Monthly Archives: June 2019

June 24th

Image courtesy of www.tropicaltidbits.com

(Image courtesy of www.tropicaltidbits.com)

Hi All,

Sitting in a cafe in Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport isn’t usually the kind of place where you’d think you would get some inspiration from nature and its ability to adapt to its environment but you’d be wrong…

Not only has this Irish House Sparrow found a way in and out of the terminal and waits patiently for any nibbles kicking around but it is able to read and obey signs as well 🙂

I remember as a lad you only ever used to see Seagulls at sea then they started moving inland. They were joined by Cormorants, Egrets, Arctic and Common Terns and now I see Oyster Catchers breeding inland on many a golf course as well.

Nature is adaptive and so is our industry.

Last year by this stage we had endured a month of high E.T and temperatures and were praying for rain which didn’t come for another 6 weeks. This year we have had a wet June, not a lot of heat and the media are asking “When is the summer going to start ?” In both scenarios we are expected to deliver our product be it golf course, sports pitch, race course, e.t.c to the standard expected despite what Mother Nature throws at us. Sometimes rewarding, sometimes a PITA, but always interesting…

The coming week will be a testing one with rain over the 2nd half of the weekend and early part of this week followed by some pretty high temperature and E.T rates.

Managing grass growth and greens speed will be an ongoing challenge this week.

General Weather Situation

For some Sunday was a pretty wet affair with some heavy rain around, for others it was dry, dull and very humid. That rain starts off Monday morning sitting over The Borders and Moray Firth with another pushing into the south coast of England. Elsewhere we are gloomy, warm and humid to start off the week. Through Monday morning we will see some brightness over Central England but we will also see some showers kick this rain across the south of England will push up into The Home Counties and eventually The Midlands becoming thundery. We will also see some showers developing across the south and south-east of Ireland after a dry start. Through the afternoon these showers consolidate into longer spells of potentially heavy rain accompanied by thunder across The Midlands, north of England, north of Wales and Scotland.  The south of England after that initial rain should stay dry but that rain will linger over northern England and Scotland through the late afternoon and evening, particularly towards The North East. Ireland will see a similar consolidation of showers into longer spells of rain as we progress through the afternoon. A really humid one as temperatures climb in the south to the mid-twenties, slightly cooler for Ireland but still touching 20°C and a couple of degrees down for Scotland. Winds will be light and from the south-east.

Onto Tuesday and overnight we see more rain pushing up from France into southern England accompanied by thunder. Some of this rain will be extremely heavy with localised flooding expected in places. Now it is continental rain so things can always change with this one but the projection is for that heavy rain to extend into The Midlands, East Anglia and northern England by dawn with only west and North Wales missing out. Ireland looks to start dull but dry. By the morning rush hour, the rain should be clearing the south coast of England and slowly moving north and by this time it’ll be into south, west and Mid-Wales. This band of heavy rain will be slow-moving and so by early afternoon it’ll extend from the north Midlands up into the north of England and The Borders. At the same time we may see some showers pop up along the south east coast of Munster and during the afternoon these may extend up into The Midlands and Central Munster and persist into the evening. By the early evening that main mass of rain will have cleared most of the U.K leaving some isolated showers across The North East. The wind will be moderate to strong and from the north-east. Temperature-wise anything from high teens under that rain to low twenties across the south of England and Ireland.

Onto Wednesday and a much quieter day weather-wise and brighter as we clear some of that murk from earlier in the week. So a really pleasant day beckons for England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland with some sunshine breaking through the clouds and light to moderate north-easterly, bearing easterly winds. All in all a nice day after the deluges from Tuesday for some places. Temperature-wise we should see 20-23°C across the U.K and Ireland. Late on Thursday night we may see some continental rain drift into the south-west of Ireland on its way out into The Atlantic.

Thursday sees the low pressure that brought cloud and rain to the U.K and Ireland sitting south of Ireland and through Thursday morning the south and south-west of Ireland may pick up some rain from its northern tip. Away from this low pressure we see the U.K under the protection of high pressure so a bright and sunny day for England, Wales and Scotland with some really hot temperatures for the south of England and Scotland with 24-26°C expected. Cooler over The Midlands and north of England with low twenties expected. Ireland will see a south-west / north-east divide with cloud and rain lingering close to Kerry and the south coast but further east and north, a much better day with some very warm temperatures pushing towards the mid-twenties. With moist air close by Ireland you may see some thundery outbreaks associated with this. A windy day with a strong to moderate easterly wind.

