May 14th

Hi All,

At this time of year I think you see nature at its most vivid green with the air full of the scent of blossom (not great news for everyone I appreciate).

I had a friend over from Breckenridge, Colorado last week, he’s English, but settled over there and loves the mountain life and scenery in the U.S. He said to me that the first thing he noticed when he got out of the airport was the perfume-like smell in the air and the colour green. The depth of green is just so fresh and vibrant, it’s a pleasure to walk along the hedgerows and lanes lined with Keck (Cow Parsley to you), Pink and Red Campion’s and White Dead Nettles. I pick the flowers off the latter, squeeze their narrow tubes and suck the nectar out, it’s a lovely natural sugar rush whilst I’m plodding along 🙂

We got 8mm of un-forecasted rain on Saturday, came out of nowhere, all the models had Friday’s Irish rain dissipating as it came over The Irish Sea through the early hours of Saturday morning. About 4 p.m. my Netatmo weather station pinged me a notification whilst I was fishing to say more than 0.3mm of rain had fell over the last hour, a rogue shower I thought, not a bit of it, it rained all evening.

Just goes to show with everything available forecasters still can get it wrong and rainfall / snowfall are the most ikely culprits when they do.

Ok onto more mundane thoughts and that’s this weeks weather…

Now the good news is that last week we were due to have a low pressure system drop down later this week but that isn’t appearing now, so we are going to stay dry on the whole but we have a significant drop in temperature mid-week that will have you reaching for your extra layers for a day or two.

General Weather Situation

So Monday is pretty straight-forward, dry for everyone but initially we will see plenty of cloud cover over Ireland, western and eastern coasts. This will burn off during the morning to leave long spells of unbroken sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures. Temperatures will be slightly cooler along the coasts, mid-teens being the order of the day here but it’ll rise to high teens and even touch twenty degrees in the south of England today. Winds will remain northerly orientated swinging round from north-west to north-east.

Tuesday sees a rain front push showers into Connacht during the morning and these along with thicker cloud will cross Ireland through the first part of the day. Elsewhere a dry start again with the sun soon breaking through to pick temperatures up. That rain across Ireland will move into the west / south-west of Scotland after lunch and push across country during the rest of the day. Further south we may see some showers spark off across northern and central regions later in the day but these will be hit and miss and almost un-forecastable. Cool under that thicker cloud and rain for Ireland and Scotland in the low teens but away from the effects of that rain front, expect high teens / low twenties and light north-easterly winds.

Wednesday sees the boot on the other foot with the north-east wind pushing cloud and Haar off The North Sea into The Midlands and southern England, whereas Scotland and Ireland will miss the effects of this and have much sunnier weather. That thick cloud cover and absence of sun will introduce a chill into the proceedings for central and northern England and parts of Wales keeping temperatures down in the low teens. Maybe West Wales will just miss the effects of this and see some sunshine over the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline. Mid-high teens for Ireland and Scotland in the sunshine and low teens for everyone stuck under the effects of the Haar. Late in the evening you may just see some sunshine here as the cloud cover breaks but that’ll drop temperatures even more to give a chilly night.

We keep that north-easterly / easterly wind through Thursday and that means eastern regions will remain on the chilly side but we will see more in the way of sunshine for central and southern regions on Thursday, though it’ll be hazy in nature. So western areas will benefit the most from being furthest from that easterly wind, borne on a colder than usual North Sea. The lower than normal sea temperature will be a feature of this year I think because whenever the wind swings north-easterly or easterly we will see a pronounced drop in temperatures. Currently the sea temperature off Norfolk is 9.5°C, which I think is a couple of degrees lower than normal. So Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the west of England will continue to benefit from the warmer temperatures with mid to high teens likely. Another chilly night for central areas.

Closing out the week on Friday we see a similar picture though with lighter easterly winds they’ll be less cloud cover and that’ll allow temperatures to rise a little over mid-week. Dry again for most of us with only a weak rain front likely to bring showers to Donegal and the north-west of Scotland through the afternoon. Similar temperatures to Thursday, mid to high teens depending on cloud cover.

With high pressure sat over us this coming weekend I think it’ll be another cracker with long spells of unbroken sunshine for Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Later on Sunday, a weak rain front from a nearby low pressure system may just try and push into north-west Connacht / Donegal but other than that, nothing to fret about. With less cloud cover and light winds I expect most places will see high teens to low twenties through the course of Saturday and maybe a little cooler for the west / north-west of Ireland on Sunday with that cloud cover.

Weather Outlook

I expect high pressure to stay in charge through the early part of next week so a continuation of the dry and settled conditions for most of us. I say most of us because that low pressure system that tried its best to push rain into north-west Ireland on Sunday will gradually nudge the high pressure away eastwards and that’ll mean an increasingly unsettled picture for western / north-western areas from Wednesday with rain possibly affecting southern and central areas towards the end of next week.

Agronomic Notes

Uptake windows and growth…

That rain on Saturday night coupled with warm day and night-time temperatures really moved growth on again and as we can see from the Meteoturf graphic above, that growth spike will continue unabated through today and tomorrow but come Wednesday we see a pronounced drop-off in Growth Potential with declining temperatures. I’ve documented the Meteoturf output below so you can see the type of information it is providing and hopefully assisting you when making management decisions.

So for me I’d apply anything isn’t critical to plant uptake (wetting agent for example) during the ‘downside’ of the Growth Potential chart and then products that require uptake (Nutrition, PGR’s, biostimulants, fungicides, selective herbicides and the like) on the upward part of the chart at the end of the week.

There’s been no research into this but I think products like PGR’s are very sensitive to temperature in terms of getting good uptake and therefore regulation.

The above uptake scenario is particularly relevant if you are maintaining turf with a high % of Poa annua present because currently the grass plant is in seedhead mode and the majority of carbohydrate reserves are being diverted away from the leaves, up the plant towards the seedhead.

It is therefore difficult to get the plant to respond to nutrition, PGR’s, iron products, etc. during this period. It is more of an issue when you are dealing with the annual biotype of Poa annua than the perennial one because the former produces a lot more seed heads and as it does so its basal leaves thicken and pale off making it very obvious to the eye within a darker stand of turf (ryegrass for example)

Geographical Comparisons – Growth and Rainfall – Scotland

Last week I asked for anyone who could share GDD / G.P / Rainfall data in Scotland, Wales and the north-west of England and I am indebted to Darren up at Machrihanish for answering the call. Really grateful as it allowed me to carry out a west vs. east comparison for Scotland with respect to growth stats and rainfall. Now many moons ago I use to work all of Scotland from Port Logan up to north of the Black Isle and so I am well-versed in the differences between locations in Scotland, so I thought I’d compare west vs. east using some of Darren’s data and a location on the coast in Fife.

I looked at Growth Potential and Rainfall as my comparison stats and I was amazed once I’d charted it out to see the similarities in terms of Growth Potential from two opposite sides of Scotland. They both got off to a slow start, with the west nudging head but from the middle of April, the east showed a faster growth curve to the point at the end of April when they share almost identical readings.

Now I know if I chose somewhere up on the north-east coast it would be a very different story but it is interesting nonetheless to see how closely the two Growth Potential curves follow each other.

The same cannot be said for rainfall though and again this comparison closely correlates with our west-east model in terms of rainfall totals, with westerly locations tending to come off worse.

Next week I should have a little more time so I’ll do Ireland and England, west-east and see how the cookie crumbles.

Enjoy the sun, wrap up well mid-week and don’t forget to use plenty of sun block come the weekend 🙂

All the best.

Mark Hunt

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