Monthly Archives: July 2017

July 31st


Hi All,

Back to my usual slot on a Monday morning and the last blog of July, wow hasn’t that flown by !

I thought this photo taken whilst out on a lovely walk around Medbourne in Leicestershire sort of typifies the weather we are having of late. We stayed dry but nearby they certainly didn’t…..


Watching Countryfile last night I was heartened to see a nice explanation of why we have gone from scorching temperatures at the end of June to a sunshine and showers scenario, not that I’m complaining too much on that front.


The presenter explained that the jet stream is running unusually low (red dotted line above) at present and this is allowing low pressure rather than high pressure to dictate this summer’s weather. In other words what I would call a jet stream trough rather than the more usual summer peak…..It’s good and bad for us working on turf though with some pretty hard tournament weather of late and of course disease but at least you won’t run out of water down in the south east of England 🙂

Ok enough of the pre-amble, I have a flight to catch later, so onto the weather for this week…

General Weather Situation

Monday is a west – east divide with plenty of showers affecting Ireland and the western coast of England, Wales and Scotland. During the morning these will consolidate to bring locally heavy rain to western areas with I think mid and North Wales, The North West and south west of Scotland chiefly in the firing line. Ireland will also see the showers affecting western coasts before they move across country during the late morning and early afternoon. For the east of the U.K, Monday looks like being a very pleasant day, dry with hazy sunshine and temperatures in the late teens to low twenties. Winds will be moderate to strong and from the south west. Under the rain you can expect more like mid-teens. As we progress through to Monday evening those showers look to fizzle out across western coasts.

Onto Tuesday and we have another raft of showers and longer periods of rain to think about. This time it will push in across the south west of England, Wales and The North West during the morning tand then move inland with the north of England likely to receive more than its fair share’s worth during the late morning and afternoon. They’ll also be another line of showers that will move diagonally (/) up from The South West across The Midlands (probably along the M5 I jest not) during the afternoon. These will be well dispersed so some areas will see them, some won’t. These two bands of showers will affect Ireland during Tuesday with the heaviest running over Connacht and Donegal with their southern cousins tickling along the coast of Munster during the morning. So again the south east of England and east will see less of the rain and enjoy another pleasant day until we get up to The Humber where we will run into that northern band. Scotland will see some showers in the morning up the east coast but in the afternoon, another band of heavier rain will push into The Western Isles and move eastwards across all of Scotland. Temperatures will be similar to Monday, mid-teens under the rain, high teens away from it perhaps touching the low twenties in the south east. Winds will again be moderate to strong and from the south west.

Wednesday looks to be the wettest day of the week at present. Starting off in the morning we have a strong rain front pushing into Kerry and moving quickly over Ireland so a wet morning is forecast. By the morning rush hour we will see rain, some of it heavy pushing into The South West and then moving on a north easterly trajectory up country across Wales and into the south of England and Midlands by early afternoon before pushing more east and north into northern England and southern Scotland by late afternoon clearing Ireland as it does so. Expect some locally heavy downpours.  I expect it to last all day in some areas with showers consolidating through the evening and at the same time introducing a second rain front into the south west of Ireland which will again cross the country during the night. Winds will be strong to gusty I’m afraid and from the south west. Temperatures will be similar to the rest of the week.

Thursday sees that overnight rain across Ireland push north east into the north west of England and south west of Scotland in time for the morning rush hour. Meanwhile the departing rain from the south east will become potentially very heavy for a time around dawn before moving off across Kent and into The Channel. By late morning we have a very different weather picture with rain across the north of England and Scotland and a drier, brighter picture further south, the same over Ireland as that cloud cover breaks. At present I think the line of demarcation between sunshine and rain will be somewhere over the north Midlands / Peak District but let’s see. Again similar temperatures to the early part of this week, mid-teens nder the rain and high teens to low twenties where you see the sun. Still with a moderate to strong south westerly wind in situ.

Closing out what has been an unsettled week for the 1st week of August, Friday sees that low pressure system that brought rain across the U.K and Ireland mid-week begin to move off eastwards so a much better day is forecast for the end of the week. Still with a risk of showers across the west and south west of Ireland and also affecting the west coast of Scotland but overall a much drier day for nearly everyone with long spells of sunshine and some nice cloud pushing in later during the afternoon. Expect similar temperatures to the rest of the week with light to moderate westerly winds.

So how are we looking for the weekend, factor 30 or waterproofs ?

Well at this stage I see Saturday as being unsettled with some rain around and plenty of cloud. Winds will be much lighter so if you’re camping you won’t have to hang onto the guy rope to save the tent 🙂 So not great for Saturday (but not a washout either) as there will be some sunshine amongst the clouds and showers of rain. Some areas may just be on the dull side and miss the showers altogether, my bet is eastern and south eastern areas may fit this bill. Sunday looks the better day of the weekend I think with less chance of rain and some nice sunny intervals but before you reach for the sun cream, there’s another low swinging in to affect next week.