Overnight into Friday and the south west of Ireland will continue to see the effects of that low pressure with rain and cloud pushing into Kerry from dawn. As we go through Friday morning that rain will extend north and east to cover all of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Across The Irish Sea we look to have another dry and warm / very warm start to the day with sunshine from the off.  During the afternoon that rain will cross Ireland and by tea time reach the western coast of England, Wales and Scotland. Further inland we look to stay dry though a risk of thunder and some localised downpours may apply. Onto Friday evening and that rain over Ireland is still reluctant to clear the east and north east and will also now be affecting the west of Scotland with some heavy outbreaks likely. Further south across England and Wales we may see more cloud cover building from the west and some localised thundery showers overnight. Another very warm day with temperatures up in the high twenties for the south of England, Wales, Midlands and Scotland and low twenties for Ireland. Again a windy one with the wind swinging round to the south east during the day and moderate to strong with it.

The outlook for the weekend is a tricky one but Saturday looks like seeing a thundery breakdown to the weather with localised thunder and downpours associated with it. Pretty much a waste of time predicting where these will occur because an updraft that starts a thunderstorm may evolve from a car park or hot concrete / buildings / roads so try predicting that. The rain that came into Scotland overnight will push southwards through the day into northern England and The Midlands by Saturday afternoon as the wind swings round to the north-west. At this stage it doesn’t look like reaching the south of England before petering out. Ireland looks to see some rain push across from the south west to the east but the southern coast of Munster and Leinster should remain dry. Temperature-wise, extremely hot across the south of England, touching 30°C  I think, with mid-twenties for The Midlands and Wales and low twenties for Ireland and Scotland. Sunday looks like being a cooler affair as that humid weather is pushed east by a westerly wind so a cooler and dry one with more in the way of cloud around to close out the weekend. That said I’d still expect temperatures in the low twenties across the south of England.

Weather Outlook

So after the heat wave and humidity of this week, what’s in store for next week ?

Well with that hot air plume pushed back onto the continent and cooler air pushing in from the west, next week looks like starting off in an OK way really. Back to high teens and low twenties sort of temperature, a prevailing westerly wind and showery over the north and west. By Wednesday we start to see the effects of yes you guessed it, a southerly low pressure system, a feature of summer 2019 so far. This will push in rain across the Ireland, Wales and south of England from Wednesday before fading through into Thursday. The end of next week looks like we see that low pressure push in and bring wetter and cooler weather for the U.K and Ireland and that unsettled, cooler theme will persist into and possibly through the weekend.

It’s been a feature of this year that whenever we get warmer air pushing up from the continent, it prevails for a while before the jet stream sinks south and brings unsettled and cooler weather back into the picture.

Agronomic Notes

This week may be a challenging week for turf managers depending on your location, rootzone and grass type….

Let’s talk about growth…

So June 2019 has been a bit of a challenging month from a growth perspective because we have had some heavy dollops of rain (much appreciated) and lately some warm nights and warm days.

This combination of moisture and optimum temperature for growth has meant Poa annua in particular has been growing at a very fast rate and for that reason it has presented issues related to greens speed. The rain also triggered another seedhead flush at a time when usually we would be waving goodbye to them. This further aggravated the situation in terms of presenting a good, consistent putting surface.

Now don’t get me wrong I’d take this years weather for June in place of last year’s but both present issues, they are just different ones….

Below is a graph showing the weather to date for June 2019 with the addition of this week’s projected temperatures….

You can see quite clearly the peak in mid-June of high Growth Potential and then also for this week with maxed out G.P for the last week of June leading into July.

Looking at this week specifically we have that quite rare combination (for us) of rainfall, high day and night temperatures and high humidity. For Poa annua this can be an issue as we see fast growth rates, a puffy, succulent leaf and on fine turf, difficulty presenting a fast. consistent surface. The potential for heavy rain on Tuesday will mean a saturated rootzone as well for a time (depending on your rootzone type obviously).

I’d expect plenty of natural growth this week without much of a need for surplus nitrogen. So my first call would be to minimise N contribution this week in the form of liquid / granular fertiliser and keep it trimmed by just using iron and PGR to hold back growth and maintain colour until things settle down after the weekend. I also think that thundery rain may be carrying some atmospheric N so you’ll be getting an N input if you get the rain. I’m going to try and measure it this week.

