From the nursery

Lupins: Remember to keep on top of Lupin anthracnose (Colletotrichum).

Leaf spots, which can have orange-coloured spores on the surface of the spot and a distinctive spiralling of the stems, characterise this disease. Being seed-borne, it can be carried through most stages of the plant's life. Routine sprays of Scotts Octave, Bravo 500 and Signum should keep it under control.

Soil sterilisation: Continue to use Basamid soil sterilisation while the soil temperature is warm. Moist soil is ideal.

Prepare for winter: Arrange for heaters to be checked over and put into full working order. Draw up an irrigation drain-down plan to avoid being caught out by early frosts. Get white fleece rolls ready for lying out over saleable crops. Replace damaged tunnel sheets while the air temperature is still warm as they will pull much tighter on warm days and last longer through windy winters. Get ready to move your hydrangeas outside in preparation for the cold treatment they need.

Stem cankers: Maintain cleanliness of tree stems during lifting and transport to reduce the risk of fungal and bacterial infections that can be the cause of stem cankers. Avoid lifting trees in leaf and spray with Leaf Fall two weeks prior to lifting.

Overwintering mites: Spray Apollo 50 SC onto outdoor trees and container stock to control the overwintering eggs of spider mites before their skins start to harden up at the end of the month. Spray Dursban WG or Sequel on ash to control active eriophyid mites prior to overwintering and to reduce the levels of infestation next spring.

Bud blindness: A combination of factors including low temperatures and low light levels can affect concentrations of plant-growth regulators in a crop. This can lead to fewer buds being produced if plants are exposed to long periods of cloudy weather. Moving vulnerable plants such as Clematis outside to a sheltered but sunny position may improve the situation.

Wind and rain: Consider applying products such as Wiltpruf S600 or Orosorb onto foliage that is particularly exposed to the elements. Protecting plants in this way may extend their sales period as we go into the autumn months. Keep a watchful eye on the state of ditches and drains. The high winds and rainfall have blown many pots and other rubbish into ditches blocking pipelines under roadways, which can result in flooding.

- John Adlam is managing director of Dove Associates.

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