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Hi All,

As we pass the longest day it seems the year is just flying by and now the days jetstream230614are going to be getting shorter, kind of sad really because you think summer has only just started and we’re heading into autumn / winter….

Still at least the weather is playing ball, (unlike the England football team…my money’s on Costa Rica to cause an upset 🙂 ) sunshine and heat-wise for most of us, so we can’t complain, even though the > 7-day forecasting isn’t, because of this split jet stream scenario…You can see how fragmented it is from the image right….

Although the jet-stream is still lying low, because of its lack of strength, no dominant weather systems have swung into the apparent void, so we haven’t had a repeat of the wet summer of 2012, yet…., instead we have a hotch-potch of weak systems controlling our weather, most of them high pressure-related so that means dry and warm for most. This week will be cooler in general though because of the wind direction dragging more cloud cover off The North Sea.

There are indications that it may change later on next week with the arrival of a low pressure from the north-west and if it does so that’ll mean rain and wind. That said there is a chance of rain this week, but yes you guessed it, it’s mostly continental rain, so totally unreliable to forecast…

General Weather Forecast

Ok Monday looks to be starting off dry, warm and settled for most of us, later on in the morning there’s a risk of showers breaking out along the east coast of the U.K and down to The Midlands, but these will be scattered in nature. (Bit like me really :))

Over Scotland we have a weak weather front carrying over from Sunday bringing rain showers and cooler temperatures than of late, but these will die out as we go into the evening. Ireland looks to have a grand day 🙂 Winds will be light, from the north-west and temperatures in the low twenties in the Costa Del Sud of England, mid-teens for Scotland under that rain and cloud…

For Tuesday, it’s a similar picture but that weak rain front is set to bring some scattered showers over Ireland and the U.K, principally along the east coast but they could push inland during the day. The wind is set to swing round to the north-east, but they’ll still be light and moderate for most, perhaps a tad windier over Scotland. This will also peg back the temperatures a little, high teens the order of the day for most, this will be a theme for the week, cooler than last for sure.

For mid-week, we have a dry picture for the U.K, but for Ireland there’s a rain front stuck over it for the day. At present, it’s projected to affect central Leinster / Munster in a line drawn up from Kerry to Dublin with the west escaping the worst of the rainfall. Later on into the evening and overnight into Thursday this rain consolidates over Ireland to affect most areas. Elsewhere it’ll be another dry, hazy day with warm(ish) temperatures and light north-easterly winds.  Scotland will remain under the influence of that weak low pressure system, so cooler here under that cloud.

By Thursday we have a consolidated rain front over Ireland and there’s a chance it may drift eastwards to affect Welsh coasts through the morning, but for the U.K, it’ll be another dry, hazy day with light easterly winds and more cloud cover, courtesy of some ‘Haar’ coming off the North Sea. Haar means cooler as well for the U.K, mid to high teens under that cloud cover. As we round out the day, that rain over Ireland will become localised to the north / Donegal.

For the end of the week we still have that rain front sitting over Ireland and not going anywhere fast, that’s a consequence of a non-existent jet stream, once you have a weather system over you, it doesn’t move anywhere quickly….Friday (into Saturday) represents the highest probability of rainfall for the south of England and The Midlands courtesy of continental rainfall, so you may see some rain during the day down there, but as it’s from the continent, you know the craic by now…unreliable and hard to forecast….It’ll be cooler as well because the wind swings round to the north-east and drags more cloud cover off The North Sea.

Next weekend looks to be a bit mixed because of the risk of rain from the continent, but that may easily change sitting here at my desk on a Monday and typing this. At this stage we have rain affecting the south of England early doors on Saturday and possibly eastern coastal areas up to The Wash but no further. West and north of this rain threat it looks dry, but dull and cool because of that Haar effect. So if you’re off for an early summer break on the east coast, it won’t be anything to shout about…If you have a choice, head west 🙂 Sunday looks better though, still cool with that northerly wind, but brighter so temperatures should lift into the high teens I’d hope.

Weather Outlook

So how are we looking slightly longer-term, any chance of the weather picture changing ?

Yes I think there is, but if it does it won’t be till the latter part of next week. Longer-term (10-day) projections are showing a strengthening of the jet stream and this should move weather systems in from the west if it does come to pass…..So for the start of next week we look to have more of the same, settled weather, dull with a risk of continental rainfall cropping up, especially for the south of England. If and it’s a big ‘IF’ the weather does change as predicted, you’ll see a swing round in the wind direction from mid-week onwards to a more north-westerly aspect and this will increase in intensity as we close out next week to bring stronger winds and rain for many by the end of next week / weekend…We’ll know if this change is due to take place this time next week….

