The Groundsman

December 2012

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WEATHER UPDATE 47 the Groundsman December 2012 Get active under the snow blanket Av Temp (°C) 2010 2011 Diff to average 2010 2011 47 41 Days with more than 1mm of rain Rain (mm) Sun (hours) Diff to 2010 average 2011 Diff to average 167 + 119 23 7 - 16 7 - 16 2010 2011 Diff to average UK - 0.9 4.8 + 5.7 N.England -1.2 4.7 + 5.9 59 46 -13 39 131 + 92 23 S.England 0 6.1 + 6.1 44 58 +14 33 88 + 55 23 5 - 18 Scotland -1.8 3.1 + 4.9 42 27 -15 63 265 + 202 24 12 - 12 Wales - 0.5 - 0.7 6.0 5.0 + 6.5 + 4.5 50 62 29 26 - 21 - 36 53 69 212 151 + 159 + 82 23 22 4 5 - 19 - 17 N Ireland -6 48 Comparing the weather conditions for December 2010 and 2011 highlights the huge differences - especially in temperature and number of frosts. For most parts it was also significantly wetter than normal and far duller. For most greenkeepers and groundsmen the abiding memory of last December was the incessant rainfall, on 26 days out of 31 in some areas. It was also unseasonably mild, at over a degree warmer than the long-term average for England and Wales and 40% fewer frosts. The result was a long-extended growing season. In 2010, the temperatures plummeted with cold easterly winds in late November, with many areas under significant snow cover by early December – the heaviest and most extensive early snowfall for 45 years. Although temperatures eased in the second week with a welcome thaw, mid-month saw a return to icy conditions and a further 10 to 14 days snow cover for many areas. And whilst 2010 was extreme, it was not unprecedented; with similar periods of snow cover recorded the previous year, from late December 2009 into January 2010. It was the third successive year of below long-term average temperatures Proactive disease prevention The prospect of snow cover dramatically increases the risk of Microdochium (Fusarium) Patch. Although air temperatures may be cold, 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 cool and wet summer, 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. Warmest Coldest Wettest On record (since 1914) 1934 (6.9oC) 2010 (-0.9oC) Past Decade (2001-2011) 2004 (5.0oC) 2010 (-0.9oC) Sunniest Dullest 1929 1933 (213mm) (32mm) 2001 (64hours) 1956 (20hours) 2006 2010 (173mm) (48mm) 2008 (54hours) 2002 (31hours) Driest November weather's highs and lows – UK average temperature, rainfall and sunshine hours. Between 1915 and 1923 the November average was 2.8ºC or less on three occasions, but subsequently has only been below 4ºC on two occasions in nearly 90 years 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. Treatment justification Where it is possible to foresee periods of disease risk, there is potential to get the best protection from proactive applications of a preventative contact+ fungicide, applied as close as possible to the infection period and targeted to reduce turf pathogens on the leaf, thatch and soil. GreenCast weather and disease historic records have also proven a persuasive tool to help greenkeepers and groundsmen to justify and explain their management regimes to greens committees and managers. December Top Tips • Watch out for risk of Microdochium Patch (Fusarium) infection • Use ITM practices and fungicide treatments to reduce disease risk • Monitor turf growth with soil temperatures and record clipping yields to determine what type of fungicide to apply • Apply contact+ fungicide ahead of predicted snowfall

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