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Hi All,

What a contrast the weekend was, 14.2mm of rain on Saturday and then lovely sunshine on Sunday. Don’t think I’ve ever been as wet mountain biking on Saturday though but needs must 🙂

This year seems to rush by,  I had to double take this morning at the date when I started typing this blog, must be an age thing or the fact I was still half asleep :).  So we’re already nearly halfway into September and looking back at my forecast in last weeks blog  for this week, I can be happy because it’s pretty much spot on 🙂

General Weather Situation

So starting Monday we have the as forecast high pressure building over the south of England and low pressure sitting off north west Scotland, though a little higher than I thought it would be. So today sees a dry, settled start for a good chunk of the U.K, right up to The Borders, with sunshine breaking through the cloud right from the off. For Ireland we have a band of rain courtesy of that low pressure system affecting the west coast but during the morning it’ll cross the country diagonally and stretching up from south east Munster to Donegal. This same band of rain will be affecting south west and north west Scotland and it’ll push into Central Scotland through the afternoon but the east coast should stay dry. Further south with the sun breaking through, temperatures will rise markedly pushing into the low to mid-twenties in the south east of England. Winds will be southerly and light here but moderate to strong where low pressure meets high across the west and north.

Onto Tuesday and that band of rain stubbornly stays in place across the east coast of Ireland (the west should be dry though) and stretches up to affect most of Scotland as well through the course of Tuesday morning. South of this band of cloud and rain we see a bright, sunny start right from the off and here temperatures will rise very quickly into the mid-high twenties so a really hot day for September. As we go through the morning, some of that westerly rain may just make landfall across the south west of England, West Wales and the north west of England, but amounts should be light. By late afternoon that  rain front has pushed rain and cloud cover across into The Midlands and the western half of the country leaving only the south east of England remaining bright. High teens are likely under that rain but add another 10°C on where you’re under that sunshine. The combination of moist air meeting hot air could trigger some thunderstorms as we go into Tuesday evening.

Wednesday sees that rain front pushing more rain in overnight to most areas of the U.K with the east and south east likely to be the only area to miss it. Across the north of Scotland some of that rain looks potentially very heavy indeed so maybe some flooding here. So Wednesday mornings rush hour looks wet across the south west of England, Wales and north and south west Scotland. Ireland looks to be dry though after the rain earlier in the week. As we progress through Wednesday morning that rain stays solidly in place along the west coastline of the U.K and potentally later into the afternoon some of that rain will push inland into the north of England. Ireland looks to have a very nice day, dry and bright across the west with just some cloud cover affecting central and eastern areas. Scotland is to the contrary though with rain sitting across the west of the country pretty much all of the day I am afraid. A continuing threat of thunderstorms on Wednesday as we have that moist air / hot air interface. Cooler on Wednesday after Tuesday’s dizzie heights in the south of England with low twenties more the norm. Where we have that rain it’ll range from high teens to low twenties. Wind direction will be predominantly south in the south but other areas across the west are likely to be more northerly in nature and hence the cooler temperatures.

Thursday sees a change in the weather as a weak low pressure is set to push cooler air into the south of England and that’ll drop the temperatures markedly. So Thursday looks to be a dull, dull day as a north west wind pushes heavy cloud cover likely to be thick enough to give some mizzle and drizzle into many areas. By late morning that thick bank of cloud is still sitting over the U.K, but Ireland could be bright for a time over Leinster before cloud and rain from the west push in I’m afraid. Things get better for most places by the afternoon though as we begin to brighten up from the west with sunshine breaking through and the cloud cover marginalised to the east coast. I say most places because Scotland looks to pick up some rain late morning and this is set to stay for the remainder of the day I’m afraid. Closing out Thursday we have a lovely evening for many, but it looks like more cloud with rain is set to push into the west of Ireland 🙁 As intimated earlier, a much cooler day under that cloud with temperatures struggling into the mid to high teens even in the south of England with that north west wind in place. Thursday night will see temperatures drop markedly, possibly into single figures in the north of England.

Finishing off the week we have low pressure in the north beginning to ramp up its effect on our weather. So Friday looks to start dry for most of the U.K, certainly up to The Borders, but Ireland is under a thick bank of cloud and they’ll be rain mixed in with it as well. Through the morning we’ll see a band of rain push across Ireland from the west but it is likely to be slow- moving. Further east we look to have a dry, bright and sunny day, but temperatures will be nowhere near where they were at the start of the week with high teens likely. Scotland inherits Ireland’s cloud and drizzle through Friday morning so a dull day here I think with rain pushing into the west as we close out the day.  Ireland seems to keep that band of rain all day so some areas may stay dry but others like the east and north east coast are likely to cop a packet later in the day. Winds will be light to moderate and tending from the south west to west.

Onto the all important weekend and Saturday looks like a day of sunshine and showers as rain pushes across Ireland into the west and moves across country through the course of the day. There will be sunshine in-between these showers though for most areas, however I think Scotland will see a more heavier rain front push in through the course of Saturday morning, as will the north west of England.  Similar temperatures to Friday, high teens so pleasant enough really. Sunday again looks the better day of the weekend to me at this stage of the week after a cool start to the day. More settled, less rain around but plenty of cloud cover so may stay dull for Scotland and the west / north particularly.

