Hi All,

I appreciate many of us have had the first hot, dry week of the summer, but I couldn’t help starting my blog with this picture from the previous week, it kind of sums up the summer so far from a greenkeeping perspective. :). That said, the weekend finished with some heavy rain yesterday, particularly in the south-east accompanied by thunder and lightning. I was sitting under a brolly yesterday evening fishing in the middle of one such deluge and contemplating the likelihood of getting struck by lightning, whilst sitting on a metal chair next to 3 carbon fibre rods, which apparently are excellent conductors of electricity, c’est la vie…if your numbers up and all that…

A frustrated Chris Lewis

Chris Lewis, Course Manager at The Leicestershire cursing the Rain Gods after 25mm fell on his course in one hour on the 19th July.......

After the scorcher that was last week, this week is looking to slip back into the unsettled theme of sunshine and showers that has characterised our late spring and summer. As with previous weeks, the rain has a west and north orientation, so the south and east of the U.K at least will fair better this week from a rainfall and temperatures perspective. On a positive note, there’s no sign of a repeat of the deluges we’ve had of late.

General Weather Situation

Monday starts dry, if a little cool in some places, but clouds will soon bubble up to as a front of rain showers pushes into Ireland, Scotland and the south-west of England during the morning and makes its way eastwards. The further south and east you are, the less chance of rain and that’s the theme of the week really. Tuesday looks to be a potentially wet day for Ireland and for the south-west and Midlands, as rain moves into Devon and Cornwall and tracks diagonally across the country to The Wash. Temperatures will feel a little warmer in the south-west breeze, which strengthens later in the day, as the low pressure asserts itself. Centred off the coast of Connacht, this low will ramp in rain showers, accompanied by strong winds for Wednesday and Thursday, but as mentioned earlier, the extreme south coast of the U.K and the south-east may escape the worst as the rain fronts track diagonally across the country. In other places, amounts will be moderate, so hopefully no repeat of the course flooding / bunker trashing deluges we’ve had of late…Temperatures will be high teens in the rain-affected areas, perhaps breaking into the low twenties in the south-east of England. Looking ahead to the weekend, the low slowly moves away, allowing the wind to drop and temperatures to recover a little, so not too bad at this stage, but not a scorcher.

Outlook

Next week looks to start off a little unsettled as that low slips away, but from mid-week, there’s a strong possibility of a high pressure system moving in to return us to hot, dry weather. so we’ll see.

Agronomic Notes

With the light switch change from heavy rain to high temperatures, alot of things came out of the woodwork. A number of courses reported Waitea Patch – I pronounce it “Wait Here” Patch, but Kate will probably correct me on that as per normal  🙂 . Take-All and Plant Parasitic Nematodes also came to the fore, as the grass plant started to rely on its root system to uptake water in the heat and in the case of these two pathogens, that root system wasn’t functioning as effectively. Fusarium and Red Thread predictably took a back seat as swards dried out, but they’re likely to bubble away in the background in the coming week as moisture returns to many places.

Surfaces did dry out quickly as predicted, but when you take into account that there’s likely to be more fibre in the surface because of lower levels of maintenance this summer and less than optimum microbial activity, this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, fibre heats up quicker than rootzone and our grass plant has been sitting wet for the best part of 3 1/2 months, so its roots are used to high levels of moisture.

If you can, it’s imperative to get that surface working well by integrating topdressing into the fibre layer and providing channels through into the rootzone. Solid tining, sarrell rolling, etc will help this process and encourage new root development. There’s alot of puffy, fat looking leaf out there at present on greens because of the combination of high soil moisture and high temperature and although the temptation is to rip into it with verticuts or groomers, you actually have to treat it more carefully until conditions settled down, else you’ll just end up with bruised turf, particularly on bentgrass. So light aeration, brushing and topdressing are the order of the day in my books for the time-being.

Ok, I’m off to the Cevenne in France this week for a much-needed chill out.

All the best..

Mark Hunt