May 13th

Hi All,

Well we got the rain last week, nice and steady so it went into the profile rather than running off. It wasn’t all steady rain though as I observed first hand whilst out mountain biking on Friday evening. This gnarly bit of torrential rain had me reaching for my waterproof jacket as soon as it came into view. It stalked me on my route before embracing me with a cracking downpour that soaked me down to my gruts. It was interesting though that by Sunday afternoon the fields that I walked on were already dry and the streams and ditches showed the lack of run off which in a way is good.

When you look at the picture of this golf course a number of different sentiments may come to mind. It is the classic, early 90’s, American-style golf course, lots of earth moving and sand during the construction and probably not what you’d immediately associate with good environment for nature.  But you’d be wrong as it represents a thriving environment for birds , mammals and insects.

The fact that through the efforts of the course manager it has a thriving Owl and Kestrel population with Tawny, Barn and Little Owls all in residence and doing well. This in contrast to their broad decline in our monosward-style countryside is a source of credit and hope for the future. It also shows you don’t have to be on a heathland or links golf course to have creditable environmental credentials. Just a bit of will, money and resource at home and at work gives nature a helping hand and one it so desperately needs.

OK time to get off nature’s soapbox and onto what is a nicely predictable weather forecast for some of this week anyway because after the rain comes the sunshine and then maybe (maybe) a bit more rain…(for some)

General Weather Situation

So a very straight-forward weather forecast for the first 3-4 days of the week with high pressure in charge meaning long spells of warm sunshine, very little in the way of cloud cover, maybe more across Ireland, the east of Scotland and The North-East. Night time temperatures in the mid to high single figures and increasing as we go through the week, with Scotland looking like it will top the temperatures for the U.K with low twenties vs. high teens maybe just touching 20°C for the rest of the U.K and Ireland. Winds look to be moderate and easterly for the U.K and southerly for Ireland as you’re on the tuther side of the high pressure.

So we move rapidly onto Thursday and here we see the first part of a change in the weather as although dry Thursday will feature more in the way of cloud pushing in from the east for the 2nd part of the day so for western coasts, Wales and Ireland you should still have a cracking day of sunshine. It’ll stay warm with similar temperatures to earlier in the week though dipping from the east as that cloud advances on Thursday.  So I’d say 16°C under the cloud and maybe 20 °C for the west and north. The wind will be moderate to fresh and from the east – north-east.

Onto Friday and a Bay of Biscay low begins to influence our weather so by dawn we see that cloud cover has extended to cover most of the U.K. We will also see some showers pushing in from The Wash into East Anglia and The Midlands from early doors. Later these may cross over into Wales for the end of the day. Most areas staying dry though but since we are talking continental rainfall we have to throw our usual caveat into the ring.  So a duller day on Friday for most areas with maybe Ireland and Scotland holding onto more in the way of sunshine and temperature. Notably cooler though as that drop in temperature continues with only low teens for central U.K whilst Ireland and Scotland will remain in the mid-high teens.

So how does the outlook for the weekend look ?

Well not exactly brill, but not hopeless either to be honest with more cloud cover and some rain around as well but temperatures should recover somewhat. Saturday looks to start dry and dull for most but rain is due to push up from the south and south-east during the morning and into the afternoon. Expect some showers as well across South Munster through Saturday morning. Since we are talking about a Bay of Biscay low pressure it means most of the rain will be southern U.K / Ireland-orientated through the weekend. Ironically with this change in weather, the south will pick up a north / north-east wind but slightly better temperatures, back up into the mid to high teens across Saturday and Sunday. Sunday follows a similar pattern with showers across the south of England, a few pushing north before a more consolidated rain front pushes in to affect the southern half of the country. Away from this it’ll be cloudy with sunny intervals and reasonable temperatures. Expect rainfall amounts to change on your forecast this week up to the weekend as forecasters try to make sense of this tricky-to-predict type of weather pattern.

