Leaf hoppers - There is still some insect activity on protected crops. Control them using rapid knockdown products such as Majestik, SB Plant Invigorator, Decis (non-IPM) or Chess WG at the off-label rate. SOLAs are required for Decis (SOLA 2007-1709) and Chess WG (SOLA 2007-0502) for protected herbs.
Scale - Soft scale can be seen on a range of both indoor and outdoor crops. Spray with Croptex Spraying Oil (avoiding frosty conditions for 24 hours) to reduce the eggs or young present under the shell.
Fruit removal - Do not forget to remove any remaining fruit from fruit trees being sold. If you leave it on, you need to have grown the crop as an edible, not an ornamental, with respect to the spraying programme.
Rust - Often a problem on Mahonia "Apollo" during December. Spray Nimrod or Systhane 20EW to control it.
Herbaceous clean up - For late-season herbaceous perennials that die down and reshoot in the spring, remove weeds with a tank mix of either Harvest or Ronstar Liquid plus Flexidor 125. Make sure the plants are dormant with no green portions showing. Other products with contact action include Reglone and Shark (SOLA 2008-0552). Check the tolerance of herbaceous perennials with the HDC Weed Control Handbook.
Powdery mildew - Some protected crops are still being affected by this disease. Consider food-grade potassium bicarbonate or Stroby WG for effective control at this time of year.
Planning - Use the darker nights to consider pest and disease successes and failures and modify your spray programme accordingly. Make sure that your programme has the products being phased out deleted and suitable replacements incorporated. Look at biological control programmes and integrate where practical. Consider your growing-media recipes next season to maximise plant growth.
Conifers - Needle cast sprays should now have been applied - products include Bravo 500, Cercobin WG (SOLA 2008-1384), Signum (SOLA 2009-1842) or Switch on pines, Picea and Abies. Consider applying Croptex Spraying Oil to any conifer plants or hedges that suffered insect damage earlier this year. Only apply if frost is not present or forecast, ensuring that the product penetrates into the centre of the plant for good effect. Make sure that Apollo 50SC has been applied to control any over-wintering mite eggs.