Monthly Archives: February 2020

17th February

Hi All,

At first sight this might look like a nice set of steps down to a river but it isn’t.

It is a car park next to Market Harborough railway station.

Over the years it’s been flooded more and more to a point now where it is hardly used in the winter because of the threat of flooding. I think this picture highlights a number of key points ; firstly whoever granted planning permission had very little knowledge of the potential for flooding (bit of a give away really since the River Jordan ((not that one)) flows along that row of posts in the foreground and secondly, that flooding is becoming more of an issue for the U.K & Ireland.

Storm Dennis – image courtesy of

The image above graphically highlights the difference between a normal low pressure system (right) and an extremely intense one that was Storm Dennis(left). The actual centre of Dennis tracked up towards Iceland over the weekend, so we missed the strongest winds and most intense rainfall, not that you would have known it.

Some stats

Below are rainfall figures from a weather station situated near Abergavenny, I think they speak for themselves. I know many of you across The South West, South Wales, north of England and Scotland would have recorded similar figures for February….

It isn’t the volume of rainfall we have experienced which is at the heart of the problem, it’s the frequency. Specifically the no. of wet days vs. the no. of dry days has been seriously out of kilter this autumn / winter.

Yes, we have had wet periods of weather over the autumn / winter before, nothing strange in that, but what we normally also have is periods of dry down that let soils dry up and river / land water levels return to normal before the next rainfall event.

In the wettest areas of the country this just hasn’t happened as you can see from the graph below ;

For an area like the south west of England, the last 5 1/2 months have recorded an average of 81% wet days with less than 20% dry. So 8 out of every 10 days is wet. Try maintaining a sports surface and keeping punters expectations happy on those stats ! But try we do 🙂

For sure, there is a global weather phenomenon going on here but there’s also a local environmental one. Pictures like the car park above are commonplace now because of the vast number of houses being built around existing infrastructure, hard surfaces put down which were once pasture and of course more and more lawn areas are committed to hard surfaces and even plastic. The net effect is less absorptive surfaces / areas and therefore more run off.

Some bean counter somewhere thinks this all makes great sense, but you can’t put infrastructure in place without thinking about the consequences……Boris.

If you look at our industry, this spell of weather has been going on since September 22nd / 23rd, 2019. That’s 5 months by my reckoning…..

Has it been the wettest spell of weather we have endured ?


Has it been the wettest spell of weather with the least amount of dry down periods in-between ?


Has it been the most mentally challenging that I can remember over the last 31 years ?

Without a doubt.

On that last point, my thoughts go out to all of you that are affected. This week’s blog won’t have an agronomic section because after the 2nd storm in 7 days, there isn’t a great deal of ‘agronomic’ going on in our industry. If you’re staring at a flooded golf course, cricket square or winter season pitch and wondering when you are going to get a break from this, I don’t think a section on agronomic notes is helpful to you.

So without further ado, let’s see what’s in store this week and next week….

General Weather Situation

So the theme for this week is for high pressure to build south of the U.K but for it to remain unsettled. This will have the effect of tipping the rain picture up country and so most of the rain we will see this week will be north and north west. This is a big concern because particularly the north west of England has been clattered over the last few months and more rain heading its way is not what it needs. Flood defences are stretched to their limit currently and will remain so throughout this week across the north and north west of the U.K. It may give some partial relief though to the south of the country and particularly South Wales, which like the north west of England got hammered by Storm Dennis. In this area we will still see rain this week, but it’ll be pushing through quickly so amounts won’t be close to what we got over the weekend.

So Monday sees a band of rain showers pushing over Ireland and the U.K heading from west to east. These showers are being pushed along by a strong westerly wind, somewhat chillier than the weekend. The main shower band is across the north of Ireland, South Wales and Central Scotland. Through the afternoon we will see a continuation of these showers with The South West, South Wales and the north-west of England / Central Scotland most likely to see the heaviest bursts I’m afraid. Away from these areas you’ll have a sunshine and blustery showers type of day and in some areas it will represent a good drying day. Temperature-wise, down from the weekend when we touched into the low teens though this went largely unnoticed. So 8-10°C will be the norm today.

Overnight into Tuesday and those showers will have relented in most places with the exception of the west of Scotland which will be seeing wintry showers from the off. As we go through Tuesday morning another band of showers will push into the western coasts of England, Wales and Ireland and move eastwards slowly. By the afternoon most of Ireland will be seeing rain, but away from these western coasts we will again see another largely dry day with a good drying wind to boot. Through the course of Tuesday afternoon that band of rain over Wales and the north west of England will sink south and eastwards, clearing Ireland as it does so, so a wetter end to the day across central and southern counties. Again a strong westerly / south-westerly wind in situ on Tuesday keeping temperatures in the 8-10°C zone.