Disease Activity

Waitea Patch

We can expect plenty of disease activity this week and not just Microdochium nivale. The high temperature and humidity will see continued Basidiomycetes activity, Waitea Patch, Red Thread and possibly some of the other Rhizoctonia species to boot.

All the more reason to keep N contributions low.

Waitea Patch can resemble Superficial Fairy Ring but it is from a different fungal family and is a real lover of humidity and moisture. It typically turns up on areas that get over-irrigated and / or saturated after heavy rainfall and as things dry out tends to fade away so not a priority for fungicide treatment.

Go easy on the cultural…

I wouldn’t say it’s the best week for aggressively focussing on verticutting / scarifying either because the leaf will be succulent and easily damaged and we will have significant dry-down / stress later in the week, so you’re probably better to hang fire and allow growth rates and the plant to settle down as we go into next week. Helping the plant breathe prior to Tuesday’s rainfall might not be such a bad idea…Sometimes on grass, less is more…

High E.T rates predicted…

Managing plant and rootzone moisture levels this week will be challenging because of Tuesday’s anticipated rainfall coupled with high daily E.T forecast for later in the week.

So we are likely to go from saturated to dried out in the blink of an eye. This will be particularly challenging for England, Wales and Scotland as they have the combination of high rainfall and high E.T forecast. (Ireland doesn’t have the E.T spike)

You can see this in the Meteoturf output below ;

The combination of high temperatures and high wind speeds is likely to drive very high E.T rates and these will quickly put the plant under stress. The Meteoturf output is estimating daily E.T rates of ≥ 6mm per day and that’s significantly high. Things look to peak on Thursday and Friday and then once we get to Sunday things should settle down again but I’d say using a moisture meter (if you have one) is going to be essential this week in determining how your rootzone is behaving with respect to moisture levels.

Remember also that the wind will dry out from the surface so your moisture meter might be saying things are fine and dandy at 50-60mm but the top 25mm where the organic matter is concentrated may be a different ball game moisture-wise.

Ok short and sweet this week, not sure if I’ll be blogging next week or not so likely / hopefully back to ‘normal’, whatever that is, w/c 8th July.

All the best for the coming week.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 17th

Hi All,

First up my apologies for the late publishing of the blog last week, an I.T glitch compounded by my finishing it late in the first place 🙁

It didn’t make the weather any better though in what must have been the wettest June week on record in places. Reports of 100mm + in a day were common and I know it caused a lot of issues in terms of flooding, washed out bunkers and the like. It wasn’t that good for nature either as many birds had young some of which died in their nests and nest boxes because of the combination of rain and cold. Particularly birds of prey who struggle to hunt in wet weather.

Looking on the bright side, it did however do a lot of good for us by giving the ground a proper soaking and this time the rain went in rather than running off, so we wet up right down the profile. For those that have them it also topped up many a reservoir and when you look at the fact that we are heading into what normally are our two hottest months of the year, that can only be a good thing.

It did make me laugh last week when England and Wales was getting hammered and Ireland and Scotland stayed dry on the whole. I kind of knew someone, somewhere would be having a wry snigger to themselves but I didn’t expect this kind of image to drop into my WhatsApp folder….tut tut Smithy 🙂

Growth is abnormal at the moment because of the rain and temperature combination.

I walked past crops yesterday that I last saw 3 weeks ago and the difference is amazing. Maize that was only just poking through the ground is now 9″ above it. Grass pastures are so high now that the grass is beginning to lodge so controlling grass growth will be high up on the agenda this week.A big thanks to Leicestershire and Rutland farmers, their footpath and bridleway maintenance is always top drawer with lovely mowed pathways through grassland, always appreciated.

So let’s see what Mother Nature is throwing at us this week weather-wise and as you can see from the graphic below, we are still in a trough pattern in the jet stream…

General Weather Situation

So Monday starts off dry for many locations with bright sunshine and a strong drying, south westerly wind. There are showers around, some moving across the west of Ireland, a line stretching from mid-Wales up to the Humber and more across the north and west of Scotland. Through the morning we will see those showers consolidate into longer periods of rain across central and western Scotland and also across that line of showers from Wales to the Humber. Ireland will see some of those showers in the west push across The Midlands into Leinster through the course of the afternoon. For most though, away from these showers it’ll be a good drying day, warm and breezy with that south-westerly wind in attendance. Temperature-wise, expect 18°C for England and Wales, 16°C for Ireland and 14-15°C for Scotland with that rain and cloud cover.

