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Hi All,

“Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness” wrote Keats in his ‘Ode to Autumn’ and that is exactly what we’re going to get with a lovely Indian Summer, September week on the cards for all areas. So that means nice warm days, cool nights with the temperature dropping sharply as soon as the sun sinks behind the horizon and heavy morning dew.

Hummingbird

On a nature note – keep your eyes peeled for these guys particularly if you have Buddleia nearby, around your site or at home because they’re fascinating insects. They look and move like a Hummingbird and in fact that’s there name – The Humming-bird Hawk-Moth. They’re feeding up before migrating down to Africa for the winter and if you see one you can report it on the Butterfly Conservation website here.

General Weather Situation

So with high pressure finally pushing the low out to the continent over the course of the weekend we have a very stable weather picture in place for the coming week.

So for Monday we have a day of hazy sunshine with the only variable being temperature depending on whether you get good breaks in the cloud cover or not. Looking at the weather maps, the east / south-east corner of England may be favourite on this count but as I sit here in the heart of The Midlands, there isn’t a cloud in the sky 🙂 Temperature-wise for all areas of the U.K and Ireland, we should be looking at mid to high teens, perhaps tipping 20°C if you get a spell of prolonged sunshine. Night time temperatures though will be a different matter with the familiar sharp drop as soon as the sun’s warmth sinks behind the skyline, so expect 8-10°C as the norm. Winds will be variable, northerly in nature, but light to moderate for the early part of the week.

Tuesday follows a very similar pattern with hazy sunshine and dry for everyone (Don’t say that very often do I?) The south of England, but also the west, Wales and Ireland should see more in the way of sunshine on Tuesday, particularly in the afternoon, so here expect temperatures up in the high teens, possibly touching 20°C. Eastern coasts look to be a little cooler because the wind swings round to this direction and that will mean more in the way of cloud cover (Haar) and therefore slightly lower temperatures, expect mid-teens here.

Onto Wednesday (I wish all week’s were this easy to forecast :)) and another lovely autumn day with perhaps only a risk of some mizzly, drizzle across the north east of England in the morning blotting the landscape. Again we’ll have hazy sunshine and broken cloud but some nicer spells in the afternoon once that cloud cover burns off are likely, more so in the west. Still that west / east divide apparent with the wind coming in off the North Sea so slightly cooler across eastern and central regions with more in the way of cloud cover.

For Thursday we have a rain front projected to just nip at the toes of the Irish Teddy bear so that means south west Munster may just see some rain overnight into Thursday, but at this stage it looks to be confined to the coast. Elsewhere another cracking autumn day, such a shame that we all have to work when the weather is this nice. With the wind swinging round to the south east pushing cloud cover away from early doors, Thursday looks to be the day with the longest duration of sunshine and consequently the warmest for many with temperatures into the 20’s down south I think. A slightly windier day on Thursday as we have the opposite to last week that is an Atlantic low trying to push into Ireland and being kept at bay by a continental high pressure system.

For Friday that Atlantic low pressure system is still just off the coast of Ireland, but it’ll only need that high pressure to weaken slightly and it’ll be in to the west like a shot. So some rain again for the west coast of Ireland on Friday, but moving east into Wales, the south west of England, in fact all areas of the England, Wales and Scotland look to enjoy another day of long spells of sunshine and good temperatures. Again it’ll be breezy with the wind coming in from the south east so not a cold wind by any means.

The outlook for the weekend is a tricky one to predict because we have low pressure systems ganging up to the west and one of these is projected to slip south under the rim of the dominant high pressure system and this may put a spanner in the works for Sunday / the start of next week. So I think Saturday looks ok, dry on the whole except again for the west of Ireland and possibly the south west of England. Maybe more in the way of cloud cover later on Sunday, but not bad for the weekend really. Changes are afoot though as that low pressure sinks below the south coast of England and this looks to swing rain into the southern half of the U.K for Sunday. Now as usual there’s some disagreement on when this rain will arrive, I think we may get through the weekend dry, but not much further than that 🙁

Weather Outlook

As hinted above this high pressure is not set to last as we get assaulted by two low pressure systems over the course of next week. The first sitting below the U.K will add moisture to the south east air stream and that will manifest itself as rain for the start of next week. Some models say Sunday, some Monday, I think the latter.

I also think this low will form a trough in the jet stream into which a northerly low pressure will sit later on next week. So some detail. We can expect rain for the south of England possibly Monday next week and then as go into Tuesday we see rain into the north west and west joining up with the southerly rain front to give potentially heavy rain on Tuesday. We may then get a brief hiatus in terms of rainfall before that Atlantic low gains strength and whips the wind round to the south west and pushes rain into all areas for the later part of next week, possibly from Thursday onwards.