Mid-week and overnight sees a temporary ridge of high pressure push in but along with that comes a rain front which will push into Kerry from first light and then cross Ireland quickly during the morning working its way north and eastwards. By Wednesday lunchtime the rain will be into The South West, Wales and The North West and during the afternoon it’ll move inland becoming isolated to the north and west of Ireland as it does so. At this stage the heaviest rain looks to affect North Wales, The North West / Lakes and south-west Scotland. By dusk that rain will be dissipating across central areas and clearing by midnight. across Wales and central areas. Further north across The Lakes and the west / north-west of Scotland that rain will remain adding to high rainfall totals on already saturated ground. At the same time we will see another band of rain across Ireland pushing through in the early hours of Thursday morning. Slightly lighter winds on Wednesday but if anything feeling chillier under that rain with 6-8°C likely.

Thursday sees a re-run of Wednesday with rain across Ireland pushing across The Irish Sea into the west of the U.K by dawn. This band of rain will fall as wintry showers across the north west and Scotland but it will dissipate as it moves inland. Ireland should dry up as we progress through Thursday morning as should Central Scotland with some sunny intervals developing. That said you can expect those wintry showers to persist across the west of Scotland / north west of England and inland across The Pennines / Peak District. Through the afternoon that band of rain / sleet sinks south and east across central areas but again it dissipates as it does so. By dusk it should have cleared all of the U.K and Ireland. Stronger winds again on Thursday but feeling milder with temperatures nudging double figures, expect 9-11°C.

Closing out the week on Friday we see a dry start across the U.K & Ireland but not for long as a new band of rain pushes into the north-west of Scotland and Ireland and sinks slowly south and east during the morning. At this stage it looks to mainly affect the north and north west of the U.K and Ireland for the morning anyway but during the afternoon this mix of rain, sleet and snow (over elevation) will sink move southwards across Ireland and the north of England as well. By dusk on Friday the western coastline of the U.K looks wet with some high rainfall totals predicted for The North West ( sorry). The south, south east and eastern counties look to stay dry through the day and may not see the rain at all. Strong to gale force winds on Friday pegging back the temperature to the 7-9°C area.

The outlook for the weekend doesn’t actually look so bad although they’ll still be plenty of rain around. Saturday sees a sunshine and blustery showers type of day with longer spells of rain and wintry showers again forecast for the west / north-west of Scotland. That strong westerly wind remains in situ I’m afraid but you will see some sunshine between those showers across Ireland, the north / south of England and Wales. It’ll also feel milder with temperatures into the low double figures. On Saturday night we will see more rain push into the west of Ireland and this will cross Ireland and most of the U.K during the course of Saturday night / Sunday morning. By dawn on Sunday expect to see some rain / wintry shower mix still over western Scotland and the north of England but away from that we should have a dry start for most of the U.K and Ireland. Still the threat of blustery showers especially across North Wales, the north-west of England and western Scotland, but elsewhere dry, bright and blustery and temperatures creeping up into double figures.

Weather Outlook

When I sit down to look at the longer-term weather forecast (7-10 days) I normally concentrate on the GFS global forecasting model.

Now if you look at global forecasting models there are actually 2 of them…

The GFS (Global Forecasting System) is run by the United States, National Weather Service and the ECMWF, The European Medium Range Forecast Model, is based in the U.K, but supported collectively by 34 countries. Now among meteorologists there is constant debate as to which on is more accurate. The consensus appears to be that the ECMWF is the more accurate of the two, however it is less freely available than the GFS and updates on a less regular basis so a lot of models utilise the GFS model. Is there much difference ?

Below is the output for both models for the 27th of February.

I’d say they are broadly similar and show high pressure building south of the U.K through the course of next week. You will however notice that the isobars are packed tightly still so that means we will continue the windy and unsettled theme.

So expect next next to start with those winds dropping off from the weekend and giving us a calm start to the week though there will still be some rain around across Ireland and the north of England.  Through Tuesday we see the wind freshen from the north west and push some showers across the U.K and Ireland. Wednesday sees a continuation of a strong westerly wind and showers of rain, more north and west but unsettled all the same. Overnight into Thursday sees a further band of rain cross the U.K and Ireland accompanied by strong winds as low pressure passes over Scotland. Towards the end of next week we see a drier theme emerging with calmer winds and more settled conditions as high pressure attempts to build across the U.K. If it goes to plan that should put us dry, calm and possibly warm for the start of March.