Overnight into Tuesday and that rain clears away to leave a pretty much dry start for all the U.K and Ireland except for north-west Scotland where we will see some rain move in for the wee hours. It looks like staying dry through the morning but as we approach midday we will see some rain push into the Isle of Wight and The South West / south coast of England. This is due to yet another low pressure pushing up from The Bay of Biscay into the south of England, a common feature of a trough pattern in the jet stream at this time of year.  This band of rain will intensify and move north across London into The Midlands by late afternoon, pushing into Wales and the north of England through the early evening. It will pick up in intensity overnight with some localised downpours and flooding expected early on Wednesday I’m afraid. Temperature-wise similar to Monday but with a much lighter wind on Tuesday and that’ll make the rain overnight worse as it will be slow-moving.

So Wednesday will start off very wet across the south of England, Midlands, north of England and Wales with some very heavy rain around at dawn making early doors, travel conditions pretty hairy. Away from that rain it will be dry across Ireland and Scotland prompting me to no doubt receive another “we have better weather than you do” jibe 🙂 By the morning rush hour that heavy band of rain will have cleared the south coast / south of England and began to move north with some very heavy rain projected for The Midlands and east of England. By late morning the worst of the rain will have moved off into The North Sea but they’ll still be some heavy showers around for northern England.  We will also see some rain push into Connacht and Northern Ireland through the 2nd part of Wednesday with some showers pushing across Ireland into the east later. By late evening we will have a largely dry picture save for some showers across the north-west coast of Scotland. Overnight the wind will swing round to the north / north-west so a cooler day on Wednesday with that rain and heavy cloud dominating the weather, with temperatures in their mid-teens only. Similar temperatures for Ireland and Scotland but cooler at night.

Onto Thursday and we see a drier start albeit a short-lived one before rain moves into western coastal locations of the U.K and Ireland. Overnight that wind has swung back from the cool northerly to a moderate westerly so a milder feel to the weather if a little dull with plenty of cloud around. Through the morning, those showers over the west of Scotland and Ireland will push eastwards across central and eastern areas whilst further south we will see showers push in from the west inland through the 2nd half of the day. Those showers will consolidate into longer spells of rain over western and central Scotland and across the south-west of Ireland / Scotland as well. Further south a sunshine and showers scenario with a drying wind and 15-17°C only and a couple of degrees lower than that for Ireland and Scotland under that thicker cloud and rain. By the evening those showers will fizzle out leaving a reasonably dry, if a little cool night.

Closing out the week on Friday we have a better day for most areas but still with rain / showers around across Scotland and northern England initially. A much drier day for Ireland, Wales and England with slightly better temperatures but still a bit disappointing approaching Midsummer’s Day on Monday 24th June. Through the afternoon we will see a continuation of showers across Northern Ireland and Scotland but these will fade out as we approach evening. Further south we will be drier and a little milder with temperatures pushing towards the high teens in the south of England aided by a milder, westerly wind. Similar temperatures to Thursday for Ireland and Scotland, 14-16°C.

So how do we look for the weekend ?

Well we have high pressure from the continent briefly holding fort so Saturday looks like being a calm, dry but dull day with plenty of cloud pushing in and unusually for this time of year, a light to moderate easterly wind which will peg back temperatures into the mid-teens so a tad disappointing. Bit of a question mark about Sunday in my books as we see a low pressure system down in (yes you guessed it) the Bay of Biscay begin to push more unsettled weather into Ireland, the south-west of England and possibly South Wales. The question mark is really how far this rain will progress vs. the influence of the continental high pressure system with Ireland looking to have a wet 2nd half of the day but currently most of the rain contained to The South West of England. Later on Sunday that rain is projected to move into Scotland and push into southern England / The Midlands during the evening so potentially a wet start to next week.

Weather Outlook

Hmmm, an interesting one next week with the weather looking to start unsettled for Ireland and the southern half of England for Monday as still pick up the effects of that low pressure sitting south of the U.K. As we move through Tuesday we continue to have unsettled conditions and cooler temperatures across Ireland and the U.K but moving into Wednesday we see high pressure push in and bring much warmer and drier weather for the 2nd half of next week. Since it is pushing in from the west, Ireland will pick up the benefit first but I think Thursday and Friday will be pretty warm and sunny with temperatures up into the twenties.

