to keep some morning cloud for as late as possible on Saturday to allow the Trout to rise 🙂 . I’d reckon on low twenties for most areas, high teens maybe for Scotland due to thicker cloud cover where they’ll be a risk of some showers of rain particularly a.m. on both days. Winds should be light to moderate and still westerly.

Weather Outlook

Next week is a tricky call because we have a battle between high pressure sitting over us and an enroaching low pressure from the east initially and then joined by another from the west later in the week. So I think next week should start pretty dry and settled for most areas, maybe a chance of rain across the far north on occasion but not heavy. With this kind of pressure chart it means the wind will be more northerly because we are squashed between two pressure systems so the wind gets funnelled down between them, this will peg back temperatures a little. As we progress from mid-week the certainty behind the forecast begins to drop and the risk of low pressure beginning to dominate is much higher so by the end of the week, next weekend we could see low pressure in charge.

Agronomic Notes

The week ahead..

First off let’s look at how Meteoturf projects growth and E.T rates across the U.K….


Starting off with England we see very high Growth Potential in the coming week aided by optimum day and night temperatures and also very high E.T rates with a projected E.T loss of 27mm, so over an inch of rain likely to be evaporated from the ground this week across the south of England.

This means that the grass plant will be under some stress over the coming week with water being lost from the rootzone and with high potential growth rates it will also require more water to support this growth. So water conservation and management will be key this week particularly. This type of week (and last week, weekend) also highlights the presence of root pathogens like Take-All and Root-Knot Nematode, to name but two.

These pathogens cause damage to the root system and often this damage goes un-noticed until we run into a period of weather when the grass plant requires more water for growth and water is being lost quickly from the rootzone because E.T rates are high. So then we start to see the symptoms of these pathogens even though the actual damage (and time for effective control) was most likely two months back. Hot, windy days in June are classic for this scenario so I guess one of the key take homes is moisture management and making sure that your grass plant doesn’t dry out too much in the coming week.

A PGR application will help this process by slowing down the growth rate of the grass plant and thereby allow more efficient moisture management.

Wales will have a lower E.T loss due to lower temperatures but still a very strong growth rate so here again, plant growth regulation is a priority.

For Scotland and Ireland we have a different scenario with much lower E.T loss so this isn’t a concern here but we still have pretty strong growth so a PGR application should be uppermost in your mind or more likely you already have your areas covered on this front and don’t need me to tell you :). Likely we’ll see more disease pressure from Microdochium nivale in these areas because of the more consistent rainfall and therefore plant leaf wetness followed by some reasonably mild, night time temperatures as well, which will allow humidity to build.

Mixing a fungicide and a PGR ?

The problem here is for sure getting a spray day and this means we will have a potential requirement to mix a fungicide and a PGR. (TE-based of course Mr…)

Now this question is cropping up on my radar more and more when we have strong active growth and high disease pressure. Truthfully I am cautious / wary of this mix because I have seen phytotoxicity during the autumn period in trials when mixing a PGR and a fungicide.

So if you’ve managed to get this far down the blog and are willing to share your experiences, please drop me a comment on what has worked for you or maybe hasn’t.

Researching the net shows scant information in this area and of course we have more than tankmix comptability to consider. What if the PGR ‘changes’ the uptake / efficacy of the fungicide by compromising its mode of action, we need to be sure on this before marching forward with a our sprayers. The logic of the mix is clear and with higher growth rates and more aggressive disease outbreaks, there is some logical synergy in slowing down the growth rate of the plant, potentially then extending the period of efficacy of the fungicide, but we need to know it is both chemically and biologically compatible.

With less fungicide families to choose from and stronger growth extending later into the autumn, regulating a plant prior to a fungicide application makes sense then too. Mental note to ones self, research-required.

Ok, a short, sharp blog this week for me as I have alot of trials to get down this week so I’ll be strapped to my faithful Hardi sprayer, ensconced in PPE and likely shedding pounds in sweat 🙂

Happy days, never happier when I’m R&D’ing….(except when I’m fishing of course :))

All the best..

Mark Hunt


June 5th


Hi All,

Well I’m all moved in and nearly all boxes unpacked so that’s a result. They say moving house is one of the most stressful situations and I can concur. The good news is within 6 days of me putting food out at night I got my first Hedgepig visitor and I am so happy about that.. 🙂

Probably not the greatest week to be resuming my weatherblog because we have a trough situation in the jet stream forming as we speak and that’ll bring in a succession of low pressure systems over the next 7 days or so, which means rain for all and alot for some.

