From the nursery

Fungus flies: If you have problems with fungus flies on cuttings on heated beds during winter months apply nematodes. The heat will ensure prolonged activity.

Field planning: Now is the time to be planning your next few years of cropping. Make sure you mark the site of Rosaceae subjects with accuracy for tree replanting. Continue to attack perennial weeds with glyphosate now, before final land preparation in the spring. As the plant dies down for the winter the active ingredient is taken into the plant; it continues to remain at a low level of activity all winter and suppresses regrowth next season, giving you a head start. If you are taking over cereal land, check which herbicides have been used for the past two seasons to avoid potential phytotoxicity problems.

Perennial weed control: Apply products containing dichlobenil, for example. Casoron G will soon be withdrawn, so ensure you have enough supplies for the 2008/09 winter months. Dichlobenil is an excellent all-rounder, works well in low-traffic areas and is effective for several months.

How good are you at spraying? I often get calls saying that certain pesticides do not work and it is often because of the product not reaching the target. Check the efficacy of your spraying operation with water-sensitive paper attached to the underside of a leaf and after spraying you can see just how well the spray has reached the target, even down to small droplets.

Autumn potting: Applying Wiltpruf S600 or Orosorb to plants such as Pieris after potting may help to control the level of transpiration and prevent the brown leaf tips that can develop on the foliage. Warm, sunny days this autumn could cause problems for newly potted stock, so keep an eye on these plants, particularly on any evergreen species. Ensure that autumn-potted plants are in the right places for winter protection to avoid those last-minute changes as soon as frost appears.

Lifting trees: Take care when lifting trees this autumn. Avoiding physical damage is the key to keeping stem cankers to a minimum next season.

Voluntary Initiative: Keep up to date with your crop-protection management plan as part of your Voluntary Initiative action. Don't forget to register your spraying staff at the National Register of Sprayer Operators. You should also be getting your sprayer tested under the National Sprayer Testing Scheme.

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