Monthly Archives: October 2019

October 28th – Mini Blog

Hi All,

It’s difficult to express sometimes in numbers and graphs the type of weather we have experienced of late and more so its effect on our industry and the people who work in it.

On Friday we were 16°C, balmy, windy and wet and 12 hours later the temperature had dropped to 4.5°C and we had a deluge, just under 30 mm here, which I know is half of what you guys in The North West have experienced.

Our local River Welland that at times in the summer could barely muster a flow turned into a  torrent breaking its banks further downstream.

Just as surreal this morning to wake up to a hard frost with temperatures dipping to -2°C overnight as high pressure takes over, albeit only briefly I am afraid.

So this is the phenomenon that we have to deal with as an industry,

if you look at the lessons of the last two years you’d say invest in irrigation and drainage, but there are limits to what most clubs can do with the resources available. I’d love to say this is a blip and things look better in the short and medium term, but they don’t. The jet stream is sitting low and that means any Atlantic low spinning our way is likely to impact and most likely further south than the usual west and north scenario.

General Weather Situation

As usual with the mini-blog I’ll do a summary of the week ahead which obviously starts with some respite from the extremely wet weather we have experienced. We start the week with low pressure to the south-west of the U.K and a weak high pressure sitting over us. During Monday and Tuesday that high pressure will keep the U.K & Ireland largely dry save for some rain that will push into the far south-west of England this afternoon and overnight into Tuesday. So staying dry and settled with significant amounts of cloud pushing in on a strong to moderate (and chilly) easterly wind. Temperatures will just break double figures and the cloud cover should keep us frost-free after Monday morning. As we approach mid-week that low pressure begins to make its presence felt as a band of rain will push into the south-west of Ireland and move slowly north and east. By dusk it will be into the south-west of England and overnight into Thursday will push into South Wales and by dawn the west coast of England. Thursday then sees a wet start for the west of the U.K though Ireland should just see showers for the west. As we progress through Thursday this band of rain moves slowly eastwards, clearing the west as it does so and orientated in a vertical line from the south coast right up to Scotland. Later on Thursday the next heavy rain front from that low pushes into Ireland and overnight into Friday will see heavy rain across the U.K and Ireland. Friday morning looks to be a pretty wet one I am afraid with heavy rain for most areas though Ireland may pick up a respite between two rain fronts during Friday. By Friday afternoon / evening that heavy rain will have cleared the east of the U.K but another rain front will cross Ireland overnight and push further showers across the U.K early doors Saturday. The weekend looks showery for the north of England and Scotland but largely dry for Saturday further south across the U.K, with showers for the west of Ireland consolidating into heavier rain for Saturday afternoon / evening. Sunday looks wet overnight with further heavy rain across Ireland and the southern half of the U.K before that rain pushes north and eastwards through Sunday morning / afternoon bringing heavy rain to Scotland later on.

Weather Outlook

Like I said earlier, I love to report that the outlook looks better but currently it doesn’t I am afraid. We have a deep trough pattern forming at the end of the week / weekend and the low pressure will circulate round in that trough instead of moving off eastwards. This means an extremely wet run of weather I am afraid again for the weekend and early part of next week.

You can see how the low is fixed in place in the graphic below ;

So the first part of next week looks cool, wet and windy and as we approach Wednesday, a new low pushes in from the west to bring further rain across the U.K and Ireland, mid-week. This new low is projected to track south of the U.K and so that may mean a drier, showery outlook for the end of the week follows but no real let up in sight.

Agronomic Notes

Disease Pressure

The only crumb of consolation from the recent run of extremely wet weather we have experienced is the decreased risk of Microdochium nivale looking ahead. Last week we saw significant disease pressure as high overnight temperatures, dew and light winds encouraged fungal growth but with cooler winds, frequent rain and less risk of dew forecast, disease pressure is dropping off for the next 7 days at least, perhaps longer.