Weather Outlook

As inferred above, we have another low pressure system slinking into the trough in the jet stream to bring us an unsettled start ot next week. Now high pressure is trying to push in from The Atlantic and this could do one of two things. It’ll either move the trough eastwards and introduce warmer and more settled weather from the west from mid-week, next week onwards or it will squash the low pressure system up which will mean it’ll intensify over the 2nd part of next week and bring more rain and wind for us all. Next week’s low will I think affect the east and central areas more than the west. So in summary, an unsettled start to next week with rain pushing in from the west and moving eastwards certainly through to mid-week, thereafter it’s a flip of the coin.

Agronomic Notes

Disease and leaf wetness….

It’s hardly surprising when you have a month dominated by a trough in the jet stream that disease is an issue for many of us managing turf.

The culprits without a shadow of doubt are temperature and moisture or more spefically relative humidity, that is to say the moisture content of the atmosphere surrounding the grass canopy.


Leaf wetness is the driver for many of our turfgrass pathogens and it is a function of the moisture content in the atmosphere (relative humidity) and the drying potential as denoted by evapotranspiration. If we have a windy day then the drying potential is high even if we have a sunshine and showers scenario as we do currently but if we have low wind speed, low E.T then the drying potential drops and invariably the relative humidity increases….So on your golf course, sports pitch, stadium scenario,  if you have areas which are more sheltered then you can expect the relative humidity and hence leaf wetness in those areas to be significantly higher.

Below is a run of two weather stations output from late October (ok I know the time of year is different, but the scenario is the same), the top graph is from an open aspect site, the bottom, a sheltered, tree-lined one.



You can see on the bottom graph, the effect of the trees is to drastically reduce the wind and this allows the humidity to increase to close on maximum over this 6-day run time.

On the top graph you can also see what happens when you go from a windy scenario to a lighter wind level, the humidity increases drastically from 77.4% when the wind is at full strength to 96.1% when it is at its lowest.

Looking at July and the sort of rainfall and humidity we have had I took this data from a weather station located in Banstead, Surrey.


You can see all the hallmarks of a summer trough event, high daily rainfall (40mm over 2 days mid-month) and a humidity that spends alot of the time > 90% with some days (marked in red) when the average was over 90%.

I also lifted some data from a weather station in Tipperary (one for you Colm :)) and the data is similar but not the same..


The Irish data shows a similar pattern in terms of high daily rainfall events and also some high humidity periods when the average > 90% but interestingly the maximum humidity didn’t reach the same levels as the Banstead location. I’m guessing this is because it is likely to be windier at the Irish location than the English one.

Either way both locations showed high humidity periods and this is what has been driving disease pressure in July but particularly in the latter part of the month over here in the U.K.

So if you’ve been looking at mycelium on Microdochium nivale, you now know why this pattern of weather has been very conducive for the development of this disease…..


In other scenarios I’ve seen lots of copper blotching from Microdochium nivale (old man’s Fusarium to keep some of you happy) across swards and this has definitely been due to the dynamic between grass growth and disease development. What I mean by this is that with good temperature and consistent moisture, grass growth has been close on optimum of late and so the disease in some cases isn’t scarring because it’s being grown out as fast as it is developing.

Microdochium isn’t the only foliar pathogen doing the rounds at present with Dollar Spot, Leaf Spot and Red Thread also reported or observed.

Leaf Spot has been a significant issue on perennial ryegrass on sports stadia this month particularly those with reduced air flow (and the graphs above illustrate why nicely I think) and I reckon the trend will continue until we move out of this trough pattern in the jet stream.

Another disease notable in July on some sports pitches has been Brown Patch and this really is a humidity-orientated disease. It likes high temps, but humidity is the key driver.

So we are having a tough time of it disease pressure-wise and at a time of year when normally you’d be hoping for drier surfaces and low disease pressure. The concern for me, particularly in the case of Microdochium nivale is that when we see it in the summer, we tend to carry this disease through into the autumn.


Just finishing off a slightly doom and gloom scenario, I saw the start of Anthracnose mid-July as predicted and I expect to see more of it over the coming couple of weeks reflecting disease pressure that started in late June and will only have been encouraged by the run of weather lately. 2014 and 2016 proved to be high pressure periods for this disease and as you can see from the date stamp on the above slide, mid-August is typical for peak activity.

Fungicide Usage

I appreciate for many applying a fungicide at this time of year and even contemplating it is not ideal and we know with an optimum growth rate the longevity will be compromised for sure. It is also worth pointing out that if you are applying a systemic fungicide to active disease I would estimate that it takes at least 5 -7 days for the A.I in the product to build up sufficient concentration within the grass plant to halt its progress.

So if you apply on a Monday and see active disease two days later then you can rest assured that the disease was already active inside the leaf before you applied it and the fungicide isn’t present at sufficient levels to slow its progress.

I still think the best option is to try and maintain plant health and vigour (remembering that the last thing you need at this time of year is a weak plant) when we are in this type of weather pattern, but saying and achieving it can be challenging to say the least.

