Hi All,

Just another short blog this week despite the fact that I’m now back at work after a lovely relaxing break in France and then renovating my back garden, interspersed with plenty of fly fishing 🙂

Unfortunately Unisys Weather have problems with their GFS – long range forecasting output, it hasn’t updated now for 6 days, so I have very little provision to provide an outlook. Add to that my inaccurate weather forecast for The Bank Holiday in the U.K which I called as rain across the north and west (accurate) but unsettled for the south and central U.K (totally inaccurate) when the reality was that we enjoyed perhaps one of our best Bank Holiday’s for a long time weather-wise. My house backs onto a recreation ground and with the brilliant weather it was full of people enjoying the sun and the warm evenings. All generations alike seemed to be out in force and it was a pleasure to see. I can’t think why anyone would want to try and fight their way along our congested roads or through our equally congested airports to get away to the sun when you have it for free on your doorstep, it beats me…..

The reason for the change in weather from forecasted to actual was a shift from a south westerly wind to a southerly one and that pushed a warm air peak up from The Mediterranean and gave use warm, even hot conditions yesterday with my weather station recording 29.1°C at 3.46 p.m. No wonder I was sweating buckets digging out beds full of roots and builders rubble !

The weather is quite odd this week because although we are pretty settled in terms of high and low pressures we will move from a warm air peak to a cooler trough and that’ll peg back the temperatures somewhat from their recent heady highs….You can see the contrast between yesterday’s weather and this coming Friday’s weather below ;

PeakTroughSept17

So one things we can summise from the above is that we will be cooler from today onwards and that’s because of a change in wind direction (correctly predicted last week) from southerly to northerly…

General Weather Situation

So Tuesday starts off with a band of rain across the north west of Scotland and some additional lighter rain across The Humber estuary area along the east coast of the U.K. This is projected to fizzle out through the morning to leave a largely dry day for all of us but with quite a temperature difference between the north and south of the U.K. The south will hold on to that warm air for one more day so I’d expect temperatures to be up to the mid-twenties across the south of England, maybe high teens for The Midlands, Wales and Ireland and low to mid-teens for Scotland under that thicker cloud base. Light winds but variable depending on location from westerly to north westerly.

Wednesday’s forecast is a tricky one because it includes that old cheshnut of continental rainfall and we know how unreliable that is in terms of forecasting 🙁 So we have a risk of potentially heavy rain over night across the south east corner of the U.K and potentially some more showers affecting the south west and south coast through the day. Some of these may even push up towards The Midlands and South Wales. In addition we also have the risk of showers affecting the west coast of Ireland and moving across country during the course of Wednesday afternoon. Similarly we have a risk of showers across the north west and north east of Scotland. As we go through the afternoon there is a risk of that rain returning in heavier form to the far south east of England, but we’ll see. My advice is to keep your eyes pinned and whatever active rain radar system you utilise. Feeling cooler on Wednesday with that northerly airstream in place and this will push that warmer air away from the south coast so feeling a good bit cooler there as well. So mid to high teens will be the order of the day with the former across Ireland and Scotland and the latter across the south of the U.K.

Onto Thursday and a sunshine and showers type of day for the east of Ireland / south west / north west of England with some of those showers pushing across The Pennines and also into West Wales. Elsewhere it’ll be largely dry day with long spells of sunshine and some cloud cover as well, so pleasant I’d call it. Always a risk of a shower across the western coastline of the U.K though. Similar temperatures to Wednesday with mid to high teens the order of the day. Light winds again for Thursday.

Finishing off what will have been a short week for those recipients of the Bank Holiday (Ireland enjoyed theirs earlier in August) and Friday looks settled but potentially a duller day for the east of England as we pick up a change in wind direction to easterly at the end of the week. This always has the potential to bring Haar in from The North Sea so I think a cloudier day for most on Friday, but a dry one with that cloud thicker across eastern and central areas and consequently more chance of a break in the cloud and better temperatures across the west. So we see Ireland pick up some warmer air and that’ll push their temperature up to the high teens maybe breaking into the twenties you never know vs. mid to high teens for areas affected by that cloud cover.  Winds will be light and from the east / north east.

