8th July


Hi All,

Already the 1st week of July is behind us and except for the odd heat plume / transitional peak pattern in the jet stream we have been spared a repeat of last summer’s weather. Opinions I’m sure are divided on which kind of summer you prefer but from a grass perspective, I’d take this one any day of the week.

I think back in May I said I had a hunch that no one weather pattern would dominate this summer and so far, so good. Out walking yesterday the temperature at 21°C was ‘just right’, kind of like if you could set the thermometer for the temperature you’d want, that would be it thanks, just nice 🙂

Lots of Butterflies on the wing yesterday, I think insects in general must be having a better year and with some farmers leaving margins on the edge of fields to go wild, it can only get better. At one point yesterday on my walk I could hear nothing but the sound of Skylarks, simply lovely.

So let’s see what we have in store this week, a bit of rain maybe for some 🙂

General Weather Situation

OK, so we start Monday with some rain already over Connacht, Leinster and north Munster with the far south missing out at present. Over the Irish Sea we currently have a dry, if a little cool and dull start to the week.  The far south-east and south of England though will probably be seeing more in the way of sunshine today but overall it is a dull and cloudy day for the U.K with rain pushing into the north-west of England / North Wales / west of Scotland later this morning / through the afternoon. Pleasantly warm with temperatures in the low twenties for the south of England and just a degree or two down on that for The Midlands, Wales, north of England and Ireland. That rain over Ireland should clear for the 2nd half of the day as it moves into Scotland and The North West. Here it will be a little cooler with that thicker cloud base and rain moving in later in the day. A strong to moderate south-westerly / southerly wind will keep temperatures pleasant.

Onto Tuesday and that rain from Monday will start Tuesday centred over Scotland and The Borders with some of it pushing down into northern England from the off. Ireland looks to start dry and dull with that thick cloud base extending across The Irish Sea into Wales and England. So a dull start for us all on Tuesday. Maybe some of those showers will extend down into the north Midlands but that looks as far as they’ll reach. As we go through the morning that rain retreats from the north of England but I’d still expect plenty of showers across The Borders, Northern Ireland and Scotland through the course of Tuesday. Further south and west we look to have a dry, dull day with pleasant temperatures and a chance of sunshine across The South West. Temperature-wise, similar to Monday with 18-22°C  likely  with a moderating westerly wind veering north-westerly later in the day.

Wednesday looks potentially wet from the off with rain into Northern Ireland and western Scotland at dawn. This is projected to push down into northern England through the morning into central and eastern parts as we progress through the afternoon, breaking up into showers as it does so. From midday we can also expect some rain pushing into the west coast of Ireland but at this stage it appears to make slow progress inland during the afternoon. By tea time the rain across the U.K will be affecting most areas but the west side of the country and Wales may be spared. Scotland looks to have a wet day for sure with the rain moving south and north as we go through the afternoon. Needless to say it may not reach the far south of England / Home Counties so here expect a warm and dry day with temperatures pushing up into the low to mid-twenties. Elsewhere under that cloud cover and rain, temperatures will range from high teens (Ireland / Scotland) to low twenties for south of England. Winds will be light to moderate westerly veering south-westerly through the day.

Onto Thursday, my how the time flies, and overnight that rain is projected to affect the eastern coastline of the U.K and then push down into The South East. Along with this southerly rain we will also see rain showers continue to affect the west coast of Ireland and the north-west / west coast of Scotland. Through the course of Thursday morning we will see that Irish rain move eastwards across the country together with that Scottish rain moving southerly. Further south we will see more in the way of sunshine but this rise in heat will trigger plenty of showers across northern England, The Midlands and southern England. Again the projected emphasis for these showers is central and easterly rather than western coasts and Wales.  By late afternoon that rain will have cleared the west coast of Ireland but still be heavy across the north and east. Likewise we will see more showers spread liberally from Scotland down the central and eastern side of the U.K and possibly some of these will be thundery in nature. Winds will be light to moderate and from the north-west.

Closing out the week on Friday and we start off with a dry, dull picture across the U.K and Ireland. Largely dry but it won’t stay that way for long. Showers and longer spells of rain will kick off across Scotland, the north of England and these will again extend down the central and eastern side of the country through The Midlands and into the south-east of England. So again the western side of England, The South West and Wales appears to miss the worst of the weather though North Wales may cop some showers. Again I think they’ll be potential for some thunder among these showers. So a sunshine and showers day for many on Friday but temperature-wise we will still be in the high teens to low twenties for most areas, maybe warmer in the south of England with less cloud. The wind will strengthen on Friday to a more strong to moderate north-westerly.

So how does the weekend look, will I watch the boat fill up with rain as per last Saturday or be slapping on the sun cream ?

Well not bad really and kind of similar to last weekend.