Rootzone capabilities and nutrient leaching….

When we get these summer trough patterns it’s clear that we also receive high daily rainfall events and you will all probably have your own tale to tell on that one. Reading University recorded 36mm falling in one hour last week and I have been told (cheers Paul) of weather stations measuring a rain rate of 200mm / hr at some points during storms, that’s 8″ per hour !

That level of rainfall is at tropical levels and it brings with it issues for us, particularly on rootzones that aren’t capable of moving that volume of water from the turf surface to the drainage (hopefully) layer. That’s why I’m a big fan of vertidraining at this time of year as well as solid tining prior to topdressing. This type of aeration, at this time of year, achieves a lot more than you think because not only does it relieve compaction and facilitate better water movement from the surface but it also allows the rootzone and most importantly, the grass plant to breath and that’s key to plant health, nutrient and fungicide uptake. If you have a grass plant that is growing in a low oxygen environment then it will be working at sub-optimal levels in terms of uptake of that you can be assured.

Compact vertidrains and 5-6mm solid tines create very little disruption on the surface, particularly if they’re followed by topdressing and a roll, but their benefits are long-lasting.

The other point I wanted to make about these type of rainfall events is nutrient loss through leaching. For sure when we have high daily rainfall followed or preceded by a cool night, we will see significant loss of nutrient from the rootzone by leaching. The sandier the rootzone, the lower the CEC, the more likely this is to occur, so keep an eye out if you’re in this type of environment and maybe try to tighten your application intervals so the plant is kept at a consistent nutrient status.

Ok that’s it for this week, have fun, stay sane and enjoy the sunshine if you see it 🙂

All the best..

Mark Hunt



July 17th


Hi All,

So we are now in the middle of July and we are in for some heat this week but before you start running for the factor 30, don’t get a large tube because it won’t last for long.

We are heading into another trough event by Wednesday / Thursday and that means cooler and wetter (sorry if you’re off on your hols) for all of us with the mid-week breakdown in the weather characterised by thunderstorms.

Out walking yesterday it was lovely to see so many Butterflies about in these days of doom and gloom when it comes to nature. I saw lots of Meadow Browns, Frittilaries, Red Admirals, Peacocks and Tortoiseshells but as yet haven’t seen the Hummingbird Hawk moth on any Buddleia.

That said, judging by the sightings reported on The Butterfly Conservation website though they are all around me here in Leicestershire…


You can see if they’re in your area by clicking on the interactive map here

By the way, don’t forget during these hot spells of weather to put some water out for your local wildlife, here I improvised with an old Nepalese Takeaway container (we are cultured round here you know) and this young female Blackbird has found it fits her perfectly 🙂Blackbird

That rainfall of last Tuesday / Wednesday really came down in some areas with 38mm recorded in Surrey but just 7mm recorded here in Leicestershire (ho hum). Still it freshened things up and this week’s trough will likely do the same. So let’s put some detail on it…

Monday starts as a quiet day (or maybe it’s just me feeling that way :)) and looking at the Netweather radar we are dry everywhere with no rain to spoil the start of the week. That’s pretty much how it’ll stay today with the cloud clearing through the day across the U.K and Ireland to give long spells of uninterrupted sunshine. In that sunshine, temperatures will climb into the mid-twenties in the Costa Del Sol of England, with low twenties expected for Ireland and Scotland. Generally winds will be light and westerly but over Scotland they’ll be moderate to strong.

Quickly onto Tuesday and still we have high pressure sitting right over us so another very nice day for us all I think but not a totally dry picture this time. We are likely to see some light rain over South Munster during the morning and also across the south coast of England. At this stage it looks light in nature, but this band of light rain will push northwards into South Wales during the afternoon. Later on, a band of heavier rain will push into South Munster and move northwards reaching Leinster by the evening I think. This rain will become heavier overnight and also move into The South West of England and push up across Wales and into The Midlands during the early hours of Wednesday. Mid to high twenties today for the U.K and Ireland today buoyed by an easterly / south easterly wind.

Wednesday is the change day…

So for Wednesday we see some pretty heavy rain for Ireland particularly over the central Midlands at dawn. That rain over the U.K will be into the north of England but will fizzle out by the morning rush hour. At the same time that band of heavy rain over Ireland will push up country into Connacht, with lighter rain expected for Leinster. For the U.K we look to have a pretty dry start save for that light northern rain which will move into Central Scotland by the afternoon on Wednesday. Not a completely dry picture for England though as another band of rain is projected to push into the south east of England and then move northwards over Suffolk and Norfolk during the early afternoon. (What is it about Norfolk getting all the rain this year eh ?). By late afternoon we will see more rain over Central Ireland and this will push eastwards into Wales and then The Midlands later on Wednesday evening. Scotland will also see a day of thicker cloud and some rain through the afternoon with bands of rain moving into the north west of England and south west of Scotland through the night. Temperature-wise, high teens for Ireland and Scotland and again low to mid-twenties for England and Wales before the thunder and lightning arrives with a southerly wind now calling the shots.