Here’s hoping with everything crossed..

All the best.

Mark Hunt



February 10th

Hi All,

It may not look that devastating from the GFS output in the top graph but the tightly-packed isobars give a clue as to wind strength. Yesterday’s V8 rain radar output from shows in more detail how a central strip of rain pushed over Lancashire and Yorkshire bringing 75-100 mm of rainfall in one day during the course of yesterday.

I can’t remember winds like it since I was a mere slip of a lad back in 1987 when Michael Fish did his famous hurricane gaff and most of the trees in the south of England got flattened. We got away lightly down in The Midlands, missing the main chunk of rainfall but to those who are now counting the cost of the damage to their golf courses, sports grounds and the like, my sympathies.

It was also reported that a British Airways flight broke the Transatlantic record for the fastest ever subsonic flight. It flew from New York to London in just less than 5 hours courtesy of a 250 mph + tail wind in the shape of the jet stream. Apparently it was cruising in excess of 800 mph !

With such a strong jet stream in place it’ll be no surprise that we have a bumpy ride of low pressures this week as predicated correctly in last Monday’s blog.

General Weather Situation

So Monday starts off still with some tightly-packed isobars in situ but today they are joined by some colder temperatures that are already bringing snow showers to Scotland and down as far south as Yorkshire / Lancashire, maybe The Peak District. The rest of the U.K dawns bright and settled with some strong to gale force winds still evident. Ciara (Key-r-ra) isn’t going quietly. Ireland looks to start dry but not for long as there’s plenty of rain fronts amassing off the western coasts and these will make landfall during Monday morning and push eastwards. With that colder temperature, these showers across Ireland and the west of Scotland will fall as sleet and snow over elevation. By lunchtime that rain is into Wales and The South West and it’ll soon push eastwards to all areas with maybe only the Lincolnshire coast northwards avoiding the rain / sleet and snow until dusk. An unsettled, colder day with plenty of wintry showers across Ireland, Wales and Scotland with falls in The Pennines and Yorkshire Dales. Temperature-wise, that north-west wind will knock things back from the highs of the weekend, with 5-7°C likely across most areas.

Onto Tuesday and that unsettled picture continues with wintry showers along the west coast of Ireland, North Wales, The North West and across the west of Scotland. Away from these showers we will see a bright start to the day with a ground frost possible in sheltered locations under clear skies. During the morning we see that rain, sleet and snow push inland into The Midlands of Ireland but also across The South West, Wales and the north west coast of England and Scotland. Away from western coasts you’ll look to stay dry with bright spells but a very chilly wind. Cold again then in that strong north-westerly wind with temperatures down to 4-6°C

Mid-week beckons and with it a very similar day to Tuesday with a strong north-westerly wind, veering south-westerly as we close out the day. Still with wintry showers affecting the western coast of the U.K from the off but these will become more isolated to the north west as we progress through the morning. So sunny and dry again away from western coasts and maybe feeling a degree or two milder as that wind pulls round to the west. As we approach dusk we see a new low pressure system push rain into the south west of England and Ireland. This rain will push across Ireland on Wednesday night. Temperature-wise more like 6-8°C for Wednesday and still windy with it.

Thursday sees that low pressure system pushing rain, some of it heavy, into Ireland, the south west of England and Wales from first light. This rain will clear Ireland quickly on Thursday morning but affect most of the U.K (aside from the far north of Scotland) through the course of Thursday morning. By lunchtime that weather system will break down into showers across central areas of the U.K, with Ireland and The Pennines north looking drier but still with the threat of rain across The North East and east of Scotland. No point in forecasting the wind direction because depending where you are in proximity to the low pressure you’ll have southerly, northerly, westerly or easterly wind ! Slightly milder on Thursday with 7-9°C likely.

Closing out the week on Friday we have another active low pressure system forecast to bring strong south westerly winds and rain from the off for Ireland. Much milder air as well with temperatures in double figures. As we progress through Friday morning that rain makes landfall across the U.K  and is set to bring heavy rain to the places that don’t need more rainfall. So that means Wales, the north-west of England, south west and central Scotland. That band of rain will clear all but the north of Ireland by Friday afternoon and push eastwards across the U.K till dusk. Again a very breezy day with a strong south westerly wind and milder air stream keeping temperatures around 9-11°C.

