18 March - Aphids & infections

Aphids Active from the mild winter - control now using contact-acting products including Aphox, Decis (non-IPM), Hallmark WZT (non-IPM, EAMU 2008-2944), Majestik, Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona or SB Plant Invigorator. Avoid frost before, during and after applications.

Dianthus Check crops for Fusarium - patchy dieback showing as brown, dead foliage. Apply Octave, Prestop (EAMUs required), Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) or Switch as required.

Sciarid flies Control sciarid larvae using Atheta, Hypoaspis, Macrocheles or Steinernema feltiae nematodes. Do not use Atheta and Hypoaspis together.

Slugs Choose products containing ferric phosphate. Read the best practice information at www.getpelletwise.co.uk if using products containing metaldehyde.

Downy mildew Check for yellow patches, usually on young foliage, followed by grey fungal growth on leaf undersides. Protect crops using Bravo 500 (EAMU 2011-1130), Dithane 945 (EAMUs required), Karamate Dry Flo Neotec, Pergado Uni (EAMU 2012-1605) or Proplant (EAMU 2012-3100) on buddleia, Cirsium, digitalis, geum, hebe, impatiens, osteospermum, pansy, rose and others. Control active infections using Amistar (EAMU 2009-0443), Fenomenal (EAMU 2013-1990), Fubol Gold WG (EAMU 2013-2288), Invader (EAMU 2012-0109), Paraat (EAMU 2011-2585), Pergado Uni (EAMU 2012-1605), Signum (EAMU 2012-2141) or Valbon (EAMU 2014-2325).

Predators Start predator introductions now for whitefly, aphids, mites and thrips.

Powdery mildew Control using AQ10 (EAMUs required), food-grade potassium bicarbonate, Signum (EAMU 2012-2141) or Switch. Other products are available but work more effectively later on. Avoid frosty conditions.

Botrytis Maintain airflow through protected crops to reduce Botrytis infections. Vent on warm, damp days.

Leaf spots Protect foliage using Amistar (EAMU 2009-0443), Bravo 500 (outdoor crops, EAMU 2011-1130), Octave, Rovral WG (EAMU 2011-3200) or Switch on ceanothus, hellebores, kniphofia, pansies, schizostylis, yucca and viburnum.

Mites Check for overwintering mite eggs on vulnerable protected crops and on the stems and around buds of Fraxinus, Malus, poplar, prunus, rhododendron, Salix, Sorbus aria and Tilia. Rust mites are more obvious on sunny days. If seen, control using Apollo 50SC (EAMU 2015-2102), Dursban WG (non-IPM) or Hallmark WZT (non-IPM, EAMU 2008-2944) at this time of year. Dursban WG cannot be used after 1 April 2016.

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates

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