After the east-west divide in last week’s weather, we have a more traditional north-south one coming up this week. One big change you’ve probably already noticed is the significant drop in air temperature at night, we were 4°C last night with a grass frost, whereas on Friday night we were 16°C all night, with 91% humidity, a reminder that autumn is just around the corner for sure. I was mountain biking last night and I could feel the chill nipping at my bare legs, so the days of shorts may be numbered 🙂 That said we haven’t too bad a week coming up for the south of the U.K, but the north and north-west will see much more cloud cover and some rain as well. Last week saw rain pushing up into the south of England, torrential in nature at times, so when you hear me refer to the fact that areas are dry, that’s because it didn’t get much further north than London, so above it we’re still bone dry 🙁
General Weather Situation
Ok so how are we fixed this week ?
Monday looks like starting off cold, with a grass frost for many and hazy sunshine after early morning mist. So not a bad day once the sun breaks through with temperatures pushing up to the mid to high teens in that sunshine. Later in the day we will see the first of a series of rain fronts push into the north west of Ireland and Scotland, but it will make little progress inland initially.
For Tuesday those rain fronts are sinking south across both countries diagonally (/) so we will have rain across Ireland and Scotland, pushing into the north and west of England through Tuesday accompanied by light to moderate westerly winds. Further south it’ll be a very similar day to Monday, with a cool, misty start and then the sun breaking through later in the morning. Overnight that rain reaches North Wales and the north of England pushing more eastwards as it does so, so maybe some rain for Lincolnshire early on Wed morning. That initial rain front is closely followed by another, more heavier one that is set to reach the north-west of Scotland and Ireland on Tuesday night and this will push into most of Scotland overnight into Wednesday, but make limited progress across Ireland.
Moving onto Wednesday, we have a largely dry day on the cards once the rain has cleared the north of England and Scotland. So dry, but cloudy and with a noticeably stronger westerly wind as well making it feel slightly on the nippy side, though the cloud cover will lift night time temperatures. Later on Wednesday night, a new rain front pushes into the north-west of Scotland and Ireland.
For Thursday we have this rain front pushing south-east across Ireland and Scotland into the north-west of England and the projection is that it’ll affect mainly the west coastline of the U.K and Ireland through Thursday though there’s a chance it’ll get further south so possibly into Wales and the south-west of England (northern coastline probably). Further south, a duller day, but with a milder night, Thursday may be the warmest day of the week and temperatures may hit 20°C across The Midlands and south of England.
Closing out the week, we have a dull perhaps wet start for many as that rain front has moved south and east to affect the south of the U.K. Behind it, the weather brightens up, so a much nicer day for Scotland once the rain and low cloud has cleared during the late morning. This sets the scene for the rest of the U.K and Ireland, a dull start but with the sun breaking through late in the morning.
The weekend looks like being a continuation of that north-south divide with Scotland looking dull with some rain showers and temperatures in the low to mid-teens for The Ryder Cup weekend, let’s hope it changes through the week. Further south and for Ireland, not a bad Saturday at least with lighter, westerly winds and hazy sunshine. Temperatures down in the low to mid-teens after a cool start to the day. Sunday looks like being a duller day, particularly over Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the north-west of England as cloud cover builds during the day, but it should be dry.
Next week will see a battle royal between a very strong low pressure, the remnant of a Tropical Cyclone pushing in during the early part of the week. This will mean strong winds and rain, but it all depends on where the boundary line is drawn between this low and the Azores high pressure that’s been giving us such a beautiful Indian Summer (in the south and west). My guess is that the west and north will receive the bulk of any rainfall and the south will stay drier. So next week looks like starting off quiet, but by Tuesday those winds will ramp up and rain will push into Ireland,Scotland and the north west of the U.K. This rain may sink south for mid-week but at this stage it’s looking like the south will miss most of any rain (again) If this is the case I predict The Midlands will have the driest September on record.
A lot to talk about today, but slightly complicated by the fact that I’m off to Sweden early tomorrow to do a talk to The Swedish Greenkeeper Federation and I haven’t finished it yet. I must look up on Google translator the Swedish for “I’m really sorry but I haven’t finished my talk” 🙁
Ryder Cup Weather Link
Firstly, if anyone reading this is travelling up to The Ryder Cup this week, maybe as part of the volunteer network, you can click onto the Weathercheck logo on the right and it’ll give you a weather forecast including rain radar which might come in handy. May I take this opportunity to wish everyone involved in the forthcoming event all the best for the coming week and it’ll be one of the few times for sure that I’m Pro-Europe 🙂
At the start of last week I received a flurry of calls about Anthracnose and initially I was taken aback because most of the calls were from golf courses which had suffered from Anthracnose and carried out remedial work including on some of them, fungicide applications. But yet I was still getting feedback that the disease was getting worse after initially looking better, so what was going on, what was driving the resurgence of Anthracnose ?
I managed to get out and look at one of the affected courses and took some samples of both affected and un-affected plants, the results surprised me.