The weekend looks like continuing that very unsettled theme with yet another low pressure system pushing in across Ireland in the early part of Saturday. This will cross over into the U.K later on Saturday morning and push north and eastwards bringing rain to all areas accompanied by strong and mild south westerly winds. The eastern side of the U.K may succeed in staying dry till late afternoon. It pains my to write this but it is highly likely that we will see more heavy rain for the north west of England. Sunday looks to be a sunshine and showers day, mild in the strong south westerly winds with more in the way of showers for the 2nd half of the day.

Weather Outlook

With that strong jet stream in place across The Atlantic it should come as no surprise that we look set for a continued run of unsettled weather however with high pressure to the south of us this will push the rain and winds more northwards so I’m thinking next week looks reasonable for southern and central areas of the U.K and Ireland with the rain more north-west orientated across Scotland. That seems to be the pattern for the first part of the week but as we approach Thursday we see low pressure push in from The Atlantic to bring another bout of very strong winds and rain for the end of the week. This is likely to last through the weekend as well. Any glimpses of a change ? Well maybe, just maybe towards the end of Feb we see a warmer high pressure pattern forming but this is such a long way away I wouldn’t get too excited as we sit here now.

Agronomic Notes

GDD & Rainfall Summary – January 2020 – U.K Locations

So above is a summary of U.K locations for GDD and rainfall during January 2020. I’m happy to include a new ‘data donor’ from the clifftops of Jersey (thanks Matt). I’m guessing they’ll be leading the way GDD-wise throughout the year but we will see.

As commented upon last week, January 2020, was a mild month with many locations picking up some decent growth during the month. Again we see the same pattern for the U.K and you will see with Ireland (below) in that the south west locations pick up the worst of the rainfall with Avon and Devon the highest totals.

A mild one for Scotland in January with very similar GDD to locations down south.

Ireland has more variability I’d say with the west / south west and south east picking up the lions share of the rainfall. Similar GDD range to the U.K though with Valentia as usual leading the way. Unusually the east coast locations of Bray and Donabate picked up some pretty mild air for January. All in all not a bad month for getting some recovery and in some locations, a bit of dry down. All change now though 🙁

Insect activity – Bibionids

The lack of a frost through the autumn and the very wet weather has seen significant insect activity during the latter part of 2019 and early part of 2020.

These fellers in particular are turning up a lot this winter, they aren’t Leatherjackets, they are Bibionids. Better known as Fever Fly or St Mark’s Fly, they live in clusters close to the turf surface, surviving in the organic matter layer in fairways and semi-rough. They hatch out in the spring and the black adult flies often be seen dangling their legs below them, hovering above the surface of the turf. When they start landing in March or April they are laying their eggs. Now normally I see the odd bit of turf bleaching with Bibionids, in isolated areas, with the main damage done by pecking from Corvid (Crow) bird species.

This year I am seeing areas decimated by Bibionids with very little grass cover remaining…see image below….

Looking at control options, there is a pyrethroid insecticide called Sven which has a label for managed-amenity turf for sale up until July 2020, but in the restrictions there is a 5 day no re-entry note on sports fields (see below). I presume the same would apply for golf courses ?

Without a doubt I expect to see further issues with Bibionids, Leatherjackets and Chafers this spring because of the lack of frosts and mild (ish) winter temperatures 🙁

Aeration windows

It has been a tricky winter to fit in aeration whether that be vertidraining, slitting or tining. Not only has saturated ground conditions made it difficult to get machinery out there but undoubtedly it has been questionable how much benefit you get from trying to aerate a wet soil.

If we look back at the past 4 months I’d say September was the last date you could vertidrain and achieve benefits and / or maybe in January if you are in a lower rainfall location.

This picture is from a previously shallow-rooted green with a high population of Poa annua var. reptans. This is the tightly-packed Poa that provides an excellent putting surface but does accumulate fibre quickly and is more prone to Microdochium nivale. The last tining process carried out on this green was vertidraining in September, before the rains arrived.

You can see the excellent benefit gained from this aeration process in terms of enhanced rooting.

The green had also been gradened recently (end of January) to remove excess fibre in the turf surface. It is interesting but on this 18-hole golf course, there are only 4-5 greens with this type of grass species distribution and hence surface fibre accumulation. With Poa annua var. reptans, most of the organic matter accumulation is in the top 20-25mm, so for me lateral aeration such as verticutting, scarifying, deep scarification (Graden) are very good tools to target this accumulation depth. Better than hollow coring or solid tining / dilution ?

Well in certain situations, yes maybe….