Saturday looks to start off dull but dry pretty much everywhere and as we go through the morning that cloud cover will break up to give some nice spells of sunshine. There’s a risk of this warmth triggering off some thundery downpours in the afternoon over central and eastern counties of England, northern England and Scotland but other than that we should be dry and warm. Temperature-wise, similar to Friday with high teens to low twenties the order of the day and lighter winds still from the north. Sunday looks drier and warmer with the only blot on the landscape being a raft of showers set to push into the west coast of Ireland later on in the day. Opinions are a bit divided but we look to pick up higher temperatures across the west of the U.K and across Ireland this weekend with slightly cooler and more humid conditions across the east.

Weather Outlook

Well next week looks like a bit of a split picture across the U.K and Ireland because we have a warm high pressure south of us and Atlantic low pressure systems feeding in. So I think we can expect a sunshine and showers type of week with Ireland, the west and north picking up the majority of any rainfall, especially early in the week before more settled conditions establish mid-week for all of us. Come the end of the week we look to have a more southerly-based low pressure pushing in stronger south westerly winds and cooler, more unsettled conditions but this is a way off yet and will no doubt change. Again no one weather system dominating the day for summer 2019.

Agronomic Notes

OK, didn’t do it last week for various reasons but let’s look back at June 2019 from around the U.K and Ireland.

GDD Summary – Location – The Oxfordshire

From a GDD perspective, June 2019 was pretty average really and bore remarkable similarity to 2016, 2014, 2010. From a stats perspective it was 14% cooler than 2018.

Now we know GDD doesn’t tell the whole story, because other factors can and will affect grass growth, with moisture specifically in terms of Poa annua being the limiting factor.

Cumulative year-to-date, 2019 from a GDD perspective is tracking on the low side after the cooler than previous years June. I have charted out the above from 2013 to 2019, Jan – June so you can see how 2019 is shaping up so far…

So you can see a kind of middle of the road year from a GDD point of view with 2017 remaining by far the highest year we have tracked.

GDD & Rainfall – June 2019 – U.K Locations

Of course the story of June 2019 was not really the average temperature, it was the fact that we got a good dollop of rainfall, particularly across the south and east of the U.K and for me it saved the day from a turfgrass maintenance perspective 🙂 Lots of areas were droughting out again and spring and autumn overseeding efforts were looking borderline.

It isn’t very often that Birmingham comes out top of the pops when we talk about rainfall but this location recorded 160.1mm of rain in the month of June, just over 6″, but this was by no means the wettest place in the U.K this June. East Anglia and particularly Lincolnshire were one of the wettest regions with 120-150mm of rain falling over a 3-day period from the 10th to the 12th of June. Some golf course locations reported 100mm of rainfall in a day. GDD-wise, we were pretty consistent but in northern locations, still cool with Fife sitting 25% lower than a typical Midland location.

Here’s how June shaped up from a daily perspective at the Birmingham location…

You can clearly see the influence of the trough pattern in the jet stream giving some very high daily rainfall totals in the mid-part of June 2019 and conversely at the end of June we saw a transitional peak pattern when warm air pushed up from Africa and we hit over 30°C with no rainfall.

GDD & Rainfall – June 2019 – Irish Locations

You can see similar consistency in the Irish picture from a GDD perspective with the east side of Ireland cooler and wetter than the west, not the normal weather picture for Ireland but the trough pattern that affected the U.K pushed cooler and wetter weather into the eastern side of Ireland. It isn’t often that Valentia comes out bottom of the Irish rainfall stats, gez you lads must have thought that the world was ending in Kerry being so dry 🙂 (I bet it was lovely in the west of Ireland in June)


In northern and western locations though it has been on the cool side, an almost waiting for summer to start scenario.

You can see the difference in the graph below for Birmingham and Johnstown Castle, Wexford comparing Daily Growth Potential ;

In common with April and May this year when we have had heat we haven’t had moisture and vice-versa and this has led to Poa annua in particular struggling to produce consistent growth through the spring and early summer.

To further complicate matters, that spike of rainfall in mid-June kicked Poa annua into seedhead mode again at just the time we would normally expect seedhead production to be on the wane. Looking at some surfaces last week I could see far less seedheads on the more open situation greens which were growing better and so had reached the end of seedhead production earlier. So I do think we are just about there from the end of the seedhead flush perspective but it has been a longer period of seedhead production in 2019 because of the dry spring and then wet June. This has affected putting green consistency.

Looking ahead…

The coming week is for me an alright sort of week really with good temperatures allowing consistent growth and the possibility of some moisture to help things along because here in sunny Market Harborough we have been dry now for a couple of weeks and missed the showers on Saturday.

Not only is the growth outlook good but the projected E.T total for the week at 16mm moisture loss is much lower than we would experience in a hot period of weather (50% lower typically) so not too stressy for the grass plant for The Midlands anyway.

Further south with their higher temperatures and more sustained sunshine you can see the E.T rate is appreciably higher with 24mm moisture loss projected over the next 7 days.

Bottom line –  keep an eye on soil moisture levels this week lads and lasses down south…

Disease-wise I don’t expect too much to come out of the woodwork this week because humidity won’t be high for sustained periods across the south of England. For Ireland and Scotland though with more rainfall and a wetter plant leaf, you may see some summer Microdochium come to the fore.

Ok that’s it for this week, All the best…

Mark Hunt