You can see the peaks in last week’s output from Central England below hitting 90% on the 23rd / 24th October  ;

As we move into November at the end of this week, we typically know temperatures take a dip and so disease pressure tends to become confined to shorter peaks of milder air, but last year taught us that both November and particularly December can see high disease pressure.

You can see the rapidly-changing temperature dynamic that we experienced this weekend in the graph below as milder air moved away and cooler air pushed in  ;

Those cooler temperatures impact on the drying down of the turfgrass canopy with lower daily E.T figures the norm now.

Spray Days

This week will provide a spray window for fungicides / non-fungicidal sprays on Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday with it closing down from the west on Wednesday and after that i can’t see another window for the next 7-10 days.

Hypoxia (lack of oxygen)

Hypoxia is a general term for oxygen deficiency and applies to plants and people alike.

Without a doubt during these periods of intense rainfall and water-logging, we will have a situation when the oxygen status of the rootzone is depleted and the plant will struggle to respire properly. The problem is when the ground is saturated there’s nothing you can do and arguably even getting to fine turf surfaces is a challenge at times like these. Less is definitely more when it comes to working on surfaces during spells of weather like this.

Hopefully all the aeration, topdressing and vertidraining prior to this type of weather will be paying dividends but there are limits for the rootzone and the grass plant alike. Hypoxia at its extreme will manifest as yellow tipping on the leaf as the plant cannot uptake nitrogen due to a low soil oxygen status, however partial hypoxia doesn’t show up in terms of lack of colour and in this situation we have to be very careful what we apply onto the plant to avoid tipping it over the edge.

If we fertilise during hypoxic conditions we encourage the plant to grow and in order to do so it needs to take up more oxygen to support that growth. So you tip the plant over the edge and instead of providing a benefit you put it at a disadvantage (see image above) 

Best just to grin and bear it and look forward to the back of this recent run of pretty rubbish weather.

All the best.

Mark Hunt

October 21st

Hi All,

At this time of year I get a lot of questions about what winter has in store and whether we are likely to experience a hard winter ?

Now if you follow all the climate data it would seem less and less likely that we will a hard winter but because of our position on the jet stream and its ability to throw in some peaks and troughs over the winter months I don’t think you can rule it out.

If I look to signs from nature I saw / heard my first Redwings and Fieldfares nearly a month ago which is very early for them to be making the trip west from their summer nesting grounds in Scandinavia and Russia. I also think the Martins and Swallows shipped out earlier than usual this year for warmer southern climes. So maybe nature is forecasting a harder winter ?

I wouldn’t even bother looking at a forecast beyond 7 days for a longer-term meteorological perspective because its accuracy would be about as likely as a bunch of politicians making a collective, progressive, logical decision.

I place a lot of store in nature so we will see.

On the home weather front, at last some respite from the succession of Atlantic low pressure systems that have been feeding in for the last 3 1/2 weeks now pretty much unhindered. This has led to saturated surfaces, a good deal of worm activity but as explained last week, lower than normal disease pressure for October. The risk in terms of the latter doesn’t come from Atlantic low pressures but from continental high pressure particularly those that push their winds up from The Med / Africa.

If you are a weather watcher this is the weather pattern we don’t want to see any time from October to February. As you may be able to read from the image, this occurred on the 26th December, 2018. The high pressure sat just off Ireland and pulled up warm air accompanied by high humidity and light winds and gave us rampant disease pressure. A great day for walking off Christmas dinner but not much else 🙁

So as we go into more avariable weather pattern with low pressures pushing through and then a period of high pressure, we have to be especially on our guard from a Microdochium perspective.

General Weather Situation

So looking back at last week’s blog, I predicted a calm, dry start to the week with a low pressure moving through from Tuesday for the west and that’s pretty much how it will play out this week.