Now when moist air meets stable hot air we know what the outcome is so for all of us expect to experience some thunder and lightning on Wednesday as that cooler moist front of air meets the stable hot air over the U.K and Ireland. Might be a muggy night.

Once again I mention the ATD Lightning Detector system that you can use to see where the storms are and where they are tracking…I use the portal hosted on the Netweather site here but there are plenty of other places to find it.


Onto Thursday and that northern low pressure that brought about the change in weather conditions is dropping south and exerting its influence. Initially this won’t mean rain but just thicker and more widespread cloud cover for all areas so a duller day on Thursday.  That dry picture won’t last for long though as rain is projected to push into the west of Ireland and Scotland on Thursday morning and then track eastwards across the country during the morning / early afternoon. This rain is then projected to reach the west coast of Wales by the late afternoon but not make much more progress eastwards after that. During the evening that rainfall will have cleared Ireland but expect to see some showers across the north western coastline of the U.K overnight with showers returning to Scotland in the wee hours. A much fresher feel to the weather on Thursday with temperatures in the high teens for all of us.

Closing off the week on Friday we see more unsettled weather affecting the U.K and Ireland I am afraid beginning with a band of rain into the west of Ireland in the morning and this will then track eastwards the east coast of Ireland by the early afternoon. So most of the U.K starting dry on Friday except for some rain over eastern Scotland and East Anglia (again!). By late afternoon that band of rain will be into western Scotland and then Wales and the South West. Through Friday night the rain will push eastwards across all areas of the U.K setting the scene for an unsettled weekend.

So as hinted above, the weekend looks unsettled with a band of rain moving across England and Scotland during Saturday pushed along by a brisk south westerly wind. Ireland and Wales being west of this rain may be drier but everywhere will be pretty cloudy with temperatures in the mid to high teens at best on Saturday. The same applies to Sunday with the low pressure sitting off The Western Isles expect plenty of wind and rain up in Scotland. They’ll also be more rain for England but further west across Ireland and Wales you may see some sunshine and less chance of picking up a shower I think as the former begins to pick up the benefits of a warm Atlantic high pressure system. Temperature-wise I think we will be mid to high teens at best with a moderate to blustery south westerly / southerly wind in situ (depends where you are located vs. the low pressure system)

Weather Outlook

So next week begins with a battle between our resident low pressure system sititng over us and a warm, high pressure system trying to push in from The Atlantic. Now we know when we have two weather systems butted up against each other two things are likely. Firstly, the wind will be strong and secondly, likely from the north so I think we will start off cool next week and definitely unsettled. At present the projection is for the low pressure to stay in situ for most of the week so my prediction is unsettled with frequent fronts of rain pushing down into Scotland, Ireland, the north west of England and then across central and southern areas.  So a late July dip in the weather looks on the cards. (good for fly fishing though so I’m not complaining :))

Agronomic Notes

Well an interesting week last week with some heat and then rain, some of it torrential.

That combination of weather is behind the return of one of our still-to-be-sorted turf maladies, Etioated Growth or ETS – Etiolated Tiller Syndrome as it is known over the pond.


This is a really interesting but at the same time perplexing problem.

In the U.K and Ireland I tend to see the issue primarily affecting Poa annua but on that front I’d be interested to hear if any of you have seen any other grass species affected ?

I mention this because in the U.S, they see ETS primarily affecting Bentgrass. I have attached a pdf of some research work and if you download it here and read it, you’ll see they point the finger squarely at some specific bacterial species, Acidovorax avenae, Pseudomona ananatis and Xanthomonas translucens .

On examination of the affected plants (which incidentally look to display identical to our symptoms) they have found bacteria streaming from the plant under a microscope and what’s more they have isolated these bacteria, infected healthy plants and re-created the symptoms.

So an open and shut case then, ETS is caused by bacterial infection of the grass plant  ?

Well not really because every time I have sent samples of ETS-affected plants away over here for microbial assessment, the lab have singularly failed to find any of the three afore-mentioned bacterial species in the affected plant. Strange eh but I’m not giving up on this one yet…

The research work then goes on to test if biostimulants and / or Trinexapac-ethyl exacerbate the symptoms of ETS ?

It should be pointed out on the latter that it doesn’t appear to be the direct effect of applying TE that causes the symptoms, rather that as the grass plant rebounds out of the regulatory effect of TE you see an enhancement of ETS.

We have talked about the rebound effect before but basically the theory is that TE is broken down by temperature, the higher the temperature, the faster the breakdown, the shorter the longevity. Applying their GDD analysis it translates to a predicted longevity of 12-14 days maximum from a TE application (to greens height turf this is) in the height of summer heat before the plant will then come out of the effects of TE and rebound. The rebound effect seems to mirror the regulatory effect, that is to say if you have 20% regulation by applying TE, you get 20% more growth when the grass plant rebounds.