Will it last ?

Well we are talking Mystic Meg territory now but my guess is that it’ll break down for the weekend with some very heavy rain and thundery downpours pushing in from the south as a low pressure system from the Bay of Biscay begins to influence the weather. So starting unsettled, cool and wet for July could be one scenario….

Agronomic Notes

I suppose since I talked a lot about how dry May was I should now talk about last week’s rain deluges. So many areas last week received their entire allocation for the summer in terms of rainfall over 2-3 days or as the media often quoted “A months rainfall in a day”….Seems to me we hear that term more and more nowadays…I fully appreciate it caused a lot of hassle in terms of flooded greens, over-flowing ditches not to mention bunker wash-outs and contamination. What it also did in a roundabout way was highlight areas where investment in bunker lining and drainage was paying dividends or where it is sorely needed. If you look at last summer and this one so far we need to invest in drainage and irrigation going forward but the reality is most clubs can only focus resources on greens so that means outfield areas will suffer being either too wet or too dry depending on conditions.

Despite the unusually high daily rainfall totals I had lots of pictures sent to me of flooded areas and then the same area 20 – 24hrs afterwards (like the one above thanks Rob) and the turnaround was quite amazing. For me that is the result of good management and good investment in the areas that need it in order to keep surfaces playable. Work like vertidraining outfield and fine turf areas often is taken for granted but when we get rainfall totals like we had last week, it comes into its own in terms of moving water down the profile.

That said it doesn’t mean we are out of the woods just yet because depending on your rainfall total (and it was extremely localised) you may still be at moisture deficit.

Using the data from The Oxfordshire at Thame which we know is a dry and exposed site, they are still in a moisture deficit scenario because last week’s rain ran to 50mm and not the 100 – 150mm noted in other locations…(see below)

On other sites with lower daily E.T and higher rainfall totals you’ll now be in a moisture surplus situation and that is great going into July and August.

Make no mistake though, last summers extreme temperatures and lack of rainfall coupled with a dry winter and spring has still left us a long way from being safe and dry (pardon the reverse pun) from a rainfall perspective..For completeness I have carried on my E.T vs. Rainfall chart from last year to y.t.d at the same location and I think it highlights this point well.

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Leaching…

We don’t talk a lot about leaching but last weeks combination of cool temperatures and high rainfall will have caused significant loss of nutrient by leaching.

Way back in 2007 / 2008, I did some leachate work over in Ireland measuring losses from a USGA-spec rootzone green equipped with lysimeters. Some of you in Ireland may still remember the summer of 2008 and particular August when some areas of Dublin were flooded with similar rainfall totals to what we endured the last week. That particular year I was running two different regimes, one using slow release liquid fertilisers in the summer applying 19kg of N per ha with each monthly application and the other conventional quick release liquid applying 6kg of N per ha per month.

Proportionately we saw the most leaching from the lower N regime because firstly the nutrients had no mechanism to prevent them being lost through the rootzone (they weren’t slow release) and secondly with a low N regime and a correspondingly weak grass plant, losses of nutrient due to poor uptake (less root uptake) were high. In July when we measured 139.5mm of rainfall for the month in Dublin (!), we saw 8.7% of applied nitrogen leaching from the slow release liquid plots vs. 25% of applied nitrogen from the lower N, quick release, liquid fertiliser plots.

Definitely a case of less = more.

So going into this week dependent on your timing and type / quantity of N applied to turf surfaces over the last 10 days, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they seem weak, lacking colour and a bit on the pasty side. Importantly from a disease dynamic perspective, we need a healthy grass plant to grow away from disease, so a tonic this week may go along way to re-addressing the balance…

 

Disease Activity

With cool temperatures and long periods of plant leaf wetness it isn’t surprising that there’s a lot of Microdochium activity at the base of the canopy manifesting itself as copper blotching across the turf surface. As discussed above I think it is important  if conditions allow to ensure the plant is healthy with a light foliar tonic and if you have moderate to high disease pressure, maybe leaving out the PGR would be advantageous.

