Choisya - Order liner plants now for early potting to ensure better crop establishment and a reduced risk of root rot attack. Prevent snail damage on established plants using approved slug pellets. Check out www.getpelletwise.co.uk.
Hydrangeas - Expose crops to enough frosty weather to kick-start flower bud production.
Root death - Check root condition before despatching early crops. Cold damage is often expressed by health status of the roots.
Leaf spots - Apply Octave or Switch to protected evergreen crops to control any overwintered fungal leaf spot pathogens.
Salt damage - Protect conifers from salt damage alongside the road by spraying with an anti-transpirant. This will prevent the brown patches on hedges often associated with this problem.
Field heaps - A field heap must not be built or kept within 30m of surface water (including ditches) if the land slopes steeply. Changes in the NVZ Regulations mean it must occupy as small a surface area as required to support it and prevent collapse.
Damping off - Prevent infections on cuttings during cool, damp conditions apply Proplant (EAMU 2012-3100), Prestop (not on unrooted cuttings) or Serenade ASO (EAMUs required). Amistar (EAMU 2009-0443) or Basilex will provide infection control.
Pest monitoring - Plan your programme now especially with mild temperatures encouraging early aphids, mites and whiteflies. Sticky traps will help to monitor whitefly, thrip, sciarid and leafhopper.
Plant growth - Protect any early growth in times of very cold weather. Strong winds on exposed, frozen crops can be particularly damaging. Check that fleece or Cosytex is still secure around vulnerable crops.
Pruning - Clear and burn prunings to prevent early, unnecessary fungal infections on vulnerable crops. Use the relevant Agricultural Waste exemptions D7, T6, U10 or U12.