Not sure if this extrapolates up rate-for-rate but one key point to make is that applying TE at a higher than the labelled rate (perish the thought) did not give more longevity.

So the take home is, it is frequency, not rate, that is important in keeping the grass plant regulated in the summer on greens. If you miss the boat and the plant rebounds and this coincides with hot humid weather followed by rainfall, you may see more etiolation than if you weren’t using TE. They also slightly point the finger at biostimulants that naturally contain gibberellic acid (GA) because GA (much easier for me to write and less chance of mis-spelling !) stimulates plant growth by enhancing cell elongation. It figures then that if the plant is elongating because of another as yet unidentified effect, application of a GA-containing biostimulant may exacerbate the effect. So let’s be clear, TE and biostimulants don’t appear to be causing ETS but they may effect its prominence / expression.

Fairy Ringsbeadingup

So last week I posted a picture of a Fairy Ring where the plant was clearly under stress and showing potential evidence of die-back.

When I did a droplet test on a core taken from the affected area it was clear to see that 45-50mm down the profile, the rootzone was hydrophobic and this was then causing issues with water and nutrient uptake, hence the discolouration.  Below is a video you can download clearly showing water beading up at the bottom of the core but not at the surface.

So the grass plant displayed discolouration caused by hydrophobicity in the rootzone.

As a measure of contrast I also looked at some Fairy Rings last week that showed no hydrophobicity in the rootzone cores and the symptom expression was very different.

Here’s the two pictures side by side, the left showing plant discolouration due to hydrophobicity, the right no discolouration…


So one of the take homes of Fairy Ring management relates to irrigation and wetting agent strategy in the first place but also undoubtedly organic matter management.

For sure the symptom expression is also closely related to organic matter content in the surface of the green and I tend to see the worst symptoms on areas that have too much organic matter present. Typically these may be on areas of a golf green that don’t get regular pin positions and hence foot traffic and just like a back tee in a complex of tees, the lack of foot traffic enables more fibre to be created.

It isn’t always about excessive organic matter though because I remember regularly seeing Superficial Fairy Ring on newly-constructed USGA-spec greens in year one, long before even the highest N fertility program had produced surplus fibre. I always put this down to a lack of antagonistic bacteria and fungi in the rootzone because of the newness of the construction and typically they disappeared as the greens matured without need for any specific treatment.

Key to effective management is the droplet test to clearly ascertain where your problem lies from a depth perspective and then effective irrigation and organic matter management on these areas needs to follow.

The week ahead…

With high temperatures Monday to Wednesday this week followed by a forecast of cooler temperatures and rainfall, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that we may well see a repeat in activity of the pathogens associated with this run of weather.

So unfortunately I’d expect more ETS, Fairy Rings, Waitea, Red Thread and probably more Microdochium which has been doing the rounds of late with a pronounced spike in activity last week on some sites. Sorry to be the harbinger of bad news but it’s to be expected when we run mid-twenties temperatures and then have rainfall. You can also probably expect a growth flush as some sites did last week when they got the heavy rain so my advice is keep the plant as healthy as possible and buttoned down with PGR during this period unless of course you want to grow out symptoms of foliar disease.

DollarSpot220815_2Speaking of foliar diseases (seemless link  that…) It is possible that we will see increased activity from Dollar Spot on sites that are affected with this pathogen because of the anticipated periods of leaf wetness, a key driver to this disease. It tends to begin to show activity in the height of summer but then become much more aggressive in early autumn when we start to get the first heavy dew formation. Keep an eye out on any areas that have shown this pathogen in the past because it tends to start close to home in terms of past location and symptom expression.

Ok that’s it for this week and next week will probably only be a mini-blog as I have a family reunion in Denmark to attend. I’ll do my best though to keep you posted on what the weather has in store between a long awaited personal reunion with Tuborg Classic, Rundstykker and Spandauers 🙂


All the best.

Mark Hunt



July 10th


Hi All,

After another sizzling week down south with temperatures again topping 30°C at the end of the week, this summer is turning out to be a really hot one for central and southern England at least. On the back of a dry spring you can only wonder how long it is before we hear the familiar sounds of water restrictions for our amenity sector. No such problem for the north of England and Scotland though where the issue has been totally the opposite with high rainfall and very little in the way of summer heat so far.

The weather has certainly been unpredictable from a forecasting perspective with higher actual temperatures than forecast in a 5-day format, hit and miss rain and a rapidly changing picture on the 10-day forecast to the extent where it has been almost totally unreliable from one week to the next :(. Wind levels have also been unpredictable (eh Frank) ramping up in the afternoon after a quiet morning.

Last week, like many, I watched storms pop up out of nowhere on the rain radar, deliver their deluges and then disappear as quickly as they started. We had nothing here but just down the road in Oakham, they had torrential rain, thunder and lightning and hail the size (and bizarrely) the shape of 2 pound coins. If you watch the footage on You Tube it looks like something out of a clip from the U.S during a Hurricane such was the force of the storm.