It is ‘horses for courses’ when it comes to aeration and there are many factors that have a bearing on what type of aeration to use when. You can argue the rights and wrongs to the cows come home (bit of a farmyard theme developing here :)) but on this course, reducing surface organic matter has definitely reduced Microdochium nivale activity / severity. It is always the high Poa annua var reptans greens that function as indicators for the other Poa / bent greens on the facility.

So could you get by with just using lateral aeration to target the surface and vertidraining to decompact the profile ?

It is an interesting question.

Ultimately it depends on your situation, the level of organic matter accumulation you have and where it exists in the profile. If it’s deeper than 25mm, it is unlikely that lateral aeration would be efficient at reducing it and here hollow coring may be more appropriate. You may also have a ‘clientele’  who are adverse to the effects of lateral aeration, i.e. they don’t like lines.

Horses for courses eh ?

All the best..

Mark Hunt



February 3rd – Mini blog

Hi All,

I took this pretty fungi pic as I was on a walk round Rutland Water’s Hambleton Peninsula sussing out my forthcoming half marathon route. Sadly it’s a lot more hilly than it has a right to be and will be ‘challenging’ for me old legs no doubt.

Later over a cuppa I was reading an article in New Scientist which stated that the oldest confirmed fossil records of fungi had just been re-written. A find in Belgium now dates them back to between 715 – 810 million years old. So when we look at fighting Microdochium, Anthracnose and / or Dollar Spot, it is worth remembering that our foe has been around for a very long time and is likely to be pretty well adapted to surviving our efforts to eradicate it. 🙁

So that’s January 2020 gone in double quick time and a mild and wet one it was too with very little signs of winter during the month. Looking ahead we look to lose this milder air during the week and pick up some cold northerlies, but not for long it seems. Winter though may still come knocking in mid-February….

General Weather Situation

So looking at the week ahead we start with low pressure to the north and high pressure to the south. During the morning we will see rain push into The South West and then track along the south coast of England but it won’t progress too far inland. At the same time we will also see a band of rain, sleet and hill snow push into the north west of Scotland and later north west England accompanied by strong to gale force north westerly winds.  Away from these twin bands of rain we will see some fine and sunny weather in-between for most of England, Wales and Ireland. Temperatures will sit between 8-10°C and with a moderate to strong wind, it’ll be another good drying day and one we need badly.

Overnight into Tuesday we see the wind swing round to the north west and that’ll push that north-western rain, sleet and snow down the north west coast of the U.K and into North Wales. So Tuesday will start much colder, bright but with some blustery showers of rain, sleet and snow for the north-west of England and North Wales. As we progress through the morning we will also see showers moving down the north east coast of England and into East Anglia. It’ll be pretty windy and feeling a tad raw in that wind. We may see the odd shower inland p.m. on Tuesday but as high pressure pushes in we will dry up nicely again for many areas. A cold night beckons as the wind completes its northerly swing round.

So Wednesday dawns cold, dry and bright and with a ground frost for many. A typical winters day beckons  with long spells of sunshine, a gentler northerly wind and dry for all of us. Temperature-wise it’ll be low single figures 5-7°C and feeling colder in the wind.

Thursday sees that wind swing round again overnight to southerly / south-westerly ushering that high pressure away onto the continent. This will introduce more cloud into the weather equation, especially for Ireland and the western coastline of the U.K. Dry again though for all of us so let us be grateful for small mercies 🙂 Cool again with 6-8°C the likely temperature range, maybe a little milder across the west of Ireland.

As we approach Friday morning we complete the changeover from high pressure to low pressure. So this means the wind will strengthen from the south west and the first rain will make landfall across the west of Ireland early on Friday morning. Away from Ireland, the U.K will dawn sunny and cool with clear skies but there’s rain on the way. The main rain front is projected to reach the west of Ireland on Friday afternoon and push eastwards across the country for the rest of the day. Overnight into Saturday we will see rain cross The Irish Sea and make landfall across north west Scotland and the west coast of the U.K. Similar temperatures to Thursday, maybe a tad milder, so around 7-9°C, with a brisk south westerly wind.

The weekend is a bit of a mix and match with Saturday looking mainly dry after the overnight rain has crossed the U.K. So sunny and dry for most on Saturday and definitely the day to get out and do things because Sunday looks the opposite as I look at the GFS output. As we approach dusk on Saturday we will see rain, some of it heavy move into the west of Ireland and this will push eastwards through Saturday night into Sunday accompanied by strong to gale force, south-westerly winds. Sunday looks to start wet and windy for all of us with the heaviest rain across Ireland and the west. There will be some spells of sunshine further east through the afternoon but always the threat of more rain lingers. Very windy as well with gales for all areas on Sunday. Temperature-wise, still sitting around 8-10°C, so not bad for February.

