Frost and spraying: Take care with warm days and cold nights - only spray when there is no risk of frost on the following day. Products that contain adjuvants will enhance uptake and increase efficacy but can leave soft foliage without adequate cuticle. This vulnerable foliage may be damaged even in a mild frost.
Glasshouse computers: Set up a routine to check temperatures, humidity levels, vents and screens to get the most out of your protected structures. Change the timing in line with variations in weather conditions.
Sticky traps: Check weekly to monitor pest levels and change often, especially if under propagation polythene tents.
Fenomenal: This product containing fenamidone and fosetyl-aluminium is now available as a drench application against Pythium and Phytophthora spp. in fieldand container-grown ornamentals and bulbs.
Spraying: Include short-term knockdown products such as Pyrethrum 5EC in your spray programme. It has good action against aphids, thrips, flea beetles and caterpillars because of the addition of piperonyl butoxide, which improves its activity on pests. The majority of biological controls can be re-introduced after seven days.
SPS forms: Register or fill in your IACS and SPS forms by 15 May. See http://rpa.defra.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/home for further guidance and forms.
Weed control: Control perennial weeds such as thistles, docks and nettles on newly acquired land before planting, spot-treating with clopyralid, glyphosate or triclopyr. Control volunteer cereals and couch grass later with Aramo (EoA 2008-2813), Laser, Falcon or Panarex (EoA 2006-0364).
Rust: Check heuchera and fuchsia leaves and stems, and spray with Amistar (EoA 2009-0443), Bumper 250EC (EoA 2009-0707), Nimrod, Signum (EoA 2009-1842), Systhane 20EW or Topas.
Bark beetles: Pests will emerge as the weather starts to warm up. Spray the stems of pines and ornamental prunus with Dursban WG.
Wetting agents: Consider using Headland Rhino, Silwet L-77, Slither or Slippa for better foliar coverage and to improve product efficacy. Some products such as Amistar or those that are emulsifiable concentrates should not have these products added to the spray tank because of scorch risk.