So is it another week of heat or do we have some rain on the way ?

General Weather Situation

Well definitely the latter because we have a trough system in place into which a low pressure system will slip down this week and bring rain a good way south over the U.K along with cooler night and day temperatures. That rain is already in place as I type this on Monday morning with a band stretching from North Wales across northern England up to The North East. We will see more in the way of showers forming in The South West, across South Wales and these will work their way across into Central England and The Midlands later in the day. Ireland and Scotland will also see showers but these will be more few and far between than across England. Light winds today and temperatures a good bit lower than yesterday with high teens under the rain and low twenties out of it.

Moving onto Tuesday and that low pressure moves closer to the south of England bringing with it a mass of rain that pushes into the south west of Ireland early doors and then across The Irish Sea into Wales and the rest of the U.K during the afternoon. There also looks to be some rain for Central Scotland during the day. The worst of the rain will be across the south of the respective countries, drawing a line from Galway Bay to Dublin and from The Mersey to The Humber. South of this you can expect a pretty wet Tuesday for sure. Being a low pressure system in a trough, it’ll be slow-moving and if anything it’ll intensify during Tuesday night to bring some heavier rainfall for some areas. A much cooler day for the south with mid-teens under that rain likely whereas Scotland and Ireland north of that rain band will be mid to high teens. Winds will be light again and that’s why the rain fronts are likely to be so slow-moving.

Mid-week then already and Wednesday sees that heavy band of rain reluctantly clearing away south east during the morning but I wouldn’t expect it to clear Kent completely until late morning. It’ll leave behind a pleasant day for all of the U.K and Ireland on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine around, some unbroken cloud and temperatures in the mid to high teens, maybe touching 20°C across the west, pegged back elsewhere by a strengthening north easterly wind. With clear skies we’ll see temperatures drop into high single figures, such a relief from the muggy nights of last week for sure.

Moving onto Thursday and overnight a vertical band of rain will push into Ireland by dawn and slowly cross country reaching Scotland by late morning. Further south and east of this we look to have a better day but that rain will push into North Wales and north west England by tea time on Thursday and then it’ll move south into northern England and The Midlands later on Thursday evening but it’ll be weakening as it does so. That rain across Scotland will slowly clear from the west to leave a showery picture, the same for Ireland.  A strong westerly wind in place will nudge temperatures up into the high teens, maybe 20°C across Wales but it’ll also push showers across the U.K and Ireland through Thursday night into Friday.

So closing out the week we have a continuation of that showery theme for Friday morning but these will clear Ireland through Friday morning and the rest of us through the afternoon, though maybe lingering on in the east on Friday evening. So after the rain moves through, it’ll be a good dry day on Friday for most parts, except the east coast with that lingering rain. Temperatures will pick up into the high teens and low twenties with a moderate to strong north westerly wind in situ.

So how are we looking for the weekend ?

Saturday looks to be potentially wet for Scotland and Ireland with rain pushing in from the north west and moving on a south easterly trajectory through the course of Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon that rain will lessen in intensity but move into northern England pushing cloud before it across The Midlands and Central England. So a mixed day for Saturday for Scotland, the north of England and Ireland with a wet start giving away to showers and some sunny intervals later. Cloudy and dry I think for England and Wales with temperatures in the mid to high teens again, maybe nudging into the twenties in the south before the cloud cover builds. Sunday sees some rain again for the west of Scotland first off but this should clear to give a better day on Sunday. Warmer for us all on Sunday I think as high pressure nudges across from the west.

Weather Outlook

As stated earlier, I think the accuracy of all weather models from 5-10 days is taking a bit of a beating at the moment. It’s because we are alternating between peaks and troughs in the jet stream and in fairness it’s pretty difficult to predict where the line is drawn across the U.K and Ireland from a vertical and horizontal perspective. But here goes anyway…

So next week looks like starting unsettled, particularly for the north and west as a low pressure system is pushing bands of rain down on a north westerly airstream. So sunshine and showers for us all I think Monday and Tuesday but high pressure gently nudges some more stable weather in from the west on Wednesday so Ireland should clear up first if it’s right. Dry and settled then for the latter part of next week I think with light winds and pleasant rather than searing hot tempertaures.

Agronomic Notes

Ok so continuing the theme of catch up we can now take a look at June from a GDD and G.P perspective using all the data you guys have kindly sent my way, cheers its appreciated.

First off we look at at our yearly comparision using our Thame, U.K location…


If we look at the monthly data we can see June 2017’s total of 329.5 for monthly GDD is the highest total we have measured over the last 7 years, some 20% higher than any other year.

Because I am ultimately sad weather-wise, I ran some numbers for 1976 which some of us will remember as being the year of the drought and continual high temperatures and June 1976 comes out at 320 GDD, so we topped that in 2017 !

Now as stated last month just because we have high GDD in the summer it doesn’t necessarily translate to more growth because we know there’s a point where grass growth drops off depending on the species we are dealing with.