In the affected areas, the leaf foliage, crown and base of the plants showed the characteristic, black Acervuli – the spore-producing structures of Anthracnose on the base of the plant, some with Septae (spike like structures see below) This is what I expected to see as we know it’s been with us since the cool, wet conditions of August.
My surprise came when I looked at unaffected, apparently healthy plants in the sward, taken from areas of close proximity to the Anthracnose patches. I found the green leaf tissue and crowns of the healthy plants heavily infected with the same Acervuli, (below)
So this means that although outwardly healthy, they were highly likely to develop the disease and therefore explained why the disease would initially have looked to have run its course, but then flared up again, but why when all the correct cultural, and in some cases, pesticidal boxes had been ticked ??
September’s lack of rain and high temperatures = extremely low soil moisture status for this time of year = Plant Stress = Anthracnose Foliar Blight
As the above statement intimates, the driver for this resurgence in Anthracnose was low soil moisture status, areas drying out, creating plant stress and then playing into the hands of what we all know is a stress-related disease – Anthracnose Foliar Blight.
Moisture management in September is in my mind very akin to moisture management in April, that is to say that we usually have good levels of soil moisture in the profile, but the Indian Summer weather patterns have conspired to dry out the surface of the profile, so if no rainfall and / or irrigation is forthcoming, the surface dries out.
The key word here is surface because we know the upper reaches of the profile contain higher levels of organic matter, by virtue of the fact that this is the area where dead or decaying plant roots are concentrated. Roots are naturally hydrophobic, they have to be, in order to transport water up to the leaf and shoots, so surface organic matter is naturally hydrophobic as a consequence.
What we have seen over the last few weeks is surfaces drying out, but not always showing the charactersitic wilting of grass because E.T rates have been lower than the summer. So it’s been deceptive in its nature and that’s caught people out, particularly over the weekend before last. Light syringing, hand-watering has been a must and ideally targeted on the back of information from a moisture meter.
I have to say when people started running around with moisture meters I thought it was a bit faddy, a bit of a gimmick, but using one this year I’m convinced that they are in fact very useful diagnostic tools, particularly when it comes to determining irrigation efficacy. Indeed most people that use them come back to me and say they use far less water than they used to because they are more in control of their soil moisture status. So if you’re paying for your mains water, you could potentially save the cost of a moisture meter by using it.
The other area where they come into their own is in relation to the incidence of disease and correlating disease outbreaks with soil moisture levels.
For instance if an area sits wet by virtue of receiving too much irrigation / uneven hand watering, it is highly likely that this area will develop Anthracnose Basal Rot if conditions are conducive for it to do so. On the flipside, if soil moisture levels have been allowed to get too low, then the plant goes under stress and we have the potential for Anthracnose Foliar Blight to develop, amongst others. So it’s highly likely that you’ll see both on a golf green and their distribution is very much linked to excessive and insufficient soil moisture levels.
Other Disease Issues – Microdochium nivale – Current Disease Pressure
Now this really depends on which part of the country you’re situated in because rainfall is the driver here in my mind. So for the south of England, the west, north, Scotland and Ireland I’m guessing that you’re already starting to see aggressive M.nivale pressure and have been for a few weeks now. The cooler weather and rain will trigger off this pathogen and with colder nights, the grass plant’s growth rate will decline so the potential for the disease to damage down to the crown and cause scarring is much higher.
Last week Headland Amenity presented at the S.T.R.I Research Event and I for one found it very useful. We were showing some plots of treated and untreated fine turf (pesticide vs. non-pesticide) and the areas had been misted to create higher disease pressure. The results in the untreated areas were clear to see…
So if you already have disease pressure I’d be looking to mix a contact and a systemic together because with the cooler nights of late and forecast at least for the early parts of this week, uptake of a systemic fungicide alone will be too slow. It follows that there’s a high probability that M.nivale will develop into your sward before the systemic fungicide is taken up in sufficient quantities to be fungiostatic. (Slow the growth of the pathogen)
If you’re clean at the moment, then a systemic should do the trick but I’d be wary because you have to remember that you cannot visually identify Microdochium on your grass plant until it is well advanced in its development, so what might appear healthy now, may soon go downhill. Personally I’d go for a half-rate contact, like Iprodione mixed in with my systemic and I’d look to apply this week because next week may be too windy for any applications, particularly the further west and north you are.
Nutrition and PGR’s
Again this is highly dependent on soil moisture levels, but on fine turf I’d be looking to just tick things along with light-rate foliar applications, importantly making the switch to low temperature N sources now the night temperatures are dropping. Personally and it is just my own viewpoint, I’d have stopped applying a PGR to fine turf a month ago and certainly don’t see the benefit in continuing application late into the autumn.
On coarser turf areas now’s a good chance to build up grass cover for the forthcoming winter season of play, so light rate granulars and or foliars are both good weapons of choice, but again it depends on where you are in the country as to which one will work best.
Ok that’s me for now, now where is that Google Translator into Swedish, let’s see “I’m sorry but I accidentally flushed my memory stick down the gents and now have no talk to present”……or maybe “I’m afraid my pet Hedgehog ate my talk” , doesn’t sound good does it ? 🙁
Have a good week