So Monday starts off dry for most of the U.K & Ireland save for a slow-moving rain front that’s affecting The South Coast and South East bringing consistent rain this morning I’m afraid. Elsewhere we have a few scattered showers pushing in off The North Sea on a north-easterly wind so expect some sharp showers across East Anglia and Lincolnshire. As is usually the case with a NE wind, the west / Ireland ends up being drier and that’s the way we look at the moment with a cold bright start for Ireland and Scotland (more in the way of cloud over the latter). Through the course of the morning we will see that rain over the south-east of the U.K remain stubbornly in place and only slowly move off into The Channel this afternoon. Elsewhere we look to remain dry if a little dull with the odd shower pushing in off The North Sea. As normal with a NE wind, it’ll feel cool with 8-10°C for Ireland in that bright sunshine, and 11-13°C for the U.K with more in the way of cloud cover.

Onto Tuesday and overnight we see rain push into the north-west of Scotland. This is associated with a new low pressure system but unlike my projection last week it isn’t now due to push in till overnight Tuesday so we have another reasonably dry day for the U.K and Ireland as a bonus 🙂 It’ll feel a little milder as well because the wind will swing round from north-east to south-west and it’ll pick up in strength for the north and west as that low makes its presence felt. So 11-13°C  again I’d say for Tuesday, plenty of cloud cover so a little on the dull side with the occasional sunny interval. With skies clearing later it looks like being a cold night with some mist / fog patches and light winds.

Overnight into Wednesday we see that rain nudge into the west of Ireland and push eastwards into The Midlands by lunchtime. It then looks to stall which is bad news for the west of Ireland as that means the associated rainfall totals will be high I’m afraid. Further east we look to stay dry  and largely dull though the north and north-east of England may see more in the way of the sun during the day. During the late afternoon that rain front makes a 2nd push and moves eastwards into the east of Ireland and north-west of Scotland. At the same time an associated front looks to push into the south of England, South Wales and the Midlands during Wednesday evening so a wet end to the day there. Overnight some of this rain will be heavy for these areas but either side of that rain will remain dry. Similar temperatures to Tuesday with 11-13°C. Winds will be light to moderate and southerly.

Onto Thursday and that rain will be straddled in vertical bands across the U.K first thing in the morning and these bands will move slowly eastwards through the course of the morning. Ireland, Scotland and The Border counties though should start off reasonably dry as that rain stays east and south of these areas. As we progress towards lunchtime the rain begins to dissipate but they’ll still be plenty of showers for across the U.K and we will also see a new front push into the west of Ireland and north-west of Scotland. This rain moves eastwards across Ireland during Thursday afternoon and we will also see that rain over the bottom half of the U.K consolidate to central areas leaving showers for the west / Wales. As we approach dusk that rain clears Ireland to leave coastal showers behind with more showers across the east of the U.K through Thursday evening. The rain over the north-west of Scotland doesn’t look to move into central and eastern areas through Thursday so a reasonably dry picture here, some showers around until later into the evening when the rain pushes eastwards. Winds will be moderate to strong westerlies for the north and west with lighter winds further south.

Closing out the week on Friday we will see a drier picture initially but we have a sneaky Bay of Biscay low zipping up into the south-west of Ireland in time for the Sneem morning rush hour (:)) bringing rain some of it heavy. This rain will quickly push north and east across Ireland on Friday morning. Further east and north we have a dry start to Friday with moderate south-westerly winds but by lunchtime that rain has crossed The Irish Sea and will be pushing into The South West, Wales and west / north-west of England / Scotland. The rain consolidates over Ireland and looks to be extremely heavy with flooding possible through Friday afternoon into Friday evening. Not pleasant for you guys. The path of this rain looks to affect Ireland, mid-Wales northwards and the north-west of England / south-west of Scotland later on Friday night with some of that rain turning to wintry showers over elevation. South of this rain front probably from The Peak District south should have a mainly dry and dull day with a moderate to strong south-westerly wind. Similar temperatures to the rest of the week on Friday, 11-13°C .

