Vine weevil: Nemasys L provides good larval control at this time of year.
Apply to protected crops and plants exposed to egg-laying that have not yet had compost-incorporated Met52 or granular insecticide. In large tree containers, Nematodes can be more effective than insecticide drenches.
Weed control: Apply Roundup to perennial weeds - the active ingredient is taken up by the weed and remains at a low activity over the winter months to suppress regrowth next season. Once Abies and Picea crops have become fully dormant you can consider an application of Roundup over the trees to control perennial weeds around them.
Use Roundup to also control weeds that can be secondary herbaceous hosts to whitefly, spider mite, leaf miner, rust and powdery mildew around the edges of glasshouses and tunnels. Follow this up with a residual herbicide mix containing Devrinol and Stomp 400SC (Extension of Authorisation, EoA, 2008-2923) to reduce re-growth. Use a hooded sprayer to avoid drift damage.
Tank-mix: Roundup with Chikara for broader-spectrum weed control on non-cropped areas.
Compost tea: A thorough clean after each brew helps to make tea applications more effective. Any ingredients not thoroughly mixed in and then not removed will contaminate the next brew. Clean all the filters and the bubbler. Check the bubbler sock and main tap sieve and replace as required.
Leaf spots: Spray Octave, Signum (EoA 2009-1842) or Switch on Helleborus, Cordyline, Phormium, Ceanothus and Yucca. Avoid applications if frost is present or predicted after spraying.
Conifers: This is an important time of year to spray against needle cast on Abies, Picea and Thuja. Apply chlorothalonil (EoA required), Octave, Signum (EoA 2009-1842) or Switch.
Field-grown crops: Lifting trees in leaf increases the risk of spring stem-canker infections. Products containing copper masquolate can help to encourage leaf drop.
Spring feeding: Put together a feeding programme for the spring for older stock. Top dressing, liquid feeding and CRF plugs can be used to successfully reinvigorate plants for early sales. Top-dressing products include Osmocote Topdress, Sincron, Floranid Permanent or Triabon.
John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates