From the nursery

Winter clean-up: With the milder winters, scale insects seem to be active for longer periods. Adult females lay their eggs under their shell and die on top of them; therefore, it is more difficult to control the eggs.

If you have active scale on bay, Hedera, Acer, olives, citrus or other crops, a spray of Croptex Spraying Oil will control both living adults and eggs. The oil penetrates the shell and controls the eggs underneath. It will also control adult mites and mite eggs starting to hibernate for the winter.

Tortrix moths: Tortrix caterpillars are still active on many nursery stock subjects. Spray with Toppel 10 or Decis but use Conserve, Dimilin Flo or Nemolt if you have a biological control programme still in operation. I find that selecting the correct pheromone for tortrix traps is critical and failure is usually due to using the wrong lure. If you are unsure which tortrix moth you have, try a different lure in different traps. There is an excellent website for visual identification of moths and larva at www.ukmoths.org.uk.

Botrytis: Keep up the inspections for Botrytis as the weather is still conducive to it. Make sure applications of Frupica, Rovral WP, Switch or Amistar are made with adequate wetting agent to get good foliage penetration on dense cropping. Keep the ventilation fans running in tunnels and glasshouses; this is one of the most important times for them to be fully operational.

Slugs: Apply slug pellets to Hosta, Bergenia, Cytisus and Choisya crops to avoid foliage damage. Use an agricultural mini pellet, which will give a better distribution and control in tunnels and container-grown crops than the traditional pellet. Consider switching to Ferramol pellets, which are less damaging to the environment and safer when used on display beds where the public and pets have access.

Cordyline, Phormium and Yucca: Make sure these plants are given a Scotts Octave spray this week to prevent the oval, purple-edged spots of Colletotrichum infections. Fusarium can also damage the base of these plants, particularly if water sits in the leaf bases and does not dry out over 24 hours. Scotts Octave will provide control.

Consultations: I know they seem a bind but the waste consultation is due for completion by 23 October and this is an important issue as it will affect some of your exemptions after October 2009. Take the time to go through it.


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