So today marks the Summer Solstice would you believe (!), the longest day of the year when the sun rises at 4.45 a.m. (not that most of you can see the sun at the moment) and it sets at 10.45 p.m. tonight. I hope by then you may see this and the full moon as well as skies clear later. It has though been another topsy-turvy week weather-wise with torrential rain in places at the end of last week.
I was sitting in a meeting last Thursday and as I often do I was staring out of the window at the weather rather than paying attention to my erstwhile colleagues (Apologies Andy and Mark but I know you’re used to this now) when I snapped these Funnel Clouds forming over Rutland Water (behind tree line) These are so so close to forming a water spout.
We also saw Tornado Spouts form in different locations across The Midlands, Essex and the north of England. Of course these clouds were accompanied by torrential rain with 42mm in 2 hours recorded in Oxfordshire with notably the centre of Birmingham flooded.
June is turning out for many to be a very wet month and the reason is our old friend the jet stream which continues to periodically form into a trough into which cooler, wetter, low pressure weather systems sink. When we have trough pattern formation, the other (unwelcome) feature is that these weather systems do not move through quickly across the U.K and Ireland so tend to circulate and dump their rainfall consistently on an area hence the increased potentially for high daily rainfall totals. And as I look out of my office window it is raining very hard again (sigh)
So how are we looking this week me old fruity pies ?
General Weather Situation
So Monday sees us still suffering the influence of that low pressure system with a bank of cloud and rain swirling over the U.K and Ireland. (see above) Currently the rain is affecting south west and central Scotland, the north of England with the heaviest rain down through The Midlands into Southern England. Ireland looks to have a grey start but without the rain and here you’ll probably see some hazy sunshine develop through the morning. Across the U.K that rain pretty much stays in situ through till the late afternoon with the heaviest fronts across the south east and east of England. Scotland will start to brighten up slowly in the east as will the north of England but rain will still hang on across the south west of Scotland through till late afternoon. By early evening we should see a much better picture for most places with the sun breaking through and the rain dissipating from most places except across Connacht, the north and west of Scotland. Temperatures will be warm though after a muggy and humid night touching 20°C in the south and west of England, Ireland. Scotland though is closer to that low pressure so mid -high teens is the order of the day here. Winds will be light to moderate and from the west.
For Tuesday we have a much better weather picture you’ll be pleased to hear with hazy sunshine from the off for most places and that’s the way it looks to stay for most of the day. There will be a weak weather front in place across the north and west so this may bring showers to Connact and Donegal through the late morning / afternoon and also across the west and north of Scotland. By close of play that rain may intensify across these areas to give a wet finish for the day. Elsewhere it will remain dry with hazy sunshine and temperatures similar to Monday, maybe even hitting the early twenties in the south of England. Winds will again be light to moderate and from the west.
For Wednesday we are back to rain with another rain front pushing in from the west early doors crossing Ireland overnight to leave Leinster as the only area affected first thing. That rain will be into the west and central areas of England, Wales and Scotland by the morning rush hour and it’ll slowly push eastwards through the morning. By the afternoon it’ll clear most of England to leave some sunshine but also thick cloud further south, whereas Ireland will have an afternoon of sunshine and showers. Scotland unfortunately gets the messy end of the stick with that rain consolidating by the evening rush hour. As we go through Wednesday evening though it will begin to clear away to leave a pleasant end to the day for most places albeit with showers still a threat. Similar temperatures and wind direction to earlier in the week possibly more south westerly in places.
Thursday looks a tricky one to predict because we have continental rainfall set to play a role and at this stage it is projected to move across south eastern and central England overnight into and through the early hours. Some of this rain may be thundery in nature and heavy causing flooding. At this stage it is projected to reach into the south Midlands as well but expect that to change. Elsewhere we have a pretty dry picture for the start of Thursday with hazy sunshine in places but it won’t stay that way for long with rain pushing into the west of Ireland by late morning. There may also be some further rain around for south west and central Scotland. This rain pushes across Ireland through the late morning and afternoon and then into Scotland for the afternoon/ evening. For England and Wales we have a largely dry day, save for that continental rainfall making an appearance and we should see some pleasant sunshine as well allowing temperatures to lift into the low twenties. It’ll be cooler though for Ireland and Scotland as the wind remains light to moderate from the west.
Closing out the week we have another day of sunshine and showers on the cards, more so for the west and north as rain crosses Ireland and Scotland through Friday morning and pushes into the west coast of the U.K into the north of England and west / north of Scotland . There will be some sunshine around as well though in-between the showers of rain. By Friday afternoon we will still have rain in place across the west and north of England / Scotland and West Wales. By the evening the rain may have cleared the west of Ireland but it’ll still be affecting central and eastern Ireland I am afraid to give you a soggy end to Friday. Elsewhere there may be some sunshine around across central areas but plenty of showers as well more so across west coasts but also the east of England.