So how are we looking for the weekend ?

There’s a good deal of uncertainty about the weekend’s weather because we have the threat of a rain front pushing in from The Atlantic. Two models state this will reach Ireland on Saturday and push eastwards into Scotland, Wales and The South West / west of England on Sunday. Another model says it won’t come at all. Without my faithful Unisys output I am struggling on this one. My hunch is that we will see that rain front push across into Ireland on Saturday and then into the western half of the U.K on Sunday morning slowly transgressing across country through the day. The wind direction is also set to change through Saturday to a more south westerly orientation but wind strength looks to remain light to moderate.

Weather Outlook

I think next week will start off unsettled with that rain front from the weekend carrying on its eastwards movement through Monday. We have the threat of a low pressure trough system forming on Wednesday next week so that could mean further rain is likely (and perhaps welcome in some parts of the country ?) so potentially wet through from mid-week to the end of the week next week. If Unisys pops up and is running again, I will of course update you.

Agronomic Notes

With me being out of the loop for 2 weeks I can’t rely on end-user feedback and / or my own experiences for this part of the blog so it’ll be brief I’m afraid. Next week we have month end so I’ll be able to look at our accumulated GDD and G.P data to see whether we are continuing the trend for 2017 to be the warmest year ever.

As we approach this time of year I often think it is one of the harder months to gauge turfgrass requirements. For instance this weekend will have dried out rootzones significantly across the areas that received the heat and I noticed my own ryegrass wilting under foot yesterday and in need of irrigation. It’s 10 days here in The Midlands since we had good rain and that’s enough to put grass on the back foot moisture-wise, so that’s the first thing I’d be keeping an eye on.

Next we have the ever-present threat of disease but with humidity levels currently sitting in the 70’s, I don’t expect disease pressure to be high this week. Now if indeed we do run into a more unsettled vein of weather from the weekend (and remember the jury’s out on this) then we will pick up moisture and that’s likely to promote a fresh disease outbreak from the usual suspects of Dollar Spot, Red Thread and Microdochium nivale.

I’ll be interested once I’m back in the flow of things to see how active Anthracnose has been out and about because certainly the conditions in late May and late June favoured activity of this disease in late August. My advice on disease in general really from now on is to keep your disease population pinned down and managed because it is a fact that whatever we have in late August / early September, we will likely carry through to the cooler, muggier month of October, our biggest Microdochium nivale month for sure.

This autumn will be an interesting one from the perspective of disease control because we have some new actives coming onto the market and their performance over the next few months will draw a line in the sand on how effectively we will be able to manage Microdochium as a disease going forward. Certainly by the time I step up at Harrogate to speak to you all on Microdochium and Anthracnose management I will have some good data from my own research combined with end-user feedback on this aspect. I know it isn’t all about fungicides, they are only one piece of the puzzle that is effective disease management but they are currently an essential piece for most of us.

It’ll also be an interesting one from a worm and insect perspective because we will perhaps start to see the effects of successive generations of Leatherjacket and Chafer without the control of an insecticide. That said I see very little Crane Fly on the wing currently. It will also be our first autumn without Cardendazim, last winter I think we got off lightly from a worm perspective because October, December, January and February were drier than normal months.

If your weather forecast starts to pick up that unsettled weather from the weekend onwards and confirms this is how it is shaping up then I’d use some of this week to get prepped. Selective herbicide applications to weeds that have emerged during August will work well this week if we have the moisture to facilitate uptake and knock-down from the early part of next week.

Overseeding weak areas, renovating collars, approaches and weak fairway areas will also be worth a shout this week because the ground is warm and if you can provide moisture and / or Mother Nature obliges then this will put you in a good position to gain ground cover in the autumn rather than the areas become over-run with weeds and / or moss.

Short and sweet this week, (like me arf arf 🙂 ) hopefully we will have Unisys back again next week.

All the best.

Mark Hunt