Hi All,

It certainly feels like autumn out there at the moment with some chilly mornings and heavy dews, punctuated with high winds and rain in between. All is not lost though, as I hinted last week, because we have a return to summer on the cards for the end of the week. Before that we have some wet and windy weather to contend with, so a mixed bunch for sure…

Had a call yesterday from a golf course superintendent in Germany who relayed to me the latest development of the E.U Thematic Strategy on Pesticides for greenkeepers in Germany. Previous to this year, a greenkeeper in Germany could apply for a range of licenses to use agricultural fungicides, insecticides, etc on his golf course, the rate was often low, but with newer chemistry’s, the system was workable, offered good choice of active ingredients, so resistance of winter Snow Mold and Fusarium could be managed  and it was cost-effective. The new system removes this choice of fungicides and now they can only apply Banner Maxx at a cost of €800 per hectare. Nothing wrong with the product for sure, but how do you manage resistance with one chemistry and how is that better for the environment ? In my mind, it all comes down to E.U non-sensical politics and corporate influence and spend and little to do with the environment at the end of the day.

 General Weather Situation

This week starts one day late courtesy of a UK Bank Holiday, but after some pretty heavy, localised rain over the weekend, Tuesday looks a dry day for most areas with just a chance of some light showers over Connacht and North-West Scotland. Overnight a heavier band of rain pushes into south-west Munster and moves across Ireland and into Wales / south-west England by the early hours. This rain will form a vertical band the length and breadth of the U.K and this rain will push eastwards, so Wednesday will see some rain for all areas during the day and this rain may linger overnight in the north of England and eastern Scotland. For Thursday we have a day of sunshine and light showers across Ireland, Wales and then England through the afternoon, but temperatures will start to lift as a high pressure system in the Atlantic begins to exert itself. This will confine any rain to northern Scotland for Friday and the weekend and leave Ireland, Wales, England and southern Scotland to enjoy what looks like a lovely weekend with temperatures in the 20 – 22 °C range and dry with it. Definitely a bucket and spade weekend I’d say at the moment.

Outlook

High pressure is the order of the day for the start and possibly the bulk of next week, so lovely dry, sunny days and probably cooler nights with some heavy dews, but otherwise fine and dandy. That’s great news in my mind because a lot of clubs have busy golf schedules for September and if we can get some nice stable weather, it may go some way to recoup a little of what’s been lost over the wet spring / summer.

Agronomic Notes

Last week saw a lot of disease on greens, tees and fairways after the high heat and humidity of mid-August, but things should settle down a little this week as the drier weather takes effect at the back end of the week. Those pictures I put up last week turned out to be Dollar Spot, but with some other pathogens involved.

There’s some Anthracnose around at present, on clean up strips and wear areas, but so far nothing to get too concerned about as stress levels are now declining with the cooler nights, so maintaining fertility and plant health should provide a remedy as opposed to having to open the Chemsafe 🙂

Growth rates should start to settle down as those soil temperatures decrease, so outfield areas should be more easy to maintain and that growth flush, so noticeable over the last couple of weeks, will decline nicely.

I’m hoping that the fine and dry start to September continues well into the month because that means that aggressive Fusarium won’t kick off early, normally not until early October in the U.K and a little earlier in Ireland and with lower disease pressure, that can mean the saving of one fungicide application. If you’re interested in this area, there’s an autumn disease management article posted under the Useful Technical Links section on the right of this page.

Nutrition-wise, September can be a funny month because it’s a half-way house between summer and autumn, often with high day temperatures, but cooler nights and dew. Soil temperatures will begin to decrease from now on, but currently they’re sitting at around 16°C, which is still fine for summer-based liquid / water-soluble fertiliser analyses. I tend to prefer just tickling the greens on through this month because we know that higher disease pressure is just around the corner and the last thing we need going into that period is a fast-growing grass plant, with excessive N in the leaf tissue. On the contrary, going in with a weak, under-nourished plant can also be detrimental from a disease perspective so you have to hit a balance between the two.

All the best.

Mark Hunt