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

Science Into Practice - GREATsoils programme

Soil is one of the most important assets a grower has and improving its health is fundamental to the agronomic and financial sustainability of horticultural enterprises.

Science Into Practice - Thrips control for strawberries

A recently completed Defra Horticulture LINK Project (HL01107-SF 120) demonstrated that commercial control of western flower thrips (WFT) in strawberry can be obtained through early and continued releases of the predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris in conjunction with Stratiolaelaps scimitus mites and Orius bugs during the summer months while employing an IPM programme that avoids crop-protection products harmful to these predators.

Science Into Practice - Fighting tomato root diseases

PC 281b Tomato: Micro-organisms in the irrigation water of hydroponic crops grown in closed systems.

Science Into Practice - Better storage for Gala apples

In response to increased UK production of Gala apples, the industry needed to develop improved storage protocols to maintain fruit quality and improve flavour retention from harvest through until June.

Science Into Practice - Mushroom disease control

Sporgon (prochloraz-manganese), the only approved fungicide available to the UK mushroom industry, provides good control of wet bubble (Mycogone perniciosa), moderate control of dry bubble (Lecanicillium fungicola) and weak control of cobweb (Cladobotryum species).

Science into practice - Cut flowers trialled on water

The only reliable current control method for the soil-borne disease Fusarium oxysporum in cut-flower production is steam sterilisation, but this is expensive, time-consuming and large losses can still occur even where the soil has been treated.

Science Into Practice - Blueberry gall midge control

SF 126: Blueberry gall midge - sex pheromone monitoring and control with insecticides

Science into Practice - Investigating heuchera rust

Heuchera rust was first identified in the UK in 2004 but incidence has increased significantly since 2010 across a range of different heuchera varieties.

Science Into Practice - Understanding daffodil rust

BOF 076a: Understanding physiological disorders in narcissus - extension to studying the three-year down crop

Science into practice - Eliciting plants' natural defence

CP 105: Integrated protection of horticultural crops through enhancing endogenous defence mechanisms (AHDB Horticulture Studentship)

Science into practice - Earwig-safe crop protection

Earwigs are important generalist predators in apple and pear orchards. They play a key part in regulating populations of several highly damaging pests including woolly and other aphid pests, mussel scale, codling moth and pear sucker. Recent research in the UK and Europe has indicated that several commonly used crop-protection products have harmful effects on earwigs in orchards.

Science Into Practice - Controlling downy mildew

Impatiens downy mildew (IDM), caused by Plamopara obducens, is a foliar disease specific to impatiens. A metalaxyl-M-resistant strain of P. obducens was introduced into commercial production in early 2011, resulting in widespread, difficult-to-control downy mildew infections.

Science into practice - Post-harvest lettuce pinking

FV 413a: Lettuce: Predicting high-risk plantings to manage post-harvest pinking

Science into practice - Blackcurrant crop protection

Botrytis, leaf-curling midge and sawfly are economically damaging diseases and pests of blackcurrants. Botrytis not only causes grey mould of the fruit but can give rise to "run-off" in spring, leading to reduced yields. Leaf-curling midge stunts growth in shoot tips, slowing bush growth, while blackcurrant sawfly can lead to defoliation of the bush.

Science Into Practice - Downy mildew on impatiens

PO 011b: Monitoring metalxyl-M sensitivity of Downy Mildew infection of Impatiens

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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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