Weather Outlook

If you look at the GFS output above for next Monday you can see some very tightly-packed isobars and some pretty cold weather for the north of England and Scotland. This is the result of a very deep Atlantic low pressure system that is heading our way, so the first half of next week looks very windy and pretty wet to boot with a pronounced wintry feel to the Scottish weather. That low pressure is projected to be with us for mid-week so that is potentially when we will see the highest winds and highest rainfall event. So a wet and windy outlook for next week with that unsettled feel to the weather continuing from mid-week though we should see less in the way of rain and perhaps pick up some milder air for a time as well at the end of next week.

Low pressure seems to be dominating the weather picture unfortunately with any high pressure systems pretty short-lived. The only benefit is with the strength of the associated wind, any rainfall tends to move through quickly. Batten down the hatches I think is the correct terminology.

Agronomic Notes

I haven’t got the time today to do a full monthly round up of January but I will do next week.

For now we can have a look at our usual stats for The Oxfordshire to give us a feel for how the month went..

Well as you can see from the stats above, January 2020 was the mildest January we have recorded since we started in 2010 with a total GDD figure of 45.

In itself that’s better total GDD than we get in some years during March !

Above is the daily Growth Potential from the same site and you can see we enjoyed a nice period of steady growth from the start of the month and at the end. We also ‘enjoyed’ a further chunk of rainfall especially at the beginning of the month. Now we know this site is one of the driest we monitor so the 72.4 mm that fell isn’t anywhere close to some of our wettest. Down the south west of England that figure was more like 140 mm for the month of January and it was cooler too (thanks Pete)

A great weather window for aeration on the face of it but of course the 16 weeks of rainfall with few drying days on the run up to January 2020 has made many areas far too wet for machinery and with a wet rootzone, you’re likely to do more harm than good. That said towards the end of January, some courses did dry out enough to do some early season hollow tining / vertidraining, etc,so all was not lost.

It remains a tricky balancing act in terms of making the decision on early season aeration and it’s one only you the end-user can call. Ground conditions on your course / pitch area, soil moisture levels and above all, the requirement to do the work should all go into the decision-making process.  With the wrong ground conditions you’ll almost certainly do more harm than good, but often the stars align at this time of year and you get a chance to ‘nip in a quickie’, be that solid tine, hollow core or vertidrain.

Looking at the weather outlook I’d say this week probably presents the last opportunity to do that work for the foreseeable because when the weather closes down on Sunday we look to be in another recurring pattern of low pressure, strong winds and rainfall…

Microdochium nivale pressure

Last week was a weird one because on the face of it we could have expected to see some significant disease pressure and whilst there was some around, it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

Given that air temperatures were in the double figures overnight one could have expected to see some aggressive activity. However, the wind was quite strong providing a good drying effect and the air wasn’t that humid so although we saw some dew later in the week, we didn’t see long periods of plant leaf wetness.

If you look at the graph above, the columns in red are leaf wetness and you can see that there were relatively short-lived periods, even when there was rainfall. This was because we had some evapotranspiration going on which dried the leaf down quickly. So with that milder air we got some nice dry down on the leaf and that prevented Microdochium nivale activity. I did see some on sheltered sites on higher-height-of-cut turf but less than I originally expected. Microdochium nivale needs consistent plant leaf wetness and I’m sure other diseases like Dollar Spot are the same. If the weather and / or your maintenance practices breaks that cycle then it fails to develop to its optimum.

Looking ahead I think we will see a small amount of activity on sheltered sites towards the end of the week but it will be short-lived because wind speed will negate dew development. So maybe just a brief period of re-activity on existing scars rather than anything worse.

Looking back over the winter, we have had an interesting one with more activity after November than before in many locations.

I’ve mapped out our cumulative disease pressure score over consecutive 48-hour periods since the start of October and as you can see we had 5 intervals of high disease pressure with the highest occurring around the 25th of November.  Just like over Christmas 2018, we again saw significant pressure from Christmas – New Year and again, just like 2018, a tricky spell leading up to that period in terms of limited spray windows. When I say spray windows in this instance I’m referring of course to the twin challenges of 1) Getting your sprayer out onto the golf course and 2) Having the conditions to actually spray !….

OK that’s me for this week…

All the best.

Mark Hunt