Anywhere north of 26°C and Poa annua just battens down the hatches whilst bentgrass is quite happy. Perennial ryegrass I think begins to slow down from a growth perspective above 30°C and temperatures of 38°C are capable of killing it outright. On that note it’s not inconceivable over the last month that on sheltered areas in full sun we have hit the maximum threshold level for Perennial Ryegrass.


Looking at the cumulative y.t.d, we can see that 2017 continues to be our warmest year since we started doing year-on-year comparisons from a GDD perspective, 17% higher than the last warm year in 2011.

U.K Site Comparison – June 2017


Plenty of data this month and it’s interesting to see that the areas receiving the highest rainfall were in the south west of England and Scotland, eastern Scotland and York. Unusually there has been quite a few occasions this summer when the main rainfall fronts have moved up the east coast and so a usually dry area of the country is amongst the wettest over the last 6-8 weeks.

The data from Guildford, traditionally one of the highest temperature regions in England shows a total GDD of 349.75, which is amazing and averages out at 11.6 every day….I bet fan and ice cream salesman had a very good June 🙂

Over to Ireland and a look at how June turned out there…


Well from a GDD perspective no suprise to see much lower figures for June 2017, with pretty good consistency across the country, Dublin just squeezing in as the warmest area and Claremorris, the coolest 🙁 Rainfall-wise, further indication that alot of June’s rainfall came from the west and then crossed the country with a pretty wet month all in all. That said….

Monthly totals can be deceptive…

If you look at monthly stats, particularly rainfall, you’ll see some high monthly totals, 100mm for Devon, 92mm for Dublin and the like and it would suggest plenty of rain across the month, but that’s where looking at monthly stats can be deceptive…


You can see when we overlay the daily rainfall pattern that most locations received nearly 50% of their monthly total across two days, one at the beginning of the month and one at the end. There was also a period of nearly two weeks when no rain fell at all so June 2017 may have been a wet month in some locations but it was also a droughty one from a plant’s perspective with a prolonged period of stress..

G.P data pinpoints summer stress…


The graph above shows the maximum air temperature in Guildford across the month peaking with 5 days in excess of 30°C from the 17th June to 22nd June. You can see the corresponding dip in G.P during this period as it falls back dramatically. This is highlighting a period of intense plant stress due to high temperature and high daily loss of moisture from the grass plant.

It was during this period that many issues become apparent, not least with irrigation and organic matter.

Thatch is concentrated organic matter and as such heats up far quicker than an organic matter / soil mix and therefore during periods of high temperature, areas that contain more organic matter tend to show plant stress much more quickly.. They also display a tendency to become hydrophobic more quickly as well and this adds further to plant stress. During this period it was not uncommon to find areas on turf surfaces with high organic matter showing pronounced hydrophobicity and rootzone moisture levels less than 5%.

Irrigation is a multi-component discussion and quite individual to location, system design and personal irrigation preference but it’s clear that these kind of conditions highlight weak irrigation performance. This can be down to poor head coverage, incorrect application of water (too little or too much), incorrect balance between mains irrigation and hand-watering to name but a few.

More often than not it can also be down to under-estimating how much moisture is being lost from the rootzone and having no clear concept how much you’re applying, to where, at the same time.

Measuring irrigation in run time rather than mm applied is the first mistake.

Thankfully if you’re able to afford one, a moisture meter is a great way of more accurately understanding how much water is getting to where on your turf surface so you can then dove-tail run time and resulting soil moisture levels. The missing part of this equation is Evapotranspiration (E.T) and this parameter approximates how much moisture is being lost from the rootzone. Now I accept a lot of facilities don’t have the luxury of affording a weather station with E.T measurement but you can get an idea of your local E.T by looking at forecast data.

During this stress period in June, we consistently ran high daily E.T’s > 5mm per day and over that 5-day period it wouldn’t have been unheard of to have lost 30mm of moisture from the rootzone.  Even if you’re replacing 50% of this by a combination of irrigation and hand watering, you’d need to apply 15mm of water over the 5 days just to keep the grass plant ticking over.

The coming week….

Moisture and cooler nights over the coming few days following on from a warm period of weather will no doubt trigger some more disease pressure, notably Superficial Fairy Ring, Microdochium nivale and possibly Waitea Patch. We may also see the first signs of Dollar Spot and Anthracnose.

We chatted about this one last week but we have also seen some really odd Rhizoctonia symptoms spring up lately with the combination of high temperature and humidity (note without more detailed analysis it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which species of this disease is responsible in the image below but Waitea is suspected).

This patch below shows not only some turf loss but arial mycelium typical for Rhizoctonia species…


The respite from the heat plus some natural moisture will give the grass plant a chance to take a breath so why not help it with some micro-solid tining or vertidraining to facilitate good gaseous exchange and allow moisture to move more freely from the surface. The benefits of summer vertidraining with small tines and using a lightwieght machine will be clear to see in the coming months.

Ok that’s it for this week, all the best for the coming week.

