3 October - Pests and predators

Biocontrol - Keep applying predators to protected crops this month. Day length and overnight temperatures affect their usefulness.

Pests - Where biological control applications have ended, use short-term products including Chess WG (EAMU 2013-2016), Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator, Spruzit or Steward (EAMU 2008-2905). Where non-IPM products are required, use Decis, Dursban WG, Hallmark WZT (EAMU 2008-2944) or Toppel 100 (EAMU 2013-2410) to control aphids, capsids, caterpillars, leafhoppers and scale insects.

Vine weevil larvae - Continue with nematode applications using Nemasys L. Control leatherjackets using Steinernema feltiae nematodes.

Frost - Get vulnerable crops undercover now. Use horticultural fleece or Cosytex on outdoor frost-tolerant plants. Repeat applications of Cropaid or Compo's Frost Protect before frost is expected will help to protect buds from cold damage.

Bacteria - Prevent overwintering bacterial infections by applying Headland Copper to ornamental Prunus species.

Irrigation - Check newly potted crops daily to avoid drought and encourage rooting out this autumn. Note that established plants can quickly suffer from overwatering, especially on dull days. Inform key staff about the irrigation draw-down plan, showing drain valve locations.

Autumn bedding - Watch for downy mildew on pansy and viola. For effective control, use Fenomenal (EAMU 2013-1990), Infinito (EAMU 2013-0952), Paraat (EAMU 2011-2585), Percos (EAMU 2013-0819), Pergado Uni (EAMU 2012-1605), Revus (EAMUs required) or Signum (EAMU 2012-2141).

Botrytis - Colder nights mean more dew, so ensure fans are working in tunnels and glasshouses. Open doors and vents during the day. Control infections using Octave, Rovral WG (EAMU 2011-3200), Prestop, Serenade ASO (EAMUs required), Signum (EAMU 2012-2141) or Switch.

Renting new land - Test soil first to check for plant parasitic nematode and Verticillium wilt levels.

Pansies - After transplanting, ensure that crops are subject to growth regulator and downy mildew control.

Field preparations - Plough land now to get frost working for you. Cracking reduces waterlogging and enables early-spring planting.

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