It isn’t just Microdochium nivale that is doing the rounds, last week’s weather was positively autumnal and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we see turf scenarios typical of rain after a dry spell and in my books that means mushrooms !

So lots of Fairy Ring activity evident on turf surfaces ranging from type 1 all the way through to type 3 as we can see above. I’d have these down as a low risk, low disruption disease and not worthy of treatment unless it causes too much of an aesthetic issue.

It has been awhile since I last talked about Red Thread. Last summer and early autumn was notable for its lack of humidity and so diseases like Red Thread didn’t pop up on the radar that often but this ‘summer’ so far is different.  With the loss of nutrient through leaching and cool, damp and humid conditions I have seen plenty on my travels and particularly on Fescue-dominated outfield turf. Growing it out is usually pretty straight-forward and again dropping PGR usage will help this process but as usual in a turf management scenario, you may be wanting to hold back grass growth after the rainfall of last week and so your aims may be conflicting…

Growth Outlook

The Meteoturf graphic for my location illustrates the effect of the wind change and more cloud cover on temperatures and hence potential growth. As you can see we can expect very good growth potential for Monday through to Wednesday but dipping for the latter part of the week as we see less sunshine and have a north wind for a time. It also picks out the high probability of the Tue / Wed rainfall event. So reasonable growth as we go through the week but I expect it to pick up through next week if we do indeed see the arrival of high pressure.

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Ok that’s me done, have a good week I hope Tue / Wed isn’t too much of an issue.

All the best.

Mark Hunt

 

 

 

June 10th

Hi All,

Just back from my week off in The Cevenne and what a lovely area of France it is. Steep canyons, beautiful rivers and a massive limestone plateau absolutely full of nature in terms of birds, butterflies and flowers. I managed to get a photo of this indigenous Blue Green Lizard as well, they aren’t rare but they are hard to photograph as all you normally see is their tail disappearing into the undergrowth at a rate of knots !

I’d like to say it was a relaxing break, but I don’t really do relaxing so I walked and even ran (scrambled) up this canyon and another mountain just for the sheer joy of it…(ahem)

The lack of people and traffic contrasted markedly with over here, an observation rammed home to me as I negotiated the traffic and roadwork-strewn M11 / A14 back home.

The night before I’d watched a Hobby hunting bats down the main street of Meyrueis treating me to an aerobatical display I won’t forget for a while. Incidentally, their winter and spring weather mirrored ours, not too cold in the winter, a late spring, but definitely very dry.

‘Very dry’ was the theme for most of us during May as we know but June is already making up for that with 70% of May’s rain total already falling in the first week and if the forecasters are right, this week will see some massive rainfall totals for some areas of the U.K.

Image courtesy of meteocentre.com

The wet start to June is down to a trough pattern forming in the jet stream allowing cool wet air to push down and pick up humidity from the warm air over central and southern Europe. This type of pattern is notorious for being slow-moving and so any weather systems can sit in the trough and rotate slowly dumping large amounts of rainfall. Looking at Weathercheck for Market Harborough, we are forecast 62mm this week, probably one of the highest rainfall totals I’ve seen in a single week for this location and it’ll be interesting to see if we do indeed get anywhere close to that…

General Weather Situation

So kicking off Monday morning, well if you are in the south-east or east of the country, the word is wet. As you can see from the graphic above, a large amount of rain is moving slowly north-west and pushing in from the continent. We can also see some pretty sharp showers across Munster and Connacht. Through the morning this rain over the south-east / east of the U.K is projected to move north-west and cover all of the south of England, The Midlands before pushing into the north of England, North Wales during the afternoon. Now we will see but currently it looks to me like it is tracking more northwards than north-westerly. Away from this rain we are looking at not a bad day at all for Scotland and Ireland with some mid – high teen temperatures and plenty of sunshine for the first half of the day anyway. During the afternoon, Ireland will see some of this rain push into Leinster and move westwards so the driest weather will be in the west of Ireland and you don’t say that very often…We have very little wind across the U.K and Ireland a.m. today so that’s why the weather system you can see above is so slow-moving and so by dusk we can expect the entire south of England, most of Wales and The South West to be under a blanket of slow-moving, heavy rain with significant rainfall totals. Temperature-wise, low teens if you’re under that rain and mid-high teens for the likes of Ireland and Scotland. Later into Monday evening the wind will ramp up in strength and drop the temperatures significantly.

