30 September - Biocontrol & frost

Biocontrol - Apply Amblyseius andersoni, Amblyseius cucumeris and Macrocheles robustulus monthly through the autumn on protected crops to control any overwintering mites, thrips and sciarid fly larva.

Frost protection - Prepare for cold nights by protecting vulnerable plants. Use repeat applications of Cropaid or Compo's Frost Protect. For autumn potting, put crops in the right place for winter protection to avoid last-minute changes as soon as frost appears. Make sure that all heaters have been serviced and vent gear is greased. Keep tunnel/glasshouse doors fully open and close for venting on fine days in winter to help prevent Botrytis build-up.

Root rot - Check watering on Taxus and other vulnerable crops to prevent composts sitting wet. This will lead to root rot, which can be controlled but is best prevented using cultural techniques. Where disease is present, drench - within their irrigation regime - with Serenade ASO (EAMUs required), Prestop (EAMUs required), Trianum P or T34 Biocontrol (EAMUs required).

Glasshouses - Pull back thermal screens and wash off shade material from glasshouses to take advantage of clear, sunny days.

Weeds - Apply herbicides to fine, moist soils where possible. Tank mixing Chikara and glyphosate will control scrub and woody weeds on non-crop areas. Direct soil applications of Chikara using a hooded sprayer can be made to Aesculus, Betula, Buddleja, Buxus, Catalpa, Chamaecyparis, Corylus, Cotoneaster, Forsythia, Platanus, Prunus laurocerasus, Rosa rugosa, Thuja, Tilia and Weigela. Do not apply directly to Cornus alba, Ligustrum or Syringa. Use contact-acting herbicides including products containing glufosinate-ammonium, diquat or consider applying Shark (EAMUs required) on non-crop areas.

LERAPs - Check new products using Chemicals Regulation Directorate website (https://secure.pesticides.gov.uk/pestreg/) - new labels will not show whether they are in the A or B category.

Drains - Check container bed drains are clear and in working order. Check drainage on sand beds and stir up sand if percolation is low from compost deposits and moss and weed growth. Strim ditches to remove large weeds and encourage free-flowing water during any wet autumn periods.

Trapping - During periods of dull weather yellow sticky traps attract more pests than blue sticky traps.

Feeding - Change to liquid-feed products high in potash (K) to harden up soft foliage and to green up pale older leaves. Products available include Hortifeeds 2:1:6, Peters Plant Finisher, Sangral 1:1:3, Solufeed 1:0:3, Universol Violet or Vitax 2:1:4.


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