Weather Outlook

Ok so how are we looking for next week ?

Wet, wild and windy just about says it all as low pressure is likely to be firmly in command. Monday looks to start off wet for all places with heavy rain fronts pushing across the country on a strong westerly / south westerly wind and this is set to continue on Tuesday. Wednesday may be a little bit of respite for the south of England but it’ll remain unsettled across the west and north I’m afraid. By Thursday we see more sunshine and showers for all areas and we finish the week with low pressure remaining very firmly in charge.

Agronomic Notes

WS0509162

Last week saw some really heavy disease pressure with high day and night time temperatures and high humidity. I took this image of my weather station early last Tuesday morning on a late night return from doing a talk to the BIGGA North West section. Thanks to everyone for their feedback and giving up their evening to hear me whittle on 🙂

As you can see from readout we had close to a 100% saturated atmosphere together with high temperature and that is a breeding ground for disease. Long periods of leaf wetness and heat are ideal conditions for fungal development and so it was the case that just about everything came out of the woodwork last week to put in an appearance. So if you’re thinking you have the worst this or the worst that, that you’ve seen at your facility, don’t worry because it isn’t just your facility I can assure you.

The main diseases that seemed to like this weather were Red Thread on outfield turf, Microdochium nivale on fine turf and Fairy Rings (of any description with lots of fruiting bodies observable)

RedThreadGuttationFluid

Guttation Fluid

The image above was taken at 9.30 a.m last Monday and clearly shows Guttation Fluid on the tips of a  ryegrass stand and you can make out Red Thread mycelium right in the tip of the plant. Guttation fluid typically forms after dew in my experience so when you have removed the dew on an area and you still see water droplets on the tips of the grass leaf, it’s likely to be Guttation Fluid.

We see Guttation Fluid when we have heavy rainfall and water is pushed up and out of the grass plant by soil water pressure. It is pushed out through pores in the leaf tip called Hydathodes and these exist purely to allow the plant to get rid of excess moisture. It isn’t just water in these droplets though, it also contains plant nutrients and sugars and that’s what makes it so attractive to a fungal pathogen with the sugars in particular, a source of readily-available energy. Guttation Fluid definitely aids disease development and as far back as 1968, I found a research paper from the U.S linking it with the development of Dollar Spot.

With Saturday’s heavy rainfall and this weeks warm and dry weather I expect to see a repeat of the high humidity / night time temperatures for the early part of this week (and Guttation Fluid) and this will continue to drive disease development I am afraid.

ETG060916

Etiolated Growth

Plenty of Etiolated Growth about, especially on Poa greens, collars, surrounds and fairways. This picture shows the phenomenon we all know well (with a patch of Dollar Spot in the foreground) and is proving to be a tough nut to crack. I’m doing some work on this area as I intimated a few weeks ago, have plenty of samples thanks and initial findings suggest it doesn’t look like the same casual agent (s) as they have identified in the U.S. When I have something firmer I’ll elaborate. So far I’ve noted Ryegrass and Poa annua species that have been infected.

Autumn Weeds

With the recent rainfall I’ve seen lots of newly-emerging Dandelion and Plantain and this week will provide (for some, not all I appreciate) a chance to get a spray on before we move into more unsettled times. Uptake will be good because of the high soil and air temperatures. I sprayed some weeds last Thursday with a slow-acting set of A.I’s and they were already showing Epinasty by Saturday. (Either that or the leaves were hanging because of the inclement weather !)

Overseeding

With the south of the U.K having their first decent rain over the last two weeks and the ground moisture levels rising, this week presents a decent opportunity to overseed thin areas of fairway, semi-rough, golf green complexes and sports pitches. If time, resource and budget allow, I like to target the areas with a PGR first to hold back the resident grass species and then overseed, topdess and fertilise. There are lots of different views on the best way to overseed, drilling, after hollow coring, etc but crucial with any of them is to achieve seed / soil contact. Drilling works for me provided your organic matter levels in the surface are not excessive, but if they are high and / or compacted, you are often introducing a new seed / seedling into an environment where ultimately it won’t survive longer than a few weeks. So typically you see a great strike and then after that not much evidence of a long-term benefit in terms of new grass species establishment.

Overseeding

New seedling emergence after overseeding following hollow coring…

Hollow coring  an area and hence removing the fibre layer is often very effective because the new seed is able to develop roots into fresh rootzone material and the seedling sits for a time slightly below the cutting height and so is protected. It’s horses for courses I know and the above is just my observation, if you’ve seen different then please drop me a comment.

GDD Comparison

Did an interesting GDD comparison for this spring as part of my talk in the north west of England comparing a location near Preston, Pleasington with Thame down in Central England.

NWCentralGDDComp

If you follow the red lines you can see that the location in the north west of England took till the end of April to reach the same GDD total as the Thame location did by the 2nd of April, putting it 28 days behind. That’s one of the reasons why I think GDD data is useful to us all in this profession as it provides factual rather than subjective data.

Ok that’s it for this week, lots on 🙂

All the best..

Mark Hunt