Mark Hunt




July 3rd – Mini Blog


Hi All,

Today’s blog will only be a mini-blog because I’m up against it time-wise. Normally I keep Monday clear but today that wasn’t possible so I’ll do a full blog later this week on Thursday with the GDD analysis for June as we are now in a new month, July. (Thanks again to everyone for sending in their data)

Last week’s promised rain materialised but didn’t give as much for some as was forecast and that’s because the low pressure become more easterly-orientated as it progressed up from the south coast. So here in The Midlands we ended up with 12mm when 22mm was forecast and somewhere across in the east like my beloved Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, ended up with 33mm. The dividing line was once again the A1 and I’ve said this before, those Romans knew a thing or two about the weather when they built that road where it is. For sure they did.

You can see how the rain progressed in these screen shots I took from Netweather’s rain radar service.

trough11 Trough21

So how are we looking this week ?

Well here’s my summary synopsis for the week ahead..

This week we have a battle between an Atlantic low and a Bay of Biscay high and that means a great deal of uncertainty about yes you guessed it, rainfall. I think the majority of rain will be west and north this week with it not moving into central areas until Friday.

So for central and southern areas including The Midlands, we should have a pretty dry week with temperatures building as the week progresses culminating in the mid-high twenties by the end of the week before thunderstorms and rain moves in from the west on Thursday / Friday to freshen up the weather in time for the weekend. For Wales and the south west of England, more chance of showers on Monday and Tuesday mornings but staying mainly dry after this with again heat building towards the end of the week,  into the mid-high twenties possibly. Thursday p.m. looks like when it’ll be due to break down into thunderstorms and these will continue with more rain across Friday. For the north and north west of England, you’ll catch more of the low pressure system so cooler here with more cloud cover and rain. Showers kicking off on Monday but a heavier band of rain is due on Tuesday to move across the north of England during the day. Drier through Wednesday, still with the threat of showers and then more rain from Thursday and Friday as the low pressure becomes more dominant. For Ireland, showers for you on Monday giving way to a heavier pulse of rain on Monday night that will push up country and become heavier as it does so. This rain will continue on Tuesday but really only affecting the top half of the country from Dublin north probably. Wednesday looks dull initially but brightening up from the south west to give clear spells of sunshine and pleasant temperatures probably into the low-mid twenties for Wednesday and Thursday. By then we could see some more showers move into the east of the country but I think although you’ll be more unsettled by the end of the week you’ll miss most of the U.K’s rain. Finally Scotland, unsettled during Monday with rain clearing from the north to give a largely dry day on Tuesday though that heavy band of rain may flirt with The Borders and east of Scotland later in the day. Dull with some showers on Wednesday, clearing through the morning to give a pleasant day but much cooler here with mid-high teens the order of the week as the weather is more influenced by the cooler low pressure system. As we approach the end of the week we see more unsettled weather pushing through on Thursday / Friday.

Weather Outlook

At present (I’ll update on Thursday) it looks like we’ll keep the warmer, settled conditions starting next week but cooler than the high’s of this week with low twenties more typical. Towards the end of next week, a northerly low presure system is due to push down and influence the weather from the north first so that means cool and unsettled with rain for Scotland and the north of England. At this stage it looks like it could push down and affect southern and central areas by next weekend but that’s along way off so we’ll see when I update on Thursday.

Agronomic Notes

With the combination of high temperatures in late June and then rainfall, it’s not surprising that pretty much everything comes out of the woodwork from a turf perspective.

For instance, I noticed the first burst of etiolated growth late last week on some collars and approaches together with a whole host of other maladies.

I’ll concentrate on two for today.

Temperature + rainfall is the combination for Superficial Fairy Ring (shown below) and its many variants so a lot of rings around many of which are likely to be caused by this family. That said there are other pathogens, like Waitea Patch and even Ectoparasitic nematodes which can cause similar symptoms so the best way to determine what you’re dealing with is to take a core from the ring.



Have a smell for any musty, mushroom like odour, a sure give-away for Fairy Ring and then take the core, put it down on its side and then place water droplets on it to see if they go into the profile or bead up. (see above). If they do then it’s very likely that you have hydrophobicity caused by this disease and this may in turn be affecting turf performance. I did this last week and found hydrophobicity down about 50mm below the surface. In this case you’ll need to spike the area, apply some wetting agent and if it is really a concern aesthetically, a fungicide as well.

Waitea Patch (below) can look very, very similar to Superficial Fairy Ring but there’s some important differences. There doesn’t tend to be the musty, old socks type of smell, there’s no hydrophobicity and it is really affected by moisture. So it tends to appear after heavy rain and / irrigation and typically on wetter areas of greens. Thankfully both pathogens are usually controlled by the same fungicide, Azoxystrobin, so if your I.D is off, it may not be such an issue.


Ok that’s all for this week’s mini-blog, as stated above, I’ll do a more in-depth one on Thursday and by then we should see how those storms are progressing and whether next week’s low pressure is a certainty or a flash in the pan.

All the best.

Mark Hunt