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Hi All,

Slightly bemused to notice that the Summer Solstice passed by yesterday when I spent Saturday morning fishing in all my winter gear because it was so damp and chilly :), but yes we now begin the slow march to the autumn (a cheery thought). If that leaves you feeling slightly miserable, then I suggest you chill out like this chap I happened across on a lovely Rutland walk yesterday, for him life is truly a boar. arf arf

Boar

An unsettled weekend with a raft of thunderstorms breaking out on Saturday evening providing localised flooding for some areas and yet again we had that combination of warm temperatures and high wind strength. Those thunderstorms ran along the M40, swung right at Birmingham and left via The Wash. (see below)

Lightning210615

General Weather Situation

Speaking of rain we start the week with some areas of intense rain, one is currently skirting along the south coast of England, the others are affecting the north-west of England, The Borders and Central Highlands. Ireland, for a change, looks pretty clear with a hazy start to the week. As we go through the morning into the afternoon those showers will cross the U.K and consolidate along the eastern coastline in a line from the south east to north of Newcastle. West of this rain will be bright, but on the cool side for mid-June with temperatures in the mid to high teens. courtesy of a blustery, north west wind.

Overnight into Tuesday, those showers clear away to leave a cool, clear night, but temperatures should hold up in double figures. So Tuesday looks a much better day with lighter winds lifting the temperature up into the high teens / low twenties depending on where you’re situated. The only potential fly in the ointment is a small, localised area of rain likely in the far north east of Scotland, (around Aberdeen) building in the evening.

Wednesday looks another nice, settled day with another slight hike in the temperatures as the light winds blow in from the west. So a hazy sunny day is on the cards for most areas of the U.K and Ireland. Later in the afternoon there’s a risk of localised rain pushing across Connacht and moving over into north Leinster through the evening. This rain may also affect The Lakes as well, but it looks light and pretty localised. Temperatures will creep up into the low twenties for central southern England and maybe a degree or two lower across the west, but for most a lovely day.

Thursday looks to be a repeat of Wednesday, dry, warm with hazy sunshine and light westerly / south-westerly winds. By the afternoon there’s a risk of showers breaking out along the west coast of Scotland and pushing inland through the evening, but very much orientated across the west side of Scotland. Probably the warmest day of the week on Thursday as temperatures sit in the low twenties for most areas, nice.

Closing out the week we have a more unsettled picture as rain pushes into west Scotland and the south west of Ireland early doors, moving diagonally across the country during the morning. So much more in the way of cloud cover on Friday, particularly for the north of England, Ireland and Scotland. That cloud will bring drizzle and rain into the western coastline of the U.K by Friday lunchtime and will move eastwards across the U.K during the afternoon /evening. At this stage it looks like light rain in the south, heavier in the west and north. After a murky old day, it should brighten up across Ireland for the end of the week during the late afternoon / evening.

Now how does the all important weekend look ? Will I be sitting there in my waterproofs straining to catch a sight of Valentino Rossi at Goodwood ?

Very much a north and west split to the weather for this coming weekend with an area of low pressure set to skirt across the U.K and Ireland through Saturday / Sunday. So Saturday currently looks good (this could change depending on the path of that low pressure system) until about 2p.m ish when the rain reaches Connacht and tracks north and west into Scotland by Saturday evening. Overnight that rain clobbers most of Ireland and pushes into the north west of England, The Borders and Central Scotland during Sunday morning. By the evening it should clear all areas. Temperature-wise, it’ll obviously be cooler with that rain, I think mid to high teens depending on where you’re located. For the south of England it should be a little warmer, but a dull weekend is on the cards. Winds will be strong and from the west in the north, closer to the heart of the low pressure system, whereas down south they’ll be light.

Weather Outlook

Well, unsettled is the order of the day for next week as we have that area of low pressure moving slowly away, however a new one if projected to form off the south west coast of the U.K by Tuesday and that looks to bring more rain and cool weather from mid-week onwards. So a north-south split to start next week, windy and cool with rain across Ireland, the north-west of England and Scotland. Warmer and dry in the south with a little sunshine and milder temperatures to start the week. this isn’t set to last long though as that new low will push in rain, potentially heavy in the west again from Tuesday and Wednesday. At this point its path is to come in across Ireland and sweep across the U.K, but because it’s quite a southerly-orientated low pressure that may mean rain for some of the drier areas. Once this low pressure has moved through I think things will settle down again, so a calmer, warmer end to next week may be on the cards.

Agronomic Notes

Nitrogen in the rain continued…

Rainbow290315Had a great link sent to me by Barry Pace, (cheers Barry!!) which I’d never seen mention of anywhere in all my weather trawling work. It’s on the DEFRA website and shows the nutrient content (They call it Pollutant, we call it Nutrient !!!!) of rainfall as well as the pH throughout the year at a set location. It’s fascinating and next week if I get the time I’m going to graph some of the data for all to see. You can look at it here

 

 

By heck it’s a windy year….