Not surprising then that Saturday look some heavy rain overnight for the north-west of England and Scotland with Saturday morning looking to start with a band of showers across Ireland and England and heavier rain for Scotland combined with a freshening wind that swings northerly through the day. Saturday afternoon could see those showers move through to give a brighter picture over England and Wales but still the threat of showers across the south and west of Ireland with heavier rain over Scotland. Some of the rain over Scotland will again fall as wintry showers over elevation. Sunday looks a much better day as we pick up lighter winds and that rain pushes away so not a bad 2nd part of the weekend for the U.K & Ireland with maybe some showers Sunday p.m. across The South West. Remaining in that 11-13°C temperature range though.

Weather Outlook

That drier end to the weekend is courtesy of the high pressure system that I predicted last week should settle our weather down from next weekend onwards but the question is will it last ?

Well at this stage the high pressure doesn’t look like it’ll keep the rain away from Ireland and the west, but it should give the south east and east of the U.K some respite. So we will have a west-east split next week I think, well at least for the 1st part of the week with warmer air for the south and south east of England pushed up against a more unsettled picture for Ireland, the north-west of England and Scotland with rain pushing through here on Monday, Tuesday and to a lesser degree on Wednesday. By Thursday those Atlantic fronts are lining up again and the high is projected to get pushed out of the way allowing the unsettled weather to encroach further east across the U.K. So by the end of next week I think we will be back into the western air stream with strong westerly winds and frequent rain. Ho hum it will be a wet October for many of us.

Agronomic Notes

Microdochium nivale disease pressure

As you can see from the graphs below we are predicting a high spike in activity this week for some areas of the U.K and Ireland with mild air, light winds and high leaf wetness probability for some.

For the north and west this probably won’t be a problem because you’ll already have higher wind speed and rainfall as a new low pushes in but for The Midlands south I think we will see some heavier pressure this week if we get lighter winds at night and mild temperatures.

This is pretty much on par with last year.

You can see the milder nights on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that could present an issue in the Meteoturf graphic for the Bracknell area below ;

Contrast this with Meteoturf output taken from Dunbarton, Glasgow and you can see how the scenario’s are quite different with the milder nights early in the week for the north (and Ireland) and then a pronounced drop off in temperature at the end of the week as that cold low pressure moves through. Unlike the southerly locations though, those milder nights will be accompanied by higher wind speeds and rainfall and that should lower the Microdochium pressure.

One size hat certainly doesn’t fit all when it comes to disease pressure….

Fungicide Longevity

Now I’ve used some weather data from Northampton (cheers Rob) to plot likely fungicide longevity this month assuming an application was made at the beginning of the month (which is normal) . I work on a cumulative G.P of 10 for fungicide longevity but of course that number comes with a few caveats. Firstly, a fungicide won’t just suddenly stop working nor will it work from day 1 of the application unless it is a contact curative fungicide and we don’t have those anymore. That said you could apply that definition to a protectant chemistry like Fludioxonil (Medallion and a component of Instrata Elite) because it sits on the plant leaf rather than enters into it and so is effective as soon as it is applied as a protectant. (Not as a curative note)

So that figure allows for a ‘cross over’ between one product dipping out and another one being taken up by the grass plant.

The graph above is obviously using predicted max and min temperature data from 21st October – 31st October. The initial application is projected to have lasted around 19 days from 1st October, with the 2nd application likely to last a good deal longer because of the cooler 2nd part of the month that is forecast.

This follows a very similar pattern to October 2018 with the 1st application lasting 14 days and then the 2nd one extending into well November.

Spray Windows…

Now obviously with the variable weather dynamic across the U.K your local forecast is key.

The Weathercheck output above indicates that finding a spray window is a tricky proposition this week especially in the north and west with the growing chance of rain as we go through the week and the cooler outlook meaning slower uptake of products.

Further south it isn’t a whole bunch better with Monday and Tuesday good spray days and then a decreasing probability thereafter. If the disease probability projections are right you’ll need to be covered this week going into next for sure…

OK,  that’s all for today, the in-tray beckons…

All the best.

