Practical findings from Horticultural Development Council trial, plus summaries of academic research and scientific trials, compiled by Dr Ken Cockshull.

Science Into Practice - Investigating daffodil rust

Daffodil rust is a physiological disorder that results in loss of stem and leaf quality through rust-like lesions, making some cut flowers unmarketable. Industry surveys have indicated the extent of the problem and the most susceptible varieties.

Science Into Practice - Sweet pepper pest control

Southern green shieldbug, Nezara viridula, is widely distributed across tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it is a serious pest of many important food crops.

Science Into Practice - Regulating plant growth

"Identifying chemical growth regulators will provide growers with another option to control the growth of vigorous plant species and so meet required height specifications," says J&A Growers' Jamie Dewhurst.

Science Into Practice - Wood pigeon damage control

The wood pigeon Columba palumbus is a major agricultural pest in the UK, feeding on a range of arable crops including peas, brassicas and leafy salads. HDC project FV 426 reviewed the evidence for damage levels, the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of deterrents and other management techniques and emerging controls.

Science Into Practice - Rhynchites attraction

The apple fruit rhynchites has increased in apple and pear orchards and if not controlled can give rise to corky scars on fruit. It can be controlled but requires treatment during or after blossom, which is undesirable. A sensitive monitoring trap is needed to direct insecticide treatments.

Science Into Practice - Mushroom yield and flavour

Mushroom yield, flushing pattern and quality are determined by nutrition.

Science Into Practice - Monitoring for downy mildew

Impatiens downy mildew, which is caused by Plasmopara obducens, is a foliar disease that is specific to impatiens.

Science Into Practice - Better tomato diagnostics

Root diseases pose a serious threat to tomato production, with an increased risk where irrigation run-off is recycled. HDC project PC 281 used the molecular diagnostic method T-RLFP to begin to understand the diversity of microorganisms on tomato roots.

Science Into Practice - Codling moth spray timing

Codling moth is still the most important apple pest found in the UK and its control poses a major challenge for all growers.

Science Into Practice - Cabbage root fly research

HDC Project FV 364 investigated how cabbage root fly larvae (Delia radicum) locate brassica plants and tested potential treatments not involving conventional insecticides.

Science Into Practice - Better nutrient management

The production of quality container-grown hardy nursery plants requires accurate management of plant nutrition throughout the whole life of the crop.

Science Into Practice - Herb growth and shelf life

Low light levels induce the growth of longer, weaker stems and petioles in plants, a condition known as etiolation. Such plants show reduced shelf life and may fail to meet buyer specifications and customer expectations. Etiolation can be an issue in pot herb production, so the HDC commissioned project PE 015 to investigate practical solutions.

Science Into Practice - Researching earwig decline

Reports that earwigs are declining in some apple and pear orchards have raised concern for pest control and is it thought that this problem could be linked to the use of certain crop-protection products.

Science Into Practice - Preventing loss of mushrooms

Infection of compost by Trichoderma aggressivum can result in up to 100 per cent crop loss in mushrooms.

Science Into Practice - Strawberry pest prediction

Each season, strawberry growers expect to contend with certain flower and leaf pests, but they can never be quite sure when the pests will strike.

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Research Matters

Click here to see an archive of 199 Research Matters articles by Dr Ken Cockshull.

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