Following on from my notes last week concerning the effect of our ever-present wind and E.T loss, I got some more great data on yesterday’s weather and how significant the combined effect of wind and temperature is on moisture loss from our turf surfaces.

ETJune212015

You’ll note from the graph there’s a pronounced drop off in E.T from 18.00 hours and that was due to the arrival of cloud cover and a significant reduction in the wind strength. You can see this more clearly below where I have graphed solar radiation (the higher the figure, the stronger the direct sunlight) vs. E.T.

srJune212015

So what does all this mean for our turf ?

Simple really, it’s just an illustration of how much stress our surfaces are under in terms of moisture loss once temperatures begin to rise and in what appears to be a ‘windy year’ so to speak. As we reach mid-June, the potential for higher temperatures and high E.T loss increases and this is linked to many aspects of turfgrass maintenance.

Plant Stress and Pathogens – They go hand in hand sometimes…

The most important for me is pathogen management, particularly Anthracnose because last year we had a high E.T end of June and a very high E.T July and that was the beginning of Anthracnose, although no visible symptoms were present. It is a very slow-growing fungus compared to something like Microdochium and quietly works away in the background infecting your turf without any visible symptoms and then Volia ! , you start to see the familiar basal yellowing and black Acervuli. By then it is too late to stop it, the disease has been through its whole cycle and is already producing spores for the next time around. So how do we prevent it ?

Well some years we don’t see a lot of Anthracnose and that’s because I think temperatures aren’t high enough to 1) Initiate Spore Germination and 2) Stress the grass plant on a prolonged basis.

Last year was a bad year for sure and the last before that was I think 2006 ?

If you had Anthracnose in 2015 then key to preventing it becoming an issue again is balanced, consistent nutrition, don’t let the plant get weak. Moisture management is key as well because over-watering will provide great conditions for Basal Rot and under-watering will provide great conditions for stress and Foliar Blight. They are the same disease, but where they infect the grass plant and the casual factors are different. That’s why I’m highlighting E.T loss because it’s deceptive sometimes when you don’t think it’s been hot enough to cause plant stress but the combination of wind and temperature is enough to cause issues. Look at the top graph above, the maximum daytime temperature didn’t exceed 20°C, but because it was a windy day, we still lost 4.3mm odd of moisture from the turf canopy.

It isn’t just a matter of replacing a % of it either because when its windy we have poor irrigation coverage, particularly if its windy at night and as someone just remarked to me “If I rely on my irrigation, the low areas of my surfaces get wetter and it doesn’t apply enough to wet up the dry areas consistently”. Of course that’s where hand-watering comes into its own but for that you need labour and resource and in these tight times, that may be lacking 🙁

So getting back to Anthracnose, I’d be looking to maintain plant health, suppress stress and don’t be foolish in chasing a low N figure when another 5kg of N per hectare applied a couple of times through July and August may be the difference between a nice, consistent sward or one where you’re staring at Anthracnose scars right through from August to October. You can follow a ‘belt & braces’ approach and apply a preventative fungicide and for me I like to do this 1 month before I saw any visible Anthracnose the previous year, so. So for example, if it appeared in early August last year, I’d be applying in early July. Active ingredient-wise, you should be looking at Propiconazole and / or Azoxystrobin as the systemic and in the case of the former, the combination with Chlorothalonil and Fludioxonil is I believe the strongest weapon in your armoury. (Bet you’re smiling now Dan)

It’s a great time for seeding !

IMG_4526

This is a picture of perennial ryegrass sown 12 days ago, it was up in 5 days and the seed wasn’t pre-treated or anything special in that respect. So if you’re looking to overseed and can manage irrigation on the areas in question, then now is a good time to do it, particularly since we seem set in a weather pattern of warm days, then some cooler, wetter and unsettled conditions. One area that often gets overlooked is greens complexes. Sometimes these have poor cover with clumpy, coarse grass species and to me they’re prime candidates for treatment. I like to use a high rate of TE to hold back the incumbent grass species, romp down the cutting height (to remove leaf tissue and clear the area) and then either hollow core and overseed (often the best way because you’re removing a potential physical barrier to root development in the newly-applied seed) or drill seed. Wherever you may be thinking of over-seeding, it’s good to go if you have the resources and soil conditions to facilitate it.

Ok that’s all for this week, just 3 more blogs before my summer sabatical when I’ll be heading off to trek and fish in north-east Alaska, 350 miles from the nearest habitation and where there’s no WIFI or Cellphone network…..In one word….Bliss.

Have a good week.

Mark Hunt