Mark Hunt


October 14th

Hi All,

It’s the 3rd weekend in a row now that I’ve been met by this flooded torrent in place of what is normally a gentle, babbling brook.  Out walking in the countryside, there’s a lot of wet lying fields for the middle of October. The figures don’t really do it justice but we are certainly getting some serious rain, not in gentle dollops but 15-20 mm in a few hours. The strange thing is a couple of hours later and all the roads were dry because we still have temperature and therefore E.T to dry things out.

Nothing compared to Japan though where Typhoon Hagibis brought 939.5 mm (37 inches) over a 24-hour period. It is difficult to imagine the effect of that volume of rainfall in a U.K or Irish scenario.

Whilst out mountain biking yesterday I came across a Range Rover whose driver thought that it would be a good idea to attempt a local river crossing despite the fact that it was in flood. There he was up to his dashboard in flooded water, inside and outside of the car…not the greatest of ideas I thought as I cycled over a footbridge next to him. (I didn’t think it pertinent or fair to take a picture)

With out further ado I’ll take a look at what this week and next has in store as we continue our march through October.

General Weather Situation

So Monday starts off dull and calm in this next of the woods but we have two weather systems bringing rain to the U.K and Ireland. One is across most of Ireland save the east coast of Leinster and the other pushing up from The Bay of Biscay and already covering an area from Exeter to The Wash. Both rain fronts are associated with the same low pressure system and through the course of the day they will slowly edge northwards so for The Midlands, South Wales and north of England, you may be dry now but it is heading your way I am afraid. For most of Ireland it looks like a total washout today with consistently bad weather with heavy rain throughout the day. Scotland will see that rain over Ireland push into the west of the country and later this evening into central areas but the east and north-east of Scotland should stay dry. Little point in forecasting wind direction because with the low pressure over Ireland we will see great variability in direction, but overall winds will be light to moderate, freshening as we go through the day. Temperature-wise, pretty much par for the course now with 11-13°C across the U.K and Ireland.

Onto Tuesday and overnight that low pressure spins off into The North Sea to give us a pretty dry picture to start the day thankfully. Just a risk of some showers across The South West and east of Ireland. Enjoy it while you can though because by late afternoon another thick band of heavy rain is set to swing in from The Atlantic and slowly push eastwards across Ireland. This does mean that for the bulk of the U.K, Tuesday will end up being largely dry as this rain won’t impact until later in the day. Some showers may break out later in the afternoon across central areas of England whilst the rain will slowly move across Ireland, clearing the west later into the evening. So a largely dry day for the U.K and really Ireland as the rain isn’t set to arrive till late in the afternoon / dusk. Slightly better temperatures for the U.K pushing up to 15°C but under that cloud and rain expect 11-13°C again.

So by mid-week the boot is on the other foot as that rain is projected to clear most of Ireland by dawn on Wednesday but overnight it has moved across The Irish Sea into the west of the U.K, Wales and The South West and stretches in a line up to the tip of Scotland. Through the course of the morning this rain front will edge eastwards into The Midlands, northern England and central areas clearing the west as it does so. Ireland will start dry but by late-morning you’ll see more in the way of showers pushing into western coasts. That rain keeps moving eastwards so by lunchtime it should have cleared Wales and the western coasts and moved into central and eastern areas finally clearing the eastern coastline of the U.K by dusk. So a dry (ish) day for Ireland, a wet start for the west but clearing through the day and a wet one for central and eastern areas. Similar temperatures to earlier in the week with a moderate to strong south / south-westerly wind in situ.

Onto Thursday and that rain is but a distant memory heading over to the continent, unfortunately absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder in this case because yet another Atlantic low pressure system is on its way as the Meteoblue clip above shows. So as you can see Thursday will already see a freshening wind across Ireland and showers for the west quickly pushing across country during the first part of the morning. Those freshening winds and showers will also affect Wales, The South Coast and the western coastline of the U.K.  This low though is tracking slowly north-east so whilst Ireland is the firing line we may see the bulk of showers across the U.K confined to the south and west with fewer showers pushing inland. This could easily change as I type this on a Monday morning but currently the further east you are across the U.K, the drier you’ll likely to stay. So a wet day for Ireland, Wales, The South West and western / southern coasts with plenty of showers rattling in on that strong to moderate south-westerly wind. Again similar temperatures to the rest of the week 11-13°C.

