Hi All,

General Weather Situation

Last weekend’s predicted rain arrived, much to everyone’s relief, I’m aware some areas got more than others, with parts of the South-East only getting 7-8mm and other areas, like here in the Midlands of England, we got 26mm. I got up at 4 a.m on Saturday morning to watch its progress on the Headland Weathercheck Meteoblue radar such was my anticipation (sad I know), but it was spot on time, with the main front arriving on Saturday night / Sunday morning.

We’re now into a more unsettled spell of weather with sunshine and showers the order of the day for at least the next week or so as the low pressure that brought this rain gets stuck (no jet stream to move it on) over the U.K and pushes in cooler and wetter weather for all. The wind direction will change from the warm southerly air stream to first westerly and then the North-West / North direction from mid / late week and that’s what will peg those temperatures down.

Regional Specifics and Outlook

Starting off today, we have a bunch of rain showers already into Kerry, Claire and Sligo on the west coast of Ireland and these will track west across Northern England and Scotland later in the day with a narrower line of showers also affecting the South-West and Midlands of England this evening.

Tomorrow sees another band of rain showers affecting Scotland and the South of England and as the wind direction changes to a more northerly airflow, this will push showers down from Scotland on Thursday into the rest of England, but probably only reaching as far south as the Midlands by close of play.

As the north winds strengthen, the rain showers will become more widespread, with plenty of heavy showers moving south from the start of Friday, affecting all of the U.K and Ireland. Temperatures will be alot cooler than of late, so expect 12-15°C daytime and if the skies clear, they’ll dip to 4-6°C by the end of the week during the night.

The weekend looks at present like being cool and soggy, with a concentrated rain front affecting all areas of the U.K and Ireland on Saturday and the same for Sunday, with only the morning looking dry.

Looking further ahead, this low pressure is well and truly stuck over the U.K, so I expect the pattern of cooler and showery weather to continue into and for all of next week, with winds strengthening from the west mid-week next week, pulling both day and night time temperatures up.

Agronomics

The advent of moisture has already initiated a growth flush on outfield areas with the warm temperatures of Sunday and Monday contributing to this.

This growth flush will slow down as day and night temperatures drop, so it should be manageable from mid-week onwards.

Along with the growth, there’s a good amount of Fusarium about, but hopefully the rate of growth will be enough to prevent this causing sward damage and scarring at this stage of the year. I’d also expect Fairy Rings to show themselves from this week onwards as the moisture and temperature kicks off fungal growth.

Turf looks washed out at present as the plant begins slowly to come out of drought stress and of course, Poa continues to seed dramatically.

With the flush of growth and the arrival of natural moisture, the turf looks puffy in appearance as the leaf fills itself with water, but this will settle down as the plant stabilises this week. Personally I wouldn’t be hacking into it with verticutters with any depth on, just level grooming to tidy up the sward and take out those seedheads and light topdressings to maintain surface integrity. This pale appearance won’t be helped by the cooler weather later in the week but in essence it’s a good thing because E.T levels will drop, plant stress levels likewise and growth will tick on nicely, without being out of control on outfield areas. Let’s also bless the fact that the rain didn’t arrive during the 4-3-4 day week of late.

For those of you who have already applied PGR’s, I’d suggest basing your next application time from when the moisture arrived, i.e last weekend, rather than when you actually applied the PGR because precious little will have happened prior to the weekend as growth and therefore uptake was at a standstill.

As you know I’m not a fan of full rate PGR use on greens till we get to the end of this month and you can see why when we have weather like this in May.

Iron will be a very useful tool over the next 10 days for all areas to maintain colour and this spell of unsettled weather will also suit granular fertiliser applications.

Any foliar or liquid tonics on greens should be using cool temperature nitrogen forms in the main, so sulphate of ammonia, potassium nitrate, etc, but on longer, outfield areas, I’d be happy using urea-based products no problem, but tankmixed with iron as this will provide the colour while the nitrogen is being converted.

That said, it’s a tricky time to spray at the moment with the blustery winds and rain showers so the spray window will be tight for many.

So it’s all change, April showers in May, but personally I think this month is England’s best, everything looks so fresh, the Hawthorn and Keck is out in all its grandeur and last night when I was mountain biking you could almost feel the handbrake on growth being let off all around you, enjoy.

All the best.
Mark Hunt