Hi All,

I hope you all received some rain last week and over the weekend, I know it wasn’t alot for the guys in the East / S.East, but some rain is better than no rain, particularly when it comes on the back of such a dry start to the year. I was out mountain biking yesterday and got soaked on the way home, but I was smiling, because we need the rain and I’m slightly barking.

I’ve attached some weather stats, that I graphed out from March this year, courtesy of Sean Wilson at The Oxfordshire (cheers Sean).

It makes interesting reading, less than 20% of the normal rainfall for the month, 6 growth checks with 6 frosts and a top air temperature of 18°C, crazy man, crazy, what a weather month, but not an easy one growth-wise on greens.

General Weather Situation

At present we’re still in the grip of the Atlantic low and tomorrow (Tue) it’ll make one last attempt to throw some rain around, on the back of some strong westerly / south-westerly winds. Rain showers are already in Kerry, Wales, the North of England and Scotland and some will move eastwards this afternoon on the back of a strong wind.

The next rain front arrives into Ireland around midnight tonight, moving rapidly eastwards and will bring heavy rain to western areas of the U.K early tomorrow, with Wales, the South-West and Northern England, particularly affected. The rain should spread eastwards to all parts of the U.K, but again, the South-East and East of England may be a bit hit and miss, but I think you’ll get some.

I do hope so because after this rain, it’ll turn warm and dry as high pressure takes over, with daytime temperatures rising rapidly by mid-week and I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t hit 20°C on Thursday / Friday, so break out the shorts and the factor 30. Night time temperatures though will be low, with a slight risk of ground frost by the end of the week / start of the weekend.

Outlook

Looking further ahead, the temperatures will moderate from Sunday onwards, maybe to mid-teens daytime, but it’ll be dry with light winds from the East / North-East.
Temperatures will drop a little further as we move into mid-week, next week and gradually the winds will begin to strengthen again from the South-West as another Atlantic low is due to arrive. This could bring rain, but at present it looks like being orientated towards the west, the north and Scotland.

Agronomics

The rain and milder / warm temperatures has triggered our normal Spring Fusarium outbreak, with the back end of last week’s high, night time temperatures and moisture, the main culprits. This will be growing out as fast as it forms at present, but if you do feel the need to apply a fungicide, I’d look to use a root-absorbed systemic like Propiconazole, Tebuconazole or Prochloraz, as opposed to a contact, because the latter will have a very short-lived efficacy. Once the high winds drop from mid-week, they’ll be plenty of opportunity to spray.

I’d also suggest that any early herbicide applications will be at an optimum over the next 7 – 10 days because uptake will be at an optimum

Growth is moving on greens now, so hopefully that’ll mean good recovery from aeration and I expect longer height of cut areas to flush this week with the combination of rainfall and high temperatures. It will settle down later in the week as night temperatures drop back down, but we might as well get it out the way now, rather than over Easter and The Royal Wedding (zzzzz).

Lastly, on a sombre note, I’d like to offer my condolences on the passing away of Ian McMillan, Course Manager, Walton Heath Golf Course, who died of heart attack yesterday at the age of 51. He was a respected member of our profession and he’ll be missed.

All the best.
Mark Hunt