Onto Tuesday and that low pressure sitting across mid-France will pull in more rain across the southern half of the U.K. At this stage it looks likely to affect the southern half of the U.K from The Humber estuary down with some significant rainfall totals again expected. Much windier for everyone on Tuesday with closely packed isobars and as you can see from the graphic above, the wind will be north-easterly and a cool one. So a pretty cool June day with temperatures struggling to get into double figures / low teens across the south of England and Wales. Further north into Scotland and west into Ireland we have a duller day than Monday with plenty of cloud cover about. Windier as well but not as windy as further south so here temperatures will be up into the mid-teens, maybe a tad higher if the sun pops out. That rain over the south of England is expected to stay through to dusk though it may clear the south coast through the evening. With the wind turning more northerly as we go through the day, expect a cool night with temperatures dipping down into single figures.

Onto Wednesday and really a re-run of Tuesday with that low pressure system again swinging in a mass of rain, some of it very heavy across the south of England. Some of that rain is projected to push westwards across The Irish Sea into Leinster during the morning and it may also move more north on Wednesday bringing more rain, some of it heavy, into the north of England. At this stage (and let’s face it, things may change when we talk about rainfall), that rain won’t ingress further west away from east Leinster but it will push north through the 2nd half of the day into northern England and eventually north-east Scotland late on Wednesday evening. A little milder across the west with Ireland and Wales nudging into mid-teen figures and Scotland again coming out top with a warm, largely dry and pleasantly sunny day until that rain arrives into the north-east later in the evening. So probably down at 11-13°C across the southern half of the U.K and pushing up to 18°C for Scotland. Notably the wind will swing from north-east to south-west later on Wednesday evening.

Thursday sees low pressure firmly centred across the U.K so that means a very unsettled day with plenty of rain around. The two main areas of rain are projected to be across the southern half of the U.K (again) and across Scotland as well during the morning but as we progress into the afternoon, that rainfall spreads across all areas of the U.K and again in places it’ll be heavy. With some areas receiving 4 days of successive heavy rain, expect flooding in places. Ireland again looks to miss all but some showers across East Leinster through the course of Thursday and so enjoys a dry if dull day. Temperature-wise, again a little milder across Wales and Ireland with temperatures in the low to mid-teens for most areas courtesy of that milder southerly / south-westerly wind. As we progress through Thursday evening that rain moves away and we have a dry picture for pretty much the first time this week.

Closing out the week on Friday and a more familiar rainfall pattern with low pressure still pulling the punches when it comes to wind and rain. A much drier day though it has to be said with showers limited to north-western and western coasts through the day and just the odd one making an appearance inland. Some of those showers will merge into longer spells of rain across Central Scotland and South Wales and they’ll also be some showers bubbling up along the south-west and west coast of Ireland. A dull day with low pressure increasing cloud cover for most of the U.K and Ireland but at least the first pretty dry one for the southern half of England.Through the course of Friday evening that low pressure is at it again as it pushes more rain into the south and west of England pushing north into The Midlands later in the night. Probably the mildest day of the week for the south of England with temperatures hitting a heady 16-18°C, but cooler across Ireland and Scotland.

The weekend looks well….unsettled for Saturday with plenty of rain around across Ireland and the south-west of the U.K with showers across The Midlands but as we go into Sunday, high pressure from the continent nudges that low pressure northwards so we see a much better picture as temperatures pick up and we have a drier day. Not to say there won’t be any rain around though as the south-west of Ireland and Scotland and the north-west of England will see plenty of showers around. Some of these will push into The Midlands and along the east coast later in the morning / afternoon. Scotland will see that rain across the west move into central regions through the course of the day and Ireland will also see rain push north and east from the south-west to most areas. Pleasant temperatures in the mid to high teens with 17°C typical despite the unsettled outlook.

Weather Outlook

So how are we looking next week ?

Well there’s a bit of uncertainty looking at next week’s weather with GFS outputs pointing towards another unsettled week but differing on the position of the low pressure system responsible. This is key because if the low pressure sinks towards the south of the U.K we get a week like this one, if it sits west of the U.K, then primarily it is more unsettled in the west and north.

My feeling is we will start the week relatively dry across central and southern parts of the U.K with rain spreading first into western Ireland on Monday and moving north and west into the north-west of England / Scotland later in the day. A sunshine and showers-type scenario for Tuesday with a strong south-westerly air stream before a new low pressure slips south to bring more in the way of rain for the southern half of the U.K / Ireland / Wales with this trend continuing into the end of the week.

