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

 

 

 

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