Image courtesy of

Weather Outlook

So next week is a tricky one to call aside from saying that Portugal, Spain and France look to be in line a real deluge and since the low is slow-moving I expect some severe flooding in places.

For the U.K and Ireland we have a complex weather picture (see above) that could really go either way. We have that Bay of Biscay low and a developing Atlantic low squeezing out the high pressure system that will bring us lovely weather this week. I think we will see showers still across the southern half of the U.K through the early part of next week with other areas remaining dry before low pressure begins to push more unsettled conditions into the north and north-west later on next week. The smart money is on low pressure dominating for the coming Bank Holiday weekend if only because as soon as the villages round here start advertising local fetes, it yaks it down 🙂 So unsettled in the south of the U.K and Ireland through next week, drier and probably warmer further north before the weather settles down at the end of the week only for low pressure to push in for the 2nd half of the Bank Holiday. That’s my take on it…

Agronomic Notes

Growth Outlook

As predicted last week we have a much better growth proposition going forward this week with consistently good daily Growth Potential for the U.K and Ireland. Slightly cooler nights for the first part of the week will hold things back nicely but as cloud cover pushes in later in the week we lose this feature and in some areas (England) the G.P keeps rising. With last week’s rain and this growth outlook I’d expect surfaces to come on well and particularly Poa annua-dominated greens will shake off their “Don’t like this cold, dry weather” mood and swing more into line.

A great uptake window…

Again as predicted (yes I know but someone has to…) this week will present a great uptake window for a whole myriad of applications, be that selective herbicides, foliar feeds and probably most importantly, PGR’s, as things might need pegging back a bit if you get my drift. It is a funny old game turf management when we wait ages for consistent growth and then as soon as it comes we look at pegging it back 🙂

2019 now very similar to 2018 from a GDD-perspective…

If we look at how the 2019 GDD is tracking as we approach mid-May, we can see that this years cool April of 2019 has actually put us more or less bang on where we were at the same point last year give or take a day ( Cumulative GDD 2019 = 287 vs. cumulative GDD 2018 = 276 for this location)

If you follow the GDD curve for 2019 from this point it just kept piling on the GDD through June and July as well. I have a hunch we won’t follow the same pattern as summer 2018 in 2019 but we will see.

Water as a resource…

I know some of us have one eye on our water supply at the moment after a dry winter / spring in some geographical areas of the U.K & Ireland. Last summer left its mark on many an outfield that is still visible today so it was with interest that I received this document in my Inbox (Cheers Rob) detailing the Environmental Agency’s summary of irrigation / abstraction availability.

You can download the above document here

The red shading indicates areas of England that are classified as ‘POOR’ when it comes to groundwater levels and water availability with the yellow areas classified as ‘MODERATE’.

In the report it mentions that the long-term rainfall prospects for the summer are equal between above-average vs. below-average precipitation (which may be a meteorological way of sticking your finger in the air). There is however a consistent thread through the document that warns that with a dry winter followed by an extremely dry spring (for some central and eastern areas) there is a possibility of local restrictions. Personally looking at where we are water-wise locally in terms of low reservoir, river and pond levels and with the thousands of houses that are seemingly popping up everywhere with no corresponding investment in infrastructure, (no new reservoirs)I can’t see this being avoidable.

A well-timed PGR application can reap benefits in the summer

One lesson from last year from which I saw clear benefits from an outfield perspective ( in particular) was holding back growth with a high rate of PGR prior to the heat of the summer, It really extended plant viability by reducing growth and obviously plant water usage as a consequence. A bit early yet in May but the trick will be reading the weather right before we hit a prolonged hot spell and applying a PGR. Obviously this may not be workable on recently over-seeded areas where you really need to get mature plant coverage first before doing so because the PGR can adversely affect an immature grass plant. One to think about though maybe ?

Ok that’s me for another week, enjoy the sun, don’t forget your sun cream if you burn easily….

Al the best.

Mark Hunt