Hi All,

As we close the book on April, it’s been without doubt for many a cold and wet month (except of course if you’re in Scotland where it’s been dry). With another 24mm yesterday, 16mm the day before, I reckon we’ve had close to 140mm this month, last year we had 8mm in April !!!. (Some lads have already reported up to 170mm for April !). As usual I’d appreciate your rainfall stats from all areas and thanks to anyone who’s already sent them in this year, much appreciated. All of it welcome of course (?) particularly for some areas, as the drought orders stay firmly in place, but I sense a lifting of key restrictions in some areas to watering by fixed irrigation, good news if it is true. (anyone got anything in writing for Thames and / or Veolia ?)

Today is the first real warm day since March, as the winds have switched round to the east and are wafting in warm air from the continent. In Germany I hear they’re getting 25°C, good news, if it wasn’t for the fact that the German authorities are looking to implement the European Thematic Strategy for Pesticides and so that means a hold on pesticide applications for the time-being. Quite how the authorities expect you to maintain a disease-free greens surface when you have the tricky combination of moisture, humidity and rapid temperature rise is beyond me (good luck to all of you guys). At some stage, this piece of legislation will manifest itself in the U.K and Ireland in one form or another, let’s just hope that our respective industries have done their lobbying effectively. The main issue is that the fungicide family in the spotlight – the Triazoles or DMI’s (De-methylation inhibitors) are the most effective A.I’s for the control of our most aggressive turf diseases, namely Fusarium and Dollar Spot (Continental Europe). Without them, life get’s very difficult, no matter how good your cultural work is 🙁

General Weather Situation

We start the week off with a nice, bright, warm day courtesy of those warm easterlies. A very necessary, dry interlude after the weekend, Ireland will have a damper start, but all places, except for the extreme south-west of England should be mainly dry for Monday with drying, easterly winds. By late afternoon we’ll have some showers moving into the south-east of England and Munster and pushing northwards through the evening. These will be followed by a heavier front of rain that moves in during the early hours of Tuesday and this wil bring heavier rain for a time to the U.K and Ireland. By Tuesday afternoon it should have cleared the south of both countries. Wednesday is a drier day for all areas, however by early afternoon another tight rain front pushes in from the continent and is projected to affect an area from North London diagonally across to North Wales for most of the afternoon / evening. It’ll feel a bit cooler as the winds change from easterlies to northerlies through Tuesday / Wednesday, so enjoy today while you can :). Thursday sees that rain front pushed back south by the northerly winds and so it’ll mean showers for The Midlands from early doors, and that rain will push into the south by late morning. The same rain front will be located across Ireland stretching from Leinster to North Munster and this will push south through the day. Friday starts off dry, but I expect another front of rain to affect Scotland during the day, falling as snow over the hills. This rain will also push into Northern Ireland and then south later on Friday. The Bank Holiday weekend is a tricky one to predict, the chances are that it will remain cold if the wind stays from the north and I expect heavy rain at some point, most likely Saturday….certainly it’ll start damp on Saturday for most areas, with Sunday only marginally better. :(It certainly seems unfair that we seem to be getting all of the bad weather at the weekend)

Outlook

Next week looks like starting off settled and drier than the weekend, but still on the cool side. By mid-week, a new Atlantic low is set to form and push milder air into the U.K and Ireland on a south-westerly wind flow. As usual with an Atlantic low, they’ll be moisture associated with it, so sunshine and showers is the order of the day for the latter part of next week.

Agronomic Notes

The high level of soil moisture and now a brief spell of warmth will kick a number of processes off for sure. The first is Fusarium – there’s been quite a lot sitting in the background, ever since the moisture arrived in early / mid-April, but I expect it to kick on  with this brief spell of temperature. Hopefully you’re able to grow it out as fast as it comes in, but with low temperatures expected at the weekend, that may be a little tricky.

Seedheads will also move on at a pace I believe with this bit of warmth and even though we may have another cold blip at the weekend, I think we’ll see our main seedhead flush on target for the 1st week of May (as per usual), so if you’re planning cultural Poa seedhead measures, (you know brushing, grooming, etc 🙂 ) I think you’ll be needing them from next week onwards. I appreciate that the annual biotype of Poa has been seeding for quite a while now, particularly on areas like the clean-up strip, however it’s the perennial form that makes up the majority of greens grass composition. Ireland is of course the exception to this discussion about seedheads as they tend to kick in earlier over there.

Nutrition is tricky because the conditions still suit granular applications in the main, however with lifting temperatures, you will see a good response from foliar liquids. The problem is finding the spray days and giving it enough time on the leaf. Looking at this week, your choice is either the start of the week or if not, I’d leave it till after the weekend when the conditions have settled down a bit. I expect outfield areas to be romping away and that will also mean it will be a good time to treat weeds, but again, the issue is spray days and effective applications. On this area, I’d look to next week as the time to apply.

Worm activity will also be a feature with the onset of heavy rain, particularly on higher heights of cut areas.

All the best.

Mark Hunt