So lets put some detail on it…

General Weather Situation

So Monday kicks off very windy and a sign that low pressure is already pushing in rain on a cool south westerly airstream. So we see heavy rain first off on Monday morning over Wales, the north west of England and most of Scotland and a vestige affecting East Leinster as well. Some of this rain will be very heavy. I would pick out Wales and the north west / north of England as potentially worst-affected by the rain with accumulations up to 1″ (25mm) likely. During the morning this rain will slowly move diagonally up from The South West, Wales to the north east of England with areas south and east of this seeing showers rather than heavy rain. By the afternoon the first front of rain will be clearing western Scotland but will still be affecting the afore-mentioned areas with the possibility of rain along the south coast of Ireland as well. By tea time the worst of the rain has cleared from all but the east coast of Scotland but it still remains in situ in that diagonal band stretching from The South West, across all of Wales and up to the North East.  Through the evening we see further rain creep up the east coast of Leinster and the main U.K rain front will push east and south overnight to affect all areas. It’ll feel cooler than of late with low to mid-teens likely in a gusty to gale force south westerly wind.

Overnight into Tuesday and we see that rain still affecting a large portion of the U.K from Glasgow south and it’ll be slow to clear away. By the morning rush hour the heaviest rain will be over The Pennines, north of England, but also East Anglia. Ireland and southern Scotland, north, east and west of The Clyde looks to start dry. Through the morning that band of heavy rain will slowly move eastwards clearing western coasts and Wales and bringing heavy rain to the north east of England, east coast of Scotland by early afternoon. Ireland and most of the U.K south of this rain front will have a mixture of sunny intervals and showers pushed along by a strong westerly wind. It won’t be until late on Tuesday night that the rain finally departs from the north east coast of the U.K. We will still see frequent showers across Ireland and the west coastline of the U.K though so not entirely dry. Central and southern regions of England will clear through the afternoon to leave a sunny end to the day. On the cool side again with low to mid-teens likely.

Moving onto Wednesday and we see a much drier picture across Ireland and the U.K, but it won’t last as the next band of heavy rain is set to push into south west Munster by lunchtime and this front will then move north and east across Ireland during Wednesday afternoon to bring heavy rain to most areas of Ireland. For the U.K we are set for a drier day with hazy cloud and some longer spells of sunshine, most likely across the south east and East Anglia. There’s a risk later of light rain into The South West and West Wales on Wednesday evening, a vestige of that Irish rain band. Still strong to moderate westerly winds but feeling a little warmer on Wednesday as most areas enjoy the drier interlude.

Overnight into Thursday and that band of rain crosses The Irish Sea and pushes into North Wales and the north west of England to give a very wet period of weather here. With saturated ground from earlier in the week there’s likely to be some further flooding here. As we start the morning rush hour we will still see thick cloud and some rain over Ireland and this will consolidate into heavier rain for south west Munster as a new rain front pushes in and moves north and east across Ireland during the morning. For the U.K we will have heavy rain affecting the north west of England and Wales principally with thick cloud and lighter rain over Scotland. They’ll be some rain over The Midlands as well during the morning. By lunchtime on Thursday the heavy rain will be across Ireland and the north of England. South and east of this you will miss the worst of it with just hazy cloud cover likely.  Through late afternoon the band of heavy rain continues its march northwards into Scotland and the north of Ireland. By late evening we will see skies clear from the south to leave a nice end to the day. Not so for Scotland and The Borders where the rain will become heavy I’m afraid. Ireland will also see skies clear as the rain pushes north into northern Connacht and Donegal by close of play Thursday. Warmer feeling again on Thursday as temperatures touch high teens away from the rain band across the south of England and perhaps for the south east we may see low twenties and the risk of some thunderstorms as well. Mid teens are more likely under that rain.

Closing out what will have been for some a very wet week indeed Friday looks to start dull with some showers kicking around across the north of England. As we progress into the morning we will see showers push across Ireland and into Wales, but east and south of this they’ll be plenty of sunshine to end the week. This drier sunnier weather will extend north up eastern coasts as well. Scotland looks to hold dry most of the day but with thick cloud there’s still the possibility of showers cropping up later. Through Friday afternoon we will see more showers across Ireland, The South West and Wales and some of these will push inland as well. Closing out Friday we will see further showers affecting western coasts of England, Wales and Scotland and heavier rain move into the south west of Ireland I’m afraid lads.

So how are we looking for the weekend ?

Well not great really for some areas as we have another low pressure pushing in from the south west so I think Saturday looks like being a potentially very wet day across Ireland, Wales, the north  and north west of England and Scotland. I also expect rain for The Midlands and south of England but following the pattern of this week, not as much as the afore-mentioned areas. This low pressure will push in strong westerly winds on Saturday reaching gale force in places so not the greatest of weekends. By Sunday I think the worst of the rain will have passed through and this will leave a drier, showery picture with lighter winds, but plenty of cloud cover and a duller feel to the day. Temperature-wise expect mid to high teens perhaps touching the twenties away from the worst of the low pressure across the south east of England if you see the sun.

Weather Outlook

So after a stormy week with lots of rainfall for some and strong winds, are we looking any better for next week ?