Overnight into Friday and that low is still off the north-west coast of Ireland so expect another day of sunshine and showers for Ireland and the western coastline of the U.K. We will also keep the strong south-westerly wind and are likely to see showers push further inland across England and Scotland through the course of Friday morning. Again though the bulk of those showers will be across Ireland, Wales, The South West and western coasts stretching all the way up to Scotland where we may see more push inland because of the proximity of the low pressure. So a sunshine and showers day with windy and unsettled conditions but as mentioned earlier if you get a gap between the showers, things will soon dry down. Temperatures remain consistently low double figures – mid-teens.

With such an unsettled week, does the weekend look to follow the same pattern or will we get a breather ?

Saturday will see that very slow-moving low centred over the north of Ireland so that means a continuation of a strong south-westerly air stream / sunshine and showers theme for the start of the day. During the morning we are set to see the showers merge across Ireland, Wales, The South West and western coasts and this rain will push inland as showers through the 2nd part of Saturday. For Scotland we look to start off showery but then later in the morning those showers will consolidate  to longer spells of rain for western and central areas.

Temperatures ?

Yep you guessed it….11-13°C 🙂

Sunday sees that low finally move through and so we will see a drop in the winds and a change in wind direction to northerly / north-easterly, so that means a cooler day on Sunday. Still some showers around mind across the south and west of England and Wales and these could push inland later on Sunday, so not a dry day by any means. Ireland looks to be largely dry, notably cooler but still with the threat of showers across the north and south-west. Temperatures a degree or two down on the norm so just nudging into double figures but as we go through the day, the winds look to strengthen from the north-west and that’ll keep temperatures down.

Weather Outlook

I think sometime at the end of September i mentioned that it seemed like the floodgates had opened when the jet stream finally dipped south after a dry September and allowed low after Atlantic low to push in and bring us wet, mild and unsettled conditions.

So far that pattern has remained pretty much set for the last 3 weeks or so.

Well next week looks at present to see a continuation of that pattern as a very deep Atlantic low pressure system with very strong winds associated with it is due to push in from Tuesday after a calmer, drier day on Monday. So stronger winds and showers from Tuesday initially across the west but pushing across the U.K through the day. By Wednesday we see heavier rain push across the southern half of the U.K from the south before more heavy rain for Ireland and the remainder of the U.K on Thursday accompanied by strong winds. This pattern continues on Friday but there is a change in the air if the projections are true with high pressure establishing over the continent and forcing that rain initially across Ireland but then clearing from the south. This drier weather will also pull up warmer winds from the south so it could mean another balmy end to October and not for the first time. That said it is a long way away yet so we will see.

Agronomic Notes

Wet and windy weather provides leaf dry down opportunities…

Now I know the latest run of weather has significant drawbacks from a practical perspective with lots of areas waterlogged and courses closed on heavy ground sites but it is also ‘tending’ to provide lower than normal disease pressure for this time of the autumn.

Normally I’d be approaching this time with concern because for the last 3-4 years the middle of October has seen significant disease pressure. This was normally due to a period of weather with light winds, high humidity / overnight temperatures and a prolonged duration of plant leaf wetness. Currently we have the opposite i.e high winds, heavy rainfall but still with mild temperatures.

One of things that has struck me recently is how quickly areas dry down during such weather because we still have high enough air temperature to generate sufficient E.T to dry down the grass plant leaf.

I downloaded some data that highlighted this point quite neatly…(well I think so anyway 🙂 )

So here is a diary of a day in 1-hour segments from 11/10/19 00:00 – 12/10/19 00:00.

The top graph shows hourly E.T, the middle rainfall and the bottom leaf wetness….