Agronomic Notes

Before August slips totally away from your memory I managed to get some more weather data through just after I published last week’s blog (Cheers lads) so I thought it may be worth looking at. Firstly I graphed out the GDD data from 4 locations but split them into pairs (see below)

GDDCompAug2015

Interestingly what this shows is that during August the south west and north of England were very similar in terms of day and night temperature, as were the central and south coast locations. This is because any low pressure systems tend to affect the west and north during August, whilst the central and southern half of the U.K tends to come under the effect of continental weather systems, hence the similarity in temperature.

RainfallCompAug2015

Any similarity in temperature between locations doesn’t extend to rainfall patterns because it’s the two locations where the respective rain fronts reach first that bear the brunt of the rainfall. So Long Ashton picks up the south westerly rainfall first and Bournemouth picks up the continental rainfall first before the systems move inland. So by the time they reach central and north eastern locations, there’s a lot less rain left to fall.

Agronomic Significance – Microdochium Management

Rather than this just being a nice exercise in the graphical representation of weather data, there is an agronomic relevance to it in terms of disease management.

On all sites you can see that the GDD graph showed a significant increase from the 20th to the 23rd August as temperatures and humidity increased. This was then followed by a pronounced drop-off in temperature as rainfall arrived and fell from the 23rd to the 26th August.

This combination has resulted in significant amounts of disease in the sward for the beginning of September which is earlier than we would like because we know that our main disease pressure period really starts at the beginning of October and extends into the middle of November. That said for Ireland and Scotland I think the situation is markedly different with an earlier start to the disease pressure cycle in August, so maybe we’re beginning to see the start of a double peak in disease, one in August and the other one from the end of September to Mid-November.

Our disease pressure pattern is starting to look like this from a Microdochium perspective ;

DiseasePressure2015

So we have a situation now where we’ve carried over a significant disease population from August (assuming you haven’t treated already that is) and although we have drier weather now in situ the question is should we treat or try and grow it out ?

I think it’s all to easy to reach for an effective fungicide to do the job now and knock it on the head. In the cold light of day however September is a very busy golf month, revenue levels and therefore golfer and management expectations are high and if untreated it’s likely that we’ll carry this M.nivale population forward into October so as soon as the weather turns it’ll become active again.

Looking ahead weather-wise, I don’t think we’ll make it to October before the weather turns and therefore on balance I’d treat now to try and reduce the population to a point when it’ll be less aggressive come October’s mild and muggy nights when you can seemingly smell the disease in the air.  I would suggest either a systemic or a contact mixed in with some foliar nutrient to ensure good uptake and to encourage the grass plant to actively grow away from the disease. (Of course you must ensure that all components are compatible first) The systemic should be from the DMI / Triazole family as these are more effective against M.nivale in general and show very little resistance potential at least from the research work that I’ve carried out so far.

redthread

On outfield turf we can see a lot of Red Thread activity out there because of the weather combination that kicked it off at the end of August. Now we have warm days and heavy dews it will continue to be an issue because the period of leaf wetness is getting longer with the shorter days and longer nights, though as the sward dries out it’ll lessen in intensity. Obviously we don’t normally treat Red Thread from a pesticide perspective with many people choosing to grow it out or at least try to do so, but this year it’s been extremely aggressive on Rye and Fescue turfs.

Using this weeks weather to your advantage

So we have a nice dry week across pretty much all of the U.K and Ireland and I think it’s a great time to get some of those jobs done that really need doing (if you have the resources and budget of course)

After the heat in July and dry year until we got to August, there’s been a resurgence in weed growth particularly in areas that have thinned out over the course of late spring and summer. So this week is a good time to get out and hit those areas with a selective herbicide.

With dry weather this week and rain on the horizon next, it’s a good time to work tired areas like tees, approaches, fairways and winter season pitches, get an overseed in if you can and drop a granular fertiliser into the mix. Use the temperature while we still have it for recovery before we lose the day length.

Areas on fine turf that may have thinned through disease activity, now is a good time to do some localised aeration, overseed, topdress and fertilise to try and get these areas back before the winter.

Moss – Now is a good time to treat Silver Moss that may have populated your sward after July’s heat and August’s rain. With minimal turf stress and settled conditions, it’s a good time to apply, but make sure the moss is wetted up before you do so and of course follow the manufacturers label recommendations.

Weather Stations – What’s working for you ?

Davis

I had a query last week regarding weather stations and what I would recommend and since I know a number of the people that read this blog have their own weather stations I thought I’d open the question out to you.

So who is happy with their Weather Station, it’s reliability and the support you get from the supplier ? On the other foot, who isn’t happy with theirs and why ? You can either post a comment to this blog or email me directly on mark.hunt@headlandamenity.com

Any comments / feedback gratefully received.

All the best.

Mark Hunt