Hi All,

General Weather Situation

We continue the weather pattern that has characterised February so far, with a succession of Atlantic low pressure systems bringing wind and rain, followed by a colder, drier lull, before the next low approaches. These lows are extremely deep, sometimes 2,000 miles across and are carrying cold air originating from the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S and responsible there for heavy snow.

By the time they reach here, they are milder and bring rain. Again we shouldn’t complain as normally these last two weeks are the coldest of the year and often we’re under snow.  Will we get through February without snow cover ?, who knows, but I’d say we may well do, judging by the projected Jet Stream pattern.

Regional Specifics

For Monday, we have some blustery, wintry showers affecting the North of the U.K and Scotland, whilst in many areas it’s a clear, dry day with bright sunshine and a touch of air / ground frost.

A new weather front bringing rain is heading our way and due to reach the S.West of Ireland and the U.K late afternoon.

These showers, often wintry at times will move north and eastward through Monday, affecting the whole of the U.K on Tuesday and will fall as snow on higher ground and in Scotland. Temperatures will be cooler than last week, with mid to high single figures during the day and zero or close to it at night, with ground frost if skies clear.

The rain clears the majority of the U.K by Wednesday and thereafter it’ll be largely dry, with cool / cold nights and an increasing risk of ground frost.

Ireland will hang onto a band of showers on Wednesday in the south and east moving up through Cork and along the Wexford, Wicklow coast, so Dublin will be wet.

Cold air will be in charge at the end of the week and this means any new rain front coming in may initially fall as snow as it meets it.

Another band of rain moves into Ireland on Friday morning and this is likely to fall as wintry showers over higher elevation and particularly when it reaches in the south-west of England and Wales on Friday evening.

Cold air will predominate over the weekend for the majority of the U.K, but particularly in the east, so frosts are likely over the weekend.

Next Weekend and Outlook

This is a tricky one because we have a strong Atlantic low pushing up against a ridge of high pressure over the continent and it’s a battle to see which one dominates.

Unisys has the Atlantic low prevailing early next week pushing milder air through from Monday and if this is the case, we can expect to be mild / very mild by mid-week next week.

Agronomics

Well not much to report from the U.K because I was in Orlando last week, but much to report from there.

I attended two full-day seminars on Monday and Tuesday, one on cool-season disease management which had some very interesting new data on Anthracnose with respect to cultural and nutrition practices. The other was on aerification and irrigation management and given by two Superintendents from Maryland and Virginia.

These guys were graduates, extremely intense and managed top class facilities with budgets to match.

As professional as they were, I still couldn’t help feeling that common sense was missing to a large degree and that they, like alot of American Supers are currently chasing their tail. What I mean by that is they fertilise heavily, then growth regulate to keep up greens speed and then aerate heavily to remove the thatch they have created with the high N input. When I say heavily, one of guys was aerating with 0.512 inch I.D hollow cores (see what I mean about intense) twice over and removing over 20% of his greens surface in total !!, little wonder that he had to fertilise heavily to get recovery !!

Both chaps were applying fungicide on a weekly basis ( The chemical companies stands at the show are very big 🙂  and spraying wetting agent, PGR and fertiliser every Monday and Friday in 800 litres of water. When asked if that didn’t wash most of the foliar-acting Primo off the leaf, they admitted it did, but they just put in extra to compensate, ah… the appliance of science.

Before you go away with the view point that all U.S Superintendents are like that, they’re not, many are starting to question this practice and applying sensible amounts of N, though chemical use is much more widespread with many clubs zero tolerance policy to fairway disease.

One U.K-based point to make, last year over the first two weeks of February, our soil temperature averaged around 2.5°C, this year it’s been closer to 7.5°C, so we’ve enjoyed a nice growth spell and this has provided good recovery from winter disease.
If next weeks temperatures do occur, we could have another flush of growth and possibly some heightened disease activity on the Fusarium front.

The best spray window this week is Wed / Thur for the  U.K, but chances are few and far between in Ireland due to the lingering showers on Wednesday and Thursday.

All the best.
Mark Hunt