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  • Writer's pictureMark Hunt

May 2nd, 2023

Hi All,

A short blog this week as I have to look after a rellie.

So we are now into May and enjoying some better temperatures. I have always thought that May is a bit of a yo-yo month in terms of day and night temperature. Ordinarily our night temperatures don't settle until the end of the month, we are then fixed that way till the end of August. Next week I'll be looking back at April in detail from around the U.K & Ireland but we know it was more of a once typical, weather dynamic with sunshine and showers. That dynamic looks to continue into May.

As promised I got a look at The Bluebells on The Hambleton Peninsular at Rutland Water and they are pretty much bang on the money flowering-wise vs. 2022, maybe a little behind, but not much. That fits in with my GDD analysis last week.

They are such a beautiful plant and the smell from a Bluebell wood is delightful. Have you ever stopped though and looked at the flower close-up ?

I took the Bluebell picture using a free app called 'Magnifying Glass with Light' which allows you to illuminate and magnify a particular subject on your phone. Quite useful for turf pictures as well. You can see where the 'Bell' in Bluebells comes from. The screenshot above of my favourite coffee mug shows the app detail with a 5x magnification and adjustable illumination possible as well when taking a picture.

So onto the weather for a summary of this week and next.

General Weather Situation - w/c 02-05-23

So we still have a low lying jet stream and that means 2 things - Firstly, cooler air can move down from the north or across from the west / east. Secondly, we have a higher risk of unsettled weather, in other words rain pushing in.

That will be the case this week.

So starting this week, we will have that finger of high pressure pushing up and keeping us in reasonable state temperature-wise. This begins to fade away to the continent from Thursday with more unsettled weather pushing across from the west. Rainfall-wise, we look mainly dry until Thursday when rain will push in from the south west to Ireland and The South West and move north and east overnight into Friday. This starts the next phase of our weather from a rainfall perspective which extends from Thursday pm into Friday and the coming weekend. The low pressure that is responsible for this rain will be slow-moving which means high daily totals in some locations and a slow to clear pattern.

So mild and dry for the first part of the week and then increasingly wet from the south west, starting with the south west of Ireland and England during Thursday pm and then affecting all areas thereafter and extending up to and through the weekend. The wind direction will be variable and from the south west so we will keep some milder temperatures over both day and night, with 8-10°C at night and mid-teens, 14-16°C during the day. This has some implications for growth.

Weather Outlook - w/c 08-05-23

So if we look at the GFS Gif from above, we start next week with the low pressure that will bring us rain over the end of this week and coming weekend sitting off the north east of the west coast of Jutland, Denmark. Now this low pressure would normally fade off east but it doesn't, it moves westwards which is not the norm. I still wonder whether this is a result of the SSW event in February because it does reverse the zonal wind pattern and we are consistently seeing this in our weather ?

So the outlook for next week is cooler and with more rain in the forecast. That coolness will appear mid-week, next week as the low pulls down a more northerly / north easterly airstream. Plenty of rain associated with next weeks weather pattern starting off on the Monday and continuing through the week. As we move towards the end of next week, there is a suggestion (and its only a Mystic Meg-based one) that high pressure may push up and settle things down.

Agronomic Notes

So we have a clear weather window which we need to exploit because from Thursday, through the weekend and extending into next week, we will be unsettled with plenty of rain. Accompanying that rain will be a continuation of mild air temperature at day and night so the outlook for growth is a continuation of this week's growth flush.

If you look at a day with a night temperature of 10°C and a day temperature of 16°C, it gives us a Growth Potential of 0.66 and a GDD of 7. Both are indicative of good growth levels and so applying a PGR this week on hard-to-maintain areas while we are dry would be a good idea, as would it as part of a greens spray.

It is a good thing that we have good growth because I think with mild night temperatures and high humidity, there is a risk of disease, be it Microdochium, Red Thread and probably an increase in Fairy Ring activity through this week from Thursday onwards as the rain / humidity arrives. So we should see this disease grow out as fast as it arrives and in my mind there is no point / need in applying a fungicide. If you look at a total cumulative G.P of 10.0 for fungicide longevity and we are hitting 0.5-0.7 daily G.P, a systemic will probably only last a fortnight. With the exception of Fairy Rings, you'd be just as good adding some iron / hardener in with your PGR and foliar this week to maintain colour and keep things ticking nicely.

A wet start to May is nothing out of the ordinary, it is after all one of the key growth months of the year and having a combination of rainfall and temperature is a plus in my mind. The longer we have rain extending into the year, the less chance we will be up against it from a drought perspective. Keep that thought close as you watch the raindrops at the end of this week and beyond.

Apologies for the short on detail blog but needs must.

All the best.

Mark Hunt

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