Yes, I think we are with high pressure pushing in from The Atlantic to bring us some crucially drier weather and a little warmer as well to boot. So a drier week is predicted for next week, still with the risk of some rain across the south of England perhaps but essentially dry and settled for all of us with lighter winds and warmer temperatures. By the end of next week we have a southerly low pressure creeping up from The Bay of Biscay and this might bring an unsettled end to the week / weekend across the south.

Agronomic Notes

First off we visit our usual GDD location of The Oxfordshire, Thame to see how May 2017 stacked up as a GDD month.


Well looking at the GDD stats we can see that May 2017 was the strongest growing May temperature-wise we have recorded since we started this process back in 2010. A total monthly GDD figure of 254 represents a 22% increase over 2016 and in reality means we can log May 2017 as one hell of a growth month. (Obviously I’ll be putting more detail onto this later :))


Cumulatively the strong GDD month of May hikes 2017 above the previous best growth year, 2011, and effectively means we have experienced nearly 55% more GDD this year than we have at the same point last year (end of May), that’s some increase. At this stage I’d like to point out that of course temperature is only one part of the growing equation and we know that many areas didn’t see this growth through the spring because of lack of rainfall in April particularly. Setting that aside, it’s some increase, global warming I hear you say, who knows ?, well not  Trump anyway as he does a brilliant impersonation of an Ostrich, bury your head in the sand, sweep it under the carpet and it’ll all go away matey……..unreal.

Local Situations – GDD and Rainfall – May 2017

So how do we look across the U.K using May data ?


Well a pretty even picture growth-wise as all locations showed high GDD and pretty consistent rainfall as well after the drought that was April, 2017.


For Ireland we have lower GDD totals but very consistent and for once Claremorris in beautiful Co. Mayo is right up there with their friends in Kerry (not that there’s any rivalry there like 🙂 ) Another feature of May 2017 was the consistency of the rainfall and even Valentia didn’t lead the way this month (though I suspect it will in June 2017 !).

All in all nothing we can really complain about from a GDD and rainfall perspective so if you couldn’t grow grass in May this year then you have a problem closer to home maybe. More to the point I think this month the problem wasn’t growing grass but stopping it growing !

Local Situations – Growth Potential and Rainfall – May 2017


You can see from the graph above the extent of the growth during May 2017 and particularly during the latter part of the month, when the last 10 days represented optimum growth on a daily basis. Moisture wasn’t limiting either because of the rainfall in the middle of the month, so really a perfect storm from a growth perspective, a warm soil and moisture.

This much growth means that surfaces were growing very fast on a daily basis, clipping yields were (and remain) high and so greens speeds will have suffered accordingly.

I expect a lot of you would have been applying PGR’s during May to various areas be that greens, tees, outfield turf, bunker banks and the like.

You should remember however that the latest work from the U.S suggests that Trinexapac-ethyl lasts about 120GDD in the grass plant before it comes out of suppression in a greens model. (Actually they state 200GDD but its calculated at a base temp of 0°C and this is roughly equivalent to 120GDD using a 6°C base). If we applied a PGR on the 1st of May, the calculated longevity on greens was 18 days for the first application, but only 11 days for the next one applied towards the end of the month…(see graph below)


I stress this is a greens-based model and doersn’t apply to outfield where the height / frequency of cut, sward composition is very different. You can read about TE-PGR longevity and its relationship with temperature here

Ireland wasn’t quite as severe from a growth perspective but you can see the same growth flush towards the end of the month. Continuing my Co. Mayo bias, here are the stats for Claremorris…Again you can see the flush at the end of May but it wasn’t as severe or sustained as it was for the U.K.


Moisture = humidity + temperature = disease…


You only have to look at the above graph showing the high daily G.P and the almost continual  100% humidity recorded during May to understand that conditions have been very conducive to disease activity.

Being out of the loop for a week means I can’t give you totally up to date feedback but I’ve seen lots of Red Thread on Fescue and Rye surfaces, plenty of Microdochium nivale activity (although it’s generally being grown out as fast as it is forming itself) and I also imagine that Superficial Fairy Ring will have been very active. The latter tends to really come into the peak of its activity when we have rain after a prolonged dry spell. It wouldn’t surprise me either if temperatures and humidity were high enough during the latter part of May to trigger the commencement of Anthracnose, although it’ll be another 4-6 weeks before we see actual symptoms on the grass leaf (and of course by that time it’ll to be late to do alot about it)

Getting spray days to treat disease and in particular keeping a surface dry will be tricky over the next week or so especially in Ireland, Wales, the north / north west of England and Scotland, good luck to you on that one…

Ok that’s it for this week, onto the in-tray, well I would do if I could see it, I think it’s packed in the box marked ‘Office-avoid opening under all circumstances’ 🙂

All the best…

Mark Hunt