10 December - Predator watch

Pest control: Where predator applications have finished, consider applying broad-spectrum, contact-acting products such as Decis or Hallmark WZT as a clean-up.

John Adlam goes on predator watch
John Adlam goes on predator watch

If predators are still being used and control is required, then choose Majestik, Pyrethrum 5EC, Spruzit or SB Plant Invigorator. Keep applying slug pellets.

Choisya Monitor: watering to avoid Pythium, Phytophthora and Fusarium infections. Remove dead and dying plants - drench the remaining crop (within their irrigation regime) using Fenonemal, Prestop or Previcur Energy (EAMU 2011-1557).

Winter wash: Certis Spraying Oil can be used as a "winter wash" on dormant crops to control overwintering mealybugs, scale insects and spider mites.

Sciarid flies: Control sciarid and shore fly larvae on heated propagation beds using nematodes (Steinernema feltiae) or introduce Hypoaspis sp. or Macrocheles mites. Alternatively, Atheta coriaria can be used if compost temperatures remain above 15 degsC over the winter. Root rotting from feeding damage can be prevented using Trianum P, Revive P or Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) - or Prestop if cuttings have rooted. Yellow sticky traps attract adults away from compost surfaces and foliage.

Liverwort: Depending on crop location and type, consider trialling Venzar Flowable, Sumimax (2008-2881) or Sultan 50SC to clean up pot surfaces.

Disease control: Powdery mildews and fungal leaf spot pathogens produce winter resting spores that will go through the colder months to re-emerge next season. Make sure that you are satisfied with the control achieved. Many products are systemic and slow to work effectively.

Couraze: A revised label (MAPP 13862) is available detailing the neonicotinoid restrictions.

Fungicides: Frost-free, protected nursery stock can still be sprayed with Octave, Rovral WG or Switch during winter as a precautionary disease control, especially for Botrytis. Add a wetting agent for plants with hairy foliage and use an air-assisted sprayer to get good penetration. Focus applications on Helleborus, Cordyline, lavenders, phormiums and yucca. Apply in the morning to allow foliage time to dry.

Trimming: Wait until late winter/early spring before trimming. Crops will be at greater risk of stem dieback and Botrytis at this time of year.

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates


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