You can see how quickly the leaf dries down when the rain stops provided there is sufficient E.T to achieve this….Within 15 minutes of the rain stopping the leaf wetness has decreased by 30% and within an hour it is practically dry during a morning rainfall event. The same scenario in the afternoon gives even quicker dry down with the leaf not fully wetting up because the E.T was at its highest. In this scenario within 30 minutes of the rainfall stopping the leaf was dry.

So from a Microdochium nivale perspective I think it isn’t easy for the fungus to develop when the leaf is wetting and drying down consistently because of the weather conditions generating E.T. Of course as we go further into the winter we will see less and less E.T as the ambient temperature drops. You’ll notice this on the roads as they wetter for longer finally reaching a point when they don’t dry out over a 24-hour period. For now though as we are right in the sweet spot of Microdochium nivale activity I’d take these dry-down periods any day of the week and the wet and windy weather that accompanies it over calm, humid muggy weather.

Microdochium nivale pressure

This doesn’t mean we are devoid of a threat from this perspective because as one weather front moves through, there is a period between when the winds drop, the humidity and air temperature are high and the grass plant leaf stays wet. This is the danger period and of course it is a more significant danger in a sheltered, shaded environment with poor air flow, lower E.T and slower dry down of the leaf.

So currently we are seeing short-term spikes in disease activity as disease pressure rises between weather fronts before dropping down again as the next bout of wet and windy weather pushes through.

Here’s how the intensity chart looks for the 3 locations I used a few weeks back using an ‘open’ and ‘sheltered’ green scenario commencing on the 1st Sept and up to the current day.

The other important feature to consider is the consistent growth during October which hopefully is already well underway in growing any early autumn disease scars out.

You can see this clearly in the Growth Potential chart below…

Even last week we were hitting G.P figures of 0.8 here in The Midlands which means very good growth, maybe a pain to cut in these prolonged periods of wetness but good for growing out scars and for germinating / establishing seed after the dry September many of us have endured.

Looking ahead this week we can see the cooler day temperatures are knocking back the G.P to 0.4-0.5 and once the winds change round to northerly over the weekend it drops further still.

My concern is the longer-term forecast for warm high pressure to establish towards the end of this month. This could (and it is only a ‘could at the moment) result in some pretty aggressive disease activity especially if it is difficult to get a spray window beforehand.

Other diseases…

You could be forgiven in thinking Microdochium nivale is the only disease out there such is my focus most autumn’s however I’m also seeing lots of Fairy Ring, Etiolated growth at present as the combination of warm soil and rainfall stimulate fungal activity. Plenty of Red Thread as well on rye / fescue swards and still there’s some lingering Anthracnose from the summer now manifesting itself as basal rot.

OK that’s me for another week…

All the best..

Mark Hunt



October 7th

Hi All,

Bit of a short blog today because I am up against it time-wise but wanted to give a weather and disease pressure update in the very least.

Nice to see Hurricane Lorenzo played out to be nothing more than another Atlantic low pressure by the time it hit these shores. Yes, it was windy and yes it was wet but the associated  hype from the Daily Express and The Sun turned out to be just media b***s**t. Ho hum.

I’ve experienced pressure from another direction of late as a young Robin has taken to give me the evil eye every morning as I’m sipping my smoothie. I call it the ‘bucket of guilt’ treatment, you know “That’s right, have your nice brekkie whilst I sit outside in the rain”…He will only desist when I chuck out a handful of RSPB Suet Sprinkles 🙁

After another Atlantic low this past weekend, do we have any sign of this unsettled weather pattern relenting over the next 7-14 days ?

General Weather Summary – w/c 7th October

So looking at this week we have a very deep low pressure coming in from the Atlantic with packed isobars meaning strong winds and plenty of rain associated with it. From the off on Monday we will see a rain front push through a.m. with another set to join it later in the day, initially pushing across Ireland during the late afternoon and then affecting the west and eventually central U.K later on in the evening.