Onto the weekend then…
That unwelcome low pressure is slowly drifting off to our north east through the course of the weekend so that means theoretically the weather should improve from the west first. Unfortunately we have that tricky-to-predict continental rainfall likely to make an appearance across the south of England during Saturdayafternoon but at this stage the where and when is impossible to say. For most of the U.K and Ireland Saturday looks largely dry first thing, a little cooler though because the wind has shifted round to the north west so maybe mid to high teens more likely. I do think we are likely to see some rain though as we progress through Saturday afternoon with the north and west likely to catch it I’m afraid. Sunday could potentially be the better day with the wind back round to the south west for some and north west for others (south of England). Either way we should see temperatures back up there in the high teens with more in the way of sunshine. Tricky this one and best to look at your weather info closer to the time because I expect the weekends forecast to vary as we go through the week.
Last week I predicted that we should have better weather in the south because of the arrival of high pressure but the dipping jet stream put paid to that theory. So how is next week looking potentially ?
So next week we have a re-run of this week with high pressure trying to push into the picture and probably succeeding for the start of the week so more settled and dry Monday / Tuesday. That’s the good news but I’m afraid a new low is set to sink into a forming trough and pull unsettled, wetter weather down into the west and north through Wednesday and this will eventually affect all areas from Thursday onwards to give an unsettled end to the week. Time to change yet we hope 🙁
You don’t need me to put some nice graphs up on my blog to tell you that this month is proving a real challenge from a golf maintenance (and business I should imagine) perspective. You can see from the graphs though that the G.P has been sitting close to optimum since the early part of June and you can also see when the trough pattern in the jet stream kicked in through last week culminating in those extreme rainfall events last Thursday.
So maintaining good consistent cuts on outfield turf and golf courses alike is tricky at present though I’m hoping that tomorrow will at least give things a chance to start drying out, though whether you are able to cut is another matter.
Last week I gave a somewhat grim prognosis that the combination of humidity, rainfall and temperature forecast was likely to kick off any number of diseases and this has indeed been the case.
Lots of reports of Microdochium nivale activity along with very aggressive Red Thread to boot. Moisture-loving diseases like Waitea have also made an appearance (apparent from photos but not yet confirmed by diagnosis)
To show total impartiality from an E.U referendum perspective I have included two coins to scale this lovely patch of Red Thread 🙂
So this turf was fertilised with 21kg of low temperature-available, quick release nitrogen less than ten days ago but rather than discourage Red Thread as the disease books would have you believe “Red Thread is a disease of low fertility…blah, blah” I have noticed more. Now this isn’t because of the fertiliser application but more so because we’ve had that combination of a wet leaf (sometimes through day and night), high humidity and rainfall of course. Fungi that like to develop on the surface of the grass plant leaf are I think real lovers of high humdity conditions and therefore a wet leaf.
Now it’s very early to make an Anthracnose call I hear you say but let’s think about this one.
Firstly, we know that it is a disease that thrives on plant stress (due to high temperatures) and also likes a wet thatch layer. Now Scotland has actually had the better rub of the green so far this year in terms of prolonged sunny, hot conditions and dry weather. Ok that’s over now for the time-being but cast your mind back to 2014 when we had a hot July than a wet, cool August and towards the end of that month we started to see the first signs of what turned out to be a very aggressive Anthracnose period. With Scotland having warm, dry conditions and now a cool and wet period, it is just possible that Anthracnose may make an early summer appearance up there.
Down here we’ve had the opposite though but again that may lead itself to promoting Anthracnose activity not because of summer stress but because of prolonged wetness at the base of Poa annua causing Basal Rot to develop.
Now we know that Anthracnose is one of those diseases that once you see it you’re too late I’m afraid so you need to take preventative action whether it be fungicidal or cultural. (or both)
If you’re thinking of spraying a fungicide for other turf diseases present at the moment, it’s worth checking to see if it also has activity on Anthracnose because you might as well try to get as many bangs for your buck as you can. Normally I go early July for Anthracnose prevention but this year may end up being earlier this year because of the way the weather has mapped out.
Now ok this is just a line of thought, I’m not one to go reaching for the Chemsafe every time we see disease but the problem is with this disease that by the time you see it you are too late anyway. Despite everything that you may read or be told, there is simply no curative fungicide for this disease. Spraying after you see it will just ring fence your current outbreak with infected plants continuing to apparently show new symptoms after spraying. Anthracnose is a real slow mover of a plant pathogen, it just quietly goes about its business but there are things we can do culturally to keep it at bay. Maintaining good, consistent nutrition is one of them and researchers agree that this can sometimes be as effective as a preventative fungicide application. To update yourself here’s some really good links you can download on Best Management Practices and the disease in general (1) / (2)
I’d love to also state that keeping your surface free-draining with good surface organic matter control and topdressing practices will also play its part but after another 10mm of rain whilst I’ve been typing this blog I find it difficult to do so knowing you guys are probably sitting with wet, saturated surfaces through no fault of your own.
All the best.