14 September - Spray defences

Escallonia - Apply magnesium chelate (1:200) as an overhead spray to maturing plants. Products can be added to the majority of pesticide tank mixes but require cool application conditions.

Feeding - Change feeds to products high in potash to harden up soft foliage and green pale, older leaves. Low light and low soil and compost temperatures have produced imbalanced growth this season - lots of foliage but little root development. For poorly rooted plants, liquid feed with high-phosphate products (10/52/10) such as Peters Plant Starter. For plants potted last year, top-up nutrients with top-dressing products such as Floranid Permanent or Osmocote Topdress NT.

Box sucker - Curled foliage with white, fluffy growth surrounds the insect inside curled leaves. Spray with Equity, Gazelle SG or Hallmark WZT (EoA 2008-2944). For protected crops in an IPM system, consider using Chess WG (EoA 2008-2834).

Traps - During periods of dull weather, use yellow sticky traps, which can be more attractive to pests than blue traps.

Sterilisation - Sterilise soils prior to planting with Basamid. Temperatures are still high enough for effective control.

Root aphid - Control in ornamental Ribes and pines with drenches of Dursban WG or Intercept 70WG. Keep compost moist for products to work effectively for a longer period of time.

Rats - Check bait boxes if crops are near cereals - after harvest, they can migrate to safer places and find container-grown plants an attractive meal. Rats are also a hazard to your staff as carriers of Weil's disease.

Pruning - Avoid trimming plants that you want to flower this autumn such as Viburnum tinus, ilex and Callicarpa.

Weeds - Tank-mix Chikara and glyphosate and apply to actively growing scrub and weedy areas for quick uptake. This combination can control a wide range of perennial weeds and it is safe to apply around the base of selected established tree species. Spray Challenge, Harvest or Kaspar tank-mixed with Ronstar Liquid onto growing bed gravel or MyPex before standing down new crops. Get control of remaining patches of weeds on compost surfaces by topping up with Flexidor 125 this autumn. Liverwort and moss will both impede the effectiveness of herbicides.

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