18 February - Protect bedding

Bedding plants: Disinfect production areas before sowing seed crops to reduce the risk of early pest and disease attacks.

Weed control: Control weed growth on cleared container beds with a tank mix of glufosinate-ammonium or Reglone plus Ronstar Liquid, Venzar Flowable or Flexidor 125. This will burn off any weeds present and help to prevent re-emergence this spring.

Scale insects: Check camellia, citrus, Euonymus, Hedera and Taxus. Apply Certis Spraying Oil, Decis (non-IPM), Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona or SB Plant Invigorator.

Aphids: In dry weather, watch for early aphid attack on pines, Juniperus 'Skyrocket', Picea abies and Picea pungens that causes needle drop later on. Use directed sprays into crop centres of Aphox, Decis (non-IPM), Hallmark WZT (non-IPM, EAMU 2008-2944) or Pyrethrum 5EC.

Powdery mildew: Check ornamental grasses in protected structures for infections. Apply food-grade potassium bicarbonate if seen.

Botrytis: Mild winter has increased infection. Space crops and ensure adequate airflow. Irrigate early in the morning on bright sunny days.

Top dressing: Fertilisers can destroy the herbicide layer at the point of application so it is worth waiting for at least three weeks afterwards before applying any herbicides. Top up nutritional levels of stock plants now.

Bacterial infections: Prevent peach leaf curl and early shot hole infections by applying a tank mix of Cuprokylt and Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) onto bare stems of almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums when weather permits.

Water stress: Sunny days and frozen pots, particularly with evergreen crops, can produce drought conditions when water is unavailable in composts. Apply anti-transpirant products such as Wiltpruf S600 to reduce transpiration levels.

Liverwort: Clean up liverwort on cleared outdoor growing beds with Venzar Flowable. Work by the HDC has shown that Chikara and Springbok (EAMU 2014-3016) applied to non-cropped areas will also provide some control effect.

Moles: Control adults before they breed and have young. Trapping is the common control but needs skill and care. Gas tablets work well too but staff need to be trained and qualified. Go to www.ramps-uk.org.

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates, HorticultureWeek.co.uk/nursery

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