Hi All,

A late blog this week courtesy of the vagueries of French Wifi, one minute it’s here, the next it’s en vacance, like me 🙂 I’m sitting typing this at 10 p.m., in my shirt sleeves, listening to the Nightjars churring on the hillside above me, simply magic. And because the Wifi keeps crashing, I’m finishing it with the smell of freshly-baked Croissants wafting up to my nostrils!

So the weather is breaking down a bit earlier than I predicted as thunderstorms have began to form over the U.K and Ireland on Monday and the pattern is set to continue through Tuesday, the last of the very hot days, as the temperature is due to drop down 5-6°C, as we go through the week.

The key is a change in the wind direction to westerly and that will push moist air in off the Atlantic across Ireland and the U.K throughout this week, but particularly on Tuesday when a proper rain front pushes across Ireland and the UK during the day, sparking off thunderstorms as it butts up against the humid air from the continent.

General Weather Situation

So for Tuesday we have rain pushing into south-west Munster by late morning and at the same time a band of rain / thunderstorms kicks off over the eastern / central side of the U.K. around early afternoon and this pretty much sets the scene for the day. Further west looks like staying dry, as does the east coast of Ireland, but you may just see some showers here as well. For Wednesday, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s a little cooler, down to early / mid-twenties, rather than high twenties. That rain may still be lingering over the east coast of the U.K, but elsewhere itll be a muggy morning till the sun breaks through. By late morning, a new band of rain pushes into east Munster and heads up the very dry coast of eastern Ireland towards east Leinster, marking the first rain they’ve seen for a good while. The rain becomes more widespread as we go through the day, pushing west across central and southern England and also following the same pattern across Ireland, becoming more widespread as the day progresses.

Thursday sees a bit of a role reversal, with the rain starting off in the west of Ireland, far north of England and later into the morning / early afternoon, Scotland. As the day progresses, that rain pushes east into The Midlands, pushed along on a south / south-west wind, the key to the change in weather. Temperatures will still be holding up fair and decent, low twenties now and much more bearable at night. Friday looks a dry start for most parts, but by late morning rain pushes into the east coast of Ireland moving west as it does to affect all parts. At the same time, showers are triggered off on the west coast, principally over central / northern Wales. The area that looks like missing the vast majority of this rain is the south east, particularly Kent, which is a shame because it’s one of the driest and therefore most rain-deprived areas.

At this stage the weekend looks pretty good, temperatures in the low twenties, more cloud cover, and thick enough to give rain in south-west Munster by late morning, pushing eastwards across Ireland as it goes. The south of the U.K looks like staying dry, but rain is set fair for the north of England from late morning and there may be a chance of some light rain over the south-eastern corner of the U.K later in the morning. The wind will have shifted to the south / south-east and will be light / moderate in nature. For Sunday, we have a scattering of showers across the south-eastern part of the U.K, later in the day and a risk of more rain for Munster in the afternoon, but overall not a bad day and temperatures still on the warm side of average, but not stiffling, as of late.

 Weather Outlook

The jet-stream will have moved lower through this week, but don’t panic, it’s by no means down in the ‘bad times’ position i.e. over southern France / northern Spain, the position that gave us a wash out summer last year. That means we won’t entirely lose the heat, but it will have slipped down low enough to allow a more westerly airstream as predicted last week. This means the chance of more moisture pushing through next week is quite high and I’d pick Wednesday and Thursday as potentially the wettest days of next week, particularly for Ireland on the Wednesday. The heat will be much like the latter part of this week, low twenties / high teens, so a little down, and of course more unsettled. I’ve got a feeling it may return though for the start of August, so let’s wait and see…

Agronomic Notes

The key area of course is the effect of the prolonged heatwave that we’ve experienced over the last 2/12 weeks and in particular the requirement for irrigation.

Working on a basis of replacing 50% of E.T, we can see that we would have needed to apply just over 33mm of water by irrigation over the last 14 days or so. On a daily basis, that’s just over 2.2mm.

If you look at the last day’s data, July 21st, you can see that the E.T rate dropped to 2.6mm and that’s the effect of a lower air temperature (24°C vs. 29°C) and more cloud cover. So if the weather does pan out as expected and we lose those higher temperatures / gain more cloud cover, the E.T rate should drop accordingly (though a lot depends on the strength of the wind during that period as well).

Irrigation system coverage

A good task whilst we can still see the effects of this mini-heatwave is to go out on your golf course / sports area and assess just how well your irrigation system has been working. So photograph / detail / measure any areas of poor coverage caused by incorrect rotation sprinklers, not enough sprinklers covering a given area or poorly sited ones. Pictures tell a thousand works as they say, so nothing better to drop in front of management at a later date when you’re trying to justify expenditure on putting the job right. Normally this is not until early winter and any thoughts / memories of a heatwave are long gone, so a picture comes in very handy 🙂

 Disease Pressure

If the weather does pan out as expected, we can unfortunately expect an increase in disease pressure and the following are the most likely list of candidates:

  1. Anthracnose Foliar Blight
  2. Dollar Spot
  3. Fairy Rings
  4. Waitea Patch
  5. Fusarium

Anthracnose Foliar Blight is, as I understand it, the same form of the disease that causes basal rot, but it just manifests in a different way due to a different set of climatic conditions. (Kate please correct me here If I’ve got this wrong!). Research has consistently shown that a weekly input of 5kg N/Ha is as effective at treating / preventing this disease, than an application of an expensive fungicide, based on Axozystrobin or Propiconazole, for example AND it’s alot cheaper! *EDIT* Thanks to Kate Entwistle for this link about Anthracnose and its control.

So if you’re applying nutrient to greens on a fortnightly basis, you should be looking at inputting 10kg N/Hectare to keep things ticking along nicely. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the greens will bounce back from this weather on their own, because they won’t. They’ll need a little bit of nitrogen to produce amino acids, proteins and therefore the building blocks of growth and recovery.

On the subject of nutrient, I’d still be playing things cautiously until the grass is well on its way to recovering, so that’s safe forms of liquid fertiliser, light use of iron (chelated preferably) and still maximising biostimulant usage to help the recovery process on.

Make a point of checking the stressed areas once the rain arrives to look for disease, because it’s invariably here that it will first rear its head. The clean up strip is another good indicator area.

Bit of a short blog this week, my apologies, but Cafe au lait and Croissants beckons…. 🙂

All the best..

Mark Hunt