This sets the pattern for the week with a moderate to strong westerly airflow, plenty of showers and heavier spells of rain, especially for the north and west throughout the week. The main rain fronts are set to pass through on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday across the U.K and Ireland with more in the way of showers for the west thereafter.

It’ll be cool enough in that wind because the low pressure is northerly orientated and that’s pulling down cold air from the Arctic into our region. So expect high single figures at night and low teens during the day for all areas I’d say with the coldest temperatures up north as you’ll be closer to the centre of the low.

As we approach the weekend the winds begin to drop and become more south-westerly in nature so that means a little milder with temperatures nudging up into the mid-teens for Saturday / Sunday. It’s unlikely to be dry though for everyone as a rain front will push across the U.K on Saturday / Sunday leaving behind a sunshine and showers scenario.

Weather Outlook – w/c 14th October

Well the rodeo ride on the jet stream looks set to continue for next week with no sign of the high pressure I was hoping for….So as we start next week we edge milder as the winds swing more southerly but whilst that may nudge up the temperature it won’t bring glad tidings because a Bay of Biscay Low is set to push into the south of the U.K next Tuesday and bring strong winds and heavy rain to the southern half of the U.K. Thereafter we look to return to a south-westerly / westerly air flow with more rain pushing over Ireland and the U.K for the 2nd part of next week. So I’d say similar temperatures to this week maybe a bit higher initially in that southerly air stream but no end in sight to the strong Atlantic low pressure-dominated weather picture. With the low pressure systems concentrated over the south and central regions of the U.K and Ireland, it may just be a tad drier across Scotland.

Agronomic Notes

I thought I’d kick off with showing the Meteoturf module for this week from my location in Market Harborough as it summarises our scenario well.

First off, you can see we will be maintaining decent growth with a GDD total of 50 / G.P total of 4.6 for the week. That means steady growth which will help autumn seeding and outfield recovery for those who experienced a dry summer (long forgotten already eh?).

The windy weather will also mean not bad E.T which is good for drying things down between the rain showers.

There is a positive side to the mild and wet weather pattern…..

For those of you who picked up some early disease scarring in September this will hopefully aid recovery and heal up those thinner areas. It will of course also mean that fungicide longevity will be most likely limited to a 14-17 day longevity for the first part of October as per the last 3 years as steady growth removes the A.I from the sward.

I remember looking at this picture last year of disease scarring that had practically healed over by the 2nd week of November from disease activity 3 weeks before. It helps significantly if your surface organic matter levels are <6.0% in my experience both in terms of less visible scarring and faster re-growth.

Lack of spray windows….

The problem is if you look at the graphic for spray windows there’s practically nothing for this week unless you want to come in very early on Saturday morning before the next rain front pushes in 🙁

If next week’s outlook proves to be correct then I can see a similar scenario then. That means we may have a situation where the fungicide is close to running out and no opportunity to re-apply. Is this going to be a problem as it has been in other years ?

Microdochium nivale activity….

So are we looking at heavy disease pressure for mid-October this year ?

Well obviously it’s tricky to generalise for every location but if the weather outlook proves to be accurate and we stay in the wet and windy weather pattern then currently I can’t see a significant disease spike for the next 7-10 days.

Of course this is a caveat-laden paragraph because if we switch to a milder southerly air stream and then the wind drops it could be a very different scenario. So there’s possibly a positive flip side to this run of weather in that the Microdochium pressure tends not to be very aggressive during windy and wet weather in my experience. Fingers crossed.

Worm casting….

Unfortunately this run of wet and mild weather will encourage plenty of worm activity and with no labelled control option available anymore since the demise of Carbendazim, it could make outfield surfaces pretty tricky to maintain. Raising the cutting height and applying a late PGR with an acidifying iron to limit cutting frequency and therefore smearing are the only two real strategies I’ve heard of that make a difference, unless you know better ?

Ok that’s all for me this week, a bit short and sweet but hopefully helpful.

All the best for the coming week.

Mark Hunt