The Groundsman

December 2014

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Page 46 of 51

WEATHER UPDATE 47 the Groundsman December 2014 Winter washout The start of winter this year has already seen intense storms with periods of heavy rain and flooding for some areas, which brings a sense of foreboding after the horrendous experiences of the beginning this year. Long-range forecasters have already issued doom warnings that this winter could be even wetter. Indeed, the previous two Decembers, of 2012 and 2011, were also significantly wetter with 149 per cent and 138 per cent of average rainfall respectively. However, eight out of 10 Decembers prior to that had been drier than average. Furthermore, this time last year the long-range forecast was for the coldest ever winter ever, with dire predictions of deep snow and prolonged frosts. And it turned out to be incredibly mild, with record high temperatures in December for some areas. That would appear to have been an anomaly in recent weather trends. If you look at trends for the previous five years, the temperature had indeed been above average only once. Many will still recall December 2010, when the UK experienced 23 days with an air frost, the heaviest and most extensive early snowfall for 45 years and an average temperature of -0.9°C - over five degrees below the norm. Proactive disease prevention The prospect of wet surfaces and even snow cover significantly increases the risk of Microdochium (Fusarium) Patch. The snow acts as a thermal blanket at soil level and creates permanently moist leaf conditions, where the disease pathogen can thrive. Experiences in 2010 highlighted that when the snow thawed, turf without fungicide protection had been seriously hit. Turf managers who had applied Medallion TL ahead of forecast snow cover and predicted high disease risk conditions, however, reported very good results and turf remaining disease free. Early reports indicate that, after the wet November, there is a high incidence of Microdochium inoculum present on the leaf and in the thatch in many turf surfaces, which is expected to increase as conditions turn more conducive. Applications of Medallion TL can reduce the pathogen loading in the thatch, and help to deliver long- term protection for the turf leaf. Assessing this season's on-going risks, using the GreenCast five-day disease forecasts to proactively target application timing, can help to prevent disease affecting turf quality early in the winter, when there is little opportunity for recovery right through until the spring. • Watch out for risk of Microdochium (Fusarium) Patch infection • Use ITM practices and fungicide treatments to reduce disease risk • Remove dew and encourage air flow to keep surfaces dry • Apply Medallion TL fungicide ahead of wet periods or predicted snowfall December Top Tips World-leading on-line advice for turf • Up to the minute weather forecasting • Advance warning of turf diseases • Application zone for practical pointers • NEW interactive forums Treatment justification Where it is possible to foresee periods of disease risk there is potential to get the best protection from proactive applications of Medallion TL, applied as close as possible to the infection period and targeted to reduce turf pathogens on the leaf, thatch and soil. In variable weather conditions, or if applications have been delayed, the multi-active Instrata offers greater flexibility. GreenCast historic weather and disease records show the high rainfall and frost free conditions throughout December in 2013 (top), along with the associated high Microdochium (Fusarium) Patch risk throughout the month Table 1: December UK average weather highs and. 2013 was the third consecutive December with well above average rainfall – in fact it was 56% more than the norm. It was also the warmest December for over a decade On record (since 1914) Warmest 1934 (6.9ºC) Coldest Wettest Driest Sunniest Dullest 2010 (-0.9ºC) 1929 (213 mm) 1933 (32 mm) 2001 (64 hours) 1956 (20 hours) 2013 (5.7ºC) 2010 (-0.9ºC) 2013 (188 mm) 2010 (48 mm) 2008 (54 hours) 2011 (41 hours) Past decade (2003 – 2012)

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