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Hi All,

Well another World Cup is over. Personally I love a good World Cup FiWorldCupnal, everybody is so fixated on the telly at home that the roads are deserted, so I always make a point of using the opportunity to have a nice flat out blat 🙂 On a serious note congratulations to Germany, well deserved I think…..

Weather-wise, we’ve been a bit topsy-turvy, with an east-west divide along the A1 / M11 sort of orientation, with some unforecasted rainfall popping up from the continent on Saturday night, we knew the rain might come, but it was the amount…we collected 13.5mm overnight into Sunday and another 4mm during Sunday morning….

The coming week is going to give us more of the same, not for the first part of the week, but the second, as we’re set to have some pretty high temperatures and then moisture mATDLightningoving up from the continent so that means a high likelihood of thunderstorms at the end of this week and possibly into the weekend…If you have an event on this weekend at your facility remember you can use the UK – Lightning Detector (I think it works for Ireland as well) as a guide to see where the storms are occurring and if they’re coming your way. You can access the page directly on Netweather’s site here

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So how are we looking this week ?

For Monday we have a dry start for most except western Ireland where a band of rain is pushing in during the morning and set to move across the whole country and into Scotland by lunchtime. By early evening it should clear Ireland but by then it’ll be in to the north-west of England and Wales pushing inland during late evening on a brisk westerly wind. Temperatures will be high teens in the rain and low twenties out of it. (Midlands south)

By Tuesday that rain will have fizzled out for everywhere except the far north-west of Scotland to give a bright start with hazy sunshine and a moderate westerly wind. Temperatures will be high teens in the west / low twenties in the east and south and a lovely day really. By late evening a pulse of rain is due to afffect Connacht 🙁

Overnight into Wednesday that rain front will bring showers across Ireland though more orientated along the west coast. By the morning that rain will also be into the Western Isles of Scotland, so a wet day there in prospect. South of this it looks like being another lovely day, but there’s a subtle change on the way as the temperature will begin to climb, tipping into the mid-twenties for the south of England on Wednesday afternoon.

By Thursday you’ll note that the wind will have swung round to the south and that’s the precursor for three things, higher temperatures, continental rainfall and thunderstorms for the end of the week / weekend. So we have a southerly wind and the prospect of continental rain (again, how many times have I written that this year ??) with showers over central and western Scotland popping up late morning co-inciding with a pusle of rain pushing up from The Bay of Biscay into south-west England during the morning and heading northward and eastwards through the 2nd part of Thursday. You know the drill by now, look at the weather closer to Thursday and the radar images to see where it’s coming from and heading to….

So we have rain, some of it potentially heavy moving up from France early doors on Friday, now at present the heaviest rain is expected to make landfall east of the Isle of Wight and then head up the east coast of the U.K (probably along the M11 / A1 !) . They’ll also be some lighter showers for Ireland and the west coast of the U.K, but the west will miss most of the worst rain (again). By lunchtime that rain should be up into The Midlands and north of England clearing the south to leave bright skies and high temperatures. The afternoon will also see rain into the north-west of Ireland and this may move south and east through the afternoon on Friday to affect most of Ireland. (though the east coast may miss it) Later on Friday night that rain is into Scotland, but amounts shouldn’t be too heavy. The wind will also be blustery, sometimes from the south, sometimes from the east, depending on where you’re situated.

Temperatures will be bloody warm into the high twenties in the south of England, possibly touching 30°C for the first time this year and with high humidity, so it’ll feel right close like.

With the combination of moisture and high temperature I think Friday night may mean thunderstorms, which is great because I love looking at lightning at night, it’s kind of surreal isn’t it ? (or maybe I’m kind of strange ?…no comments please…)

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So how are we looking for the weekend ?

Well, we look to be unsettled for Saturday at least with rain pushing into south-west Ireland early doors and the south of England not long after. This rain will push northwards getting heavier as it does so and possibly accompanied by thunder and lightning. Scotland should stay dry till late afternoon before the rain reaches there as well. It’ll still feel very warm, humid with temperatures remaining in the mid to high twenties over the southern part of the U.K. Sunday looks to carry that rainfall over, but it should be the drier, brighter of the two days with the biggest threat of rain along the eastern coastline of the U.K, though the south-east may pick up some rain later on Sunday.

Weather Outlook

Well it looks like continuing warm, though perhaps not quite as warm as the end of this week, so more like low twenties, temperature-wise and with high pressure in charge we should be set fair and dry till the end of next week when there’s a possibility of a low pressure swinging down to bring a fresher feel to the weather and a more unsettled theme to round out July. (maybe)

Agronomic Notes

Looking at the upcoming combination of temperature, rainfall and humidity, it’s likely to bring some of the more rarer turf diseases out to play, namely Oscillatoria, Brown Patch and Dollar Spot, so be on your guard. We will also see another surge in Fairy Ring activity, more on that below.

