June 24th

(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