So continuing unsettled but with a south-westerly air stream I think next week will be milder with temperatures up in the high teens, in other words, a good growing week.

Agronomic Notes

As I was elsewhere last week, this week’s blog takes a look back at May 2019 using data from the usual contributors to whom I am extremely grateful.

May 2019 – GDD Summary – Location – The Oxfordshire, Thame

May 2019 won’t actually sign off as a particularly warm one with a total GDD figure at this location of 174 for the month. That is some 26% down on the previous year and I wonder if it marks a trend for summer 2019 vs. 2018 ?

May 2019 was definitely cooler and particularly night temperatures stayed low so that held back growth through the month. We also know of course that the other growth-limiting factor was moisture, more on that later…

If we look at the year-to-date cumulative GDD total we can see that 2019 has actually slipped behind 2018 now and that’s a surprise when you consider how cold a start we had to the year last year. In 2018 from the middle of April we picked up warm temperatures and these changed to hot temperatures from the end of May, not so in 2019….

GDD & Rainfall Totals – UK & Irish Locations

Looking at the data above we can see that the main story of May 2019 for both the U.K and Ireland is the lack of rain with 20-30mm for the month pretty common for the locations that submitted data. As usual the GDD data for the U.K tracked around 25-30% higher than the Irish locations and we saw some significant variability in both data sets.

Looking at the south-west location of Okehampton, Devon, it came in at 119 total GDD for the month which is lower than all of the other locations and highlights a trend for some really chilly nights during May for the south west of England and Wales. This undoubtedly held back growth and if temperatures were good enough for growth, then it was too dry.

May 2019 – Too cold or too dry for good consistent growth……

So looking just at GDD you’d say May 2019 wasn’t a great growing month and you’d be right, throw in rainfall or more precisely, a lack of it and the job got harder. I haven’t got E.T readings for the location above but I know at Thame we had a total monthly E.T loss of 96.3mm vs. a total monthly rainfall of 21mm. That is a deficit of 75.3mm and an average daily E.T loss of 3.1mm of moisture.

As the graph above shows, on the few days when we had moisture, it was cool so growth was slow and when we had high temperatures we also had high E.T and very little rainfall.

So areas that were already struggling coming out of the dry spring such as outfield, fairways, (ridge and furrow particularly) had a hard time in May because without a very efficient irrigation system and ample supply of irrigation it was hard enough on its own to keep up with this type of daily E.T loss. Consider then newly germinated or seedling stage grass with an inefficient root system and just keeping the plant alive was tricky.

If in doubt use a bowser…(err not)

I had one contributor who was asked why weren’t they using a 400 gallon bowser to help the grass through this process ?

Apart (and it is a big ‘apart’ ) from the cost of labour, the inconvenience, the health and safety angle and the purchasing the water, let us just consider the practicalities of this suggestion using the E.T and rainfall data above for the 2nd half of May.

So the above example shows a net E.T moisture loss of 70.7mm vs. a contribution from rainfall of 3.6mm, pretty typical for a lot of locations in the U.K and Ireland in May (though the E.T loss is lower across the water for sure).

So that puts us at a moisture deficit of 67.1mm. Now of course we don’t need to irrigate at 100% E.T to keep a grass plant alive, typically 50% is a number I use and come across readily, so that means in this example we need to replace 31.75mm (50% of monthly E.T – rainfall).

So what does 31.75mm represent in litres per hectare, well my calculation is about 317,500 litres ?

A 400 gallon bowser holds 1812 litres, so to put out enough water per ha over that period you’d need 175 bowsers of water. If we assume 10 ha of fairway, that would be 1,750 bowsers in total or 92 bowsers per day !!!

I don’t suppose they’d be much chance of playing golf in-between of course and I’m not so sure there would be a budget tucked away for that amount of mains water either 🙂

Ignorance is bliss as they say….

I’m sure there is likely to be an equally ‘bright’ suggestion regarding drainage waiting in the wings…

Ok that’s me for this week, I hope you stay dry and that a ‘months worth of rain in a day’ for 4 days in a row isn’t too problematic…Maybe you could use an empty bowser….I better stop now…

All the best for the coming week,

Mark Hunt