I appreciate it won’t affect the whole country, but where it does it’s worth mentioning that turf tends to become quite ‘puffy’ during these kind of conditions and so it’s critical not to go into it with too much nitrogen in the leaf and / or moisture in the rootzone. I’d be looking for low N inputs at the moment, 5-6kg/N/Ha and using slow release N sources as well because they won’t release quickly. A fast growing plant will require more moisture from the rootzone, but when the air is very warm and saturated, it is unable to lose it to the atmosphere, so it effectively cooks. A bit like us not being able to sweat as well in high temp / high humidity conditions.

PGR’s definitely help if the plant is regulated prior to the onset of the conditions, I wouldn’t for example go whapping around with high rates of TE at the end of this week. Keep the rootzone moist but not over-watering and use hand-watering (if time and labour are available) to keep on top of those dry patches.

TE and application rate / frequency during the summer

I mentioned this earlier in the year but some of the work coming out of the States suggests that TE is less effective when applied in the summer because the TE molecule is broken down faster in the plant duirng periods of high temperature. For this reason I’d suggest shortening the frequency of application rather than increasing the application rate to achieve regulation of the grass plant during the summer months, but only if you are experiencing warm conditions and less efficacy than usual with your PGR applications…

Fairy Rings and Moisture levels….

Type1FairyRingMoistureMeter

Sampling a Type 1 Fairy Ring showing stressed turf in centre of patch

Last week, I had the pleasure of taking a works experience lad, James Kier, out for the day for him to experience ‘agronomy on grass’, (Hope you’ve recovered James !!! 🙂 ), so I put him to work looking at Fairy Rings using a moisture meter and we got some really interesting results…

The greens we were looking at had both Type 1 and Type 2 Fairy Rings present. Type 1 Fairy Rings show stimulated turf and also hydrophobicity, whereas Type 2 Fairy Rings just show the stimulated area of turf. Not on all the greens mind, just a couple out of the 18 that had higher organic matter levels in the surface..

FairyRings

Type 1 Fairy Rings and Moisture Content

So James and I sampled the stressed area in the centre of a type 1 Fairy Ring, the stimulated area on the ring itself and then compared them with an unaffected area immediately adjacent to the Fairy Ring. The samples were taken using a Delta-T moisture meter which measures moisture at 60mm depth. (and that is key as you’ll note later). The results are shown in the image below ;

HydrophobicType1FairyRingMoistureLevels

As you can see from the results, the stressed area of the grass is running at extremely low moisture levels caused by the hydrophobicity imparted to the sand / organic matter by the mycelium of Type 1 Fairy Ring fungal species.
The stimulated area of turf on the outside of the ring has much higher moisture levels, typically + 50% to +100% more than the centre, but it is still lower than an unaffected area which suggests that the fungal activity in the stimulated area is causing some hydrophobicity, but not to the same degree as in the centre of the Fairy Ring.

HydrophobicFairyRingCore

We took a core from the centre of the ring to determine at what depth the Fairy Ring mycelium where active and found that mycelium were visible in the top 10mm of the core and that this region was hydrophobic. Now if you remember the moisture meter was sampling at 60mm depth, so it looks like the activity of the fungus in the surface is preventing water ingression further down the profile. This will obviously have a bearing on plant stress because the activity of the fungus in the surface is actually affecting moisture levels deeper in the profile, so the plant will be experiencing moisture stress on all of its rooting depth.

Type 2 Fairy Rings and Moisture Content

We repeated the same exercise on the Type 2 Fairy Rings present and found that the centre of these rings were not hydrophobic, nor were the stimulated area of the ring either.

HydrophobicType2FairyRingMoistureLevels

The question in my mind is whether a Type 2 Fairy Ring has the potential to develop into a Type 1 and hence become problematic ? , anyone seen this happen ?

Management of Type 1 Fairy Rings

As we already now treatment of Fairy Rings is difficult, but the above work has shown that the biggest issue appears to be the very low moisture levels that occur inside the ring itself and so to my mind it’s here that the efforts should be focussed in terms of using a wetting agent to combat the hydrophobicity and then hand watering to move moisture from the surface down the profile. I also think micro-tining, Sarrell Rolling, etc would all be beneficial in conjunction with the above.

The findings also re-iterate the fact that just applying a fungicide like Azoxystrobin to the affected area is not going to be effective and I think you need to apply the wetting agent first, neutralise the hydrophobicity and get moisture moving down the profile by hand watering before you go with a fungicide.

It turned out to be an interesting day out indeed 🙂

Enjoy the weeks weather, all the best..

Mark Hunt