Agronomic Notes

Ok, things are pretty settled at the moment out there save for some plant stress from the  temperatures and lack of rain over the last couple of weeks. Nothing major and with cooler weather this week and some well-placed hand watering, I’d expect areas to tick over nicely.

Nutrition-wise most of you will be into your regular foliar applications of nutrient, PGR and the like and I see no reason to change this agronomically from a weather perspective..

Disease-wise we’re into the summer disease spectrum now, and top of the list will be Fairy Rings because of the warmth and humidity of late.

Out walking at the weekend, two things struck me, firstly that I’ve never seen so much grass in the fields and verges as I have this year and farmers Hay crops will certainly be impressive. This is of course due to combination of the very wet May we endured and then the heat over the last 2-3 weeks. Outfield areas are just starting to go under drought stress now due to a lack of moisture (in most areas, Scotland excepted) and so that means the growth surge is past and it’s just a case of keeping things neat until the rain arrives. Hopefully you’ll have got these regulated before this period so the plant is able to conserve moisture and nutrient and stay healthier, longer into a dry period.

Fairy Ring mycelium covering roots and sand particles

Fairy Ring mycelium on Poa roots..(White Codwebs).

The second thing that struck me was the amount of Mushrooms and other fungi around in the hedgerows and this brings me onto Fairy Rings. Perhaps the least-damaging of our turf diseases (unless you have thatch collapse that is) but it still has the potential to take grass cover if the area is left to dry out and / or ammonia builds up under the turf canopy. Superficials in my experience are the worst for this because they come in very quickly….Now we’ve covered Fairy Rings before in terms of treatment, but I’ll go over it again briefly anyway, however before I do, it’s worth noting that their presence is telling us something. Now it may be on parts of a green or on certain greens in particular, but it normally indicates fibre build-up, not always, but most times, so it’s worth noting where it occurs (on a green) and on which greens because these will need more direct management from an aeration perspective in order to keep O.M in chechydrophobicityk.

If you are going to treat Fairy Rings, then the best way (IMHO) is to take a core out of the ring, lay it on its side, drop some water along the profile and look to see if an area ‘beads up’ the water droplets (see image right) This may indicate localised hydrophobicity courtesy of the presence of the fungal pathogen. This is key because in order to gain effective treatment, you first need to ascertain the depth that the pathogen is at work. If it’s in the surface of the profile then mixing Azoxystrobin with a wetting agent (to disperse the A.I uniformly through the surface fibre) will work well, with application followed by just enough irrigation to get the product mixture off the leaf and into the surface. If the depth of activity is deeper down the profile, then before treatment it’s a good idea to micro-solid tine at close spacings to a point just above the activity zone before you apply your mix of wetter and Azoxystrobin. (This assumes of course that the tankmix is compatible chemically, physically and biologically) You’ll also need more water to get the product down the profile into the zone of activity.

In my experience you’ll see the ring gradually disperse over time, it tends to happen faster the shallower the fungus is present, so Superficials clear up quicker than the more verdant green, Type II’s….Kate Entwistle has a little Fairy Ring ditty on her website, you can read it here

Longer-term you have to look at the cause of Fairy Ring and treat that, rather than the symptom and that means good organic matter management and topdressing to open up the surface of the profile to air and water movement.

I get a good deal of negative feedback from end-users about topdressing, not least in terms of the fact that their golf clubs view it as a negative and try to discourage the practice. It’s difficult to explain to a club secretary / Director of golf / General Manager, delete where applicable, why these types of management practices are so vital, because a lot of the time aeration and topdressing is designed to head off trouble before it occurs by efficient management of surface organic matter. So the heirachy will look at the turf and say “I can’t see an issue, we’re not getting complaints, if you aerate and / or topdress, we get complaints by the golfer and have to discount our societies / corporates accordingly”….Now I know some of you are / have managed to get round this within your clubs and for sure some of it comes from good communication but also what helps a lot is having somebody in charge that understands why these things are necessary. Of course if they’re not done, it’ll come back to bite you with softer greens, poorer drainage, poorer rooting, increased disease presence, etc..and sometimes not until this occurs will the message finally sink home, but of course by then it’s too late and requires a lot of remedial work to put right….frustrating and demotivating it is if you’re in that scenario…

So if anyone wants to share what they do / have done to get over this mental log jam, drop a comment or an email to me and I’ll share it with the masses…

That’s all for now…

All the best…

Mark Hunt