Hi All,

Sorry; this time last week, I predicted a low pressure to be moving into our weather pattern bringing rain and cooler temperatures, but unfortunately late last week, the Jet Stream took a hike up north and pushed it over us and into Scandinavia, so it’s not going to arrive. Currently the Jet Stream is sitting over Iceland, it’s the furthest north I’ve observed it and this means that high pressure systems from the south will continue to form below it and that’s what’s keeping our weather so dry.

This Week

The outlook remains dry as weak high pressure systems stay in place with a gradual warming of temperatures as we approach the end of the week and the Bank Holiday.
They’ll be the odd shower around, particularly as we approach the end of the week, but as I mentioned above, no strong rain front. Day temperatures I expect to hit 20°C plus by the end of the week for England, with Wales, Scotland and the North of England, 3-4°C behind, it’ll certainly be a very warm Bank Holiday for most.

The nights will be cool though where skies clear, so this will peg back soil temperatures keep greens growth just ticking on.They’ll also be heavy dews on most mornings under the clear skies. If you look at the temperature profile taken from our Headland Weathercheck portal for my home location, you can see the large variation between day and night temperatures. The high temperatures of the weekend may end up triggering some thunder showers over the South-East / East of England, but for now that’s the only likelihood of rain.

Outlook

A messy picture really with no Jet Stream moving systems across the U.K and Ireland, a succession of high pressures merge over us and keep the weather dry, with the chance of temperatures dropping away after the weekend. There is the beginnings of a rain front influencing our weather from the south from Wednesday-Thursday next week, moving up from the Bay of Biscay area, so I certainly be keeping an eye on that and will update you all at the start of next week.

Agronomics

There are positives and negatives from this current weather situation.

The positive is that with so little rain, at least we’re not dealing with a growth flush on outfield areas running into the succession of three short weeks on the bounce, so courses can be set up tidy, with no heaps of clippings lying around. With labour short, this can only be a bonus and you can save your Primo Maxx applications for when Mother Nature decides to turn off her own growth regulator :). It’s also bringing plenty of golfers out, so the revenue streams that took such a hit late last year, have had three and now nearly four good months to recover, that’s important for all of us in this industry, whichever side of the fence you sit on.

The negatives are dealing with a lack of greens growth, particularly after aeration and maintaining enough growth to get grass pushing up through the sand, so you can topdress and maintain or create a good surface for the golfer. The attached pdf shows the succession of cold nights has provided growth checks all through March and they continue through April, with few days when the night and day temperature has exceeded 6°C. The problem is the golfer doesn’t see the frost on the greens rollers or the fact that night temperatures are just above freezing, they’re out there in their short sleeves, slapping on the factor 30, sipping their iced drink and simply don’t relate to the current issues, they never have and they never will do. All of my family (apart from me) play golf, so I have a close-to-home database of opinion, sadly 🙁

From an irrigation perspective, I’ve talked about this before, light syringing, ideally once the soil has warmed up, if you can get out amongst the golf, just to keep the surface damp and avoid it crusting off and desiccating surface roots, this is particularly important on Poa of course. Nutrition-wise, the requirement is for light rate foliars, utilising cool-temperature available forms of N, applying 5-6kg per hectare and tank-mixing biostimulants and light rate irons, nothing too heavy to dry the plant out.
Wetting agent applications of course should be in place long before now and these will help the small amounts of applied water penetrate the surface and distribute uniformly. Warm-temperature nitrogen forms like urea and Triazone will work at the moment, but like the above, they must be foliar applied in 300-400 litres of water per hectare maximum and left on the leaf through the day to be absorbed.

I expect to see a return of the purpling discolouration amongst Poa and some Bentgrass with the rapidly changing day and night temperatures, again this is just another sign that growth is inconsistent.

All the best, have a good Easter.
Mark Hunt