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

Science Into Practice - Lettuce crop aphid controls

Prior to the use of neonicotinoids, lettuce root aphid was a significant problem, particularly near areas with poplar windbreaks because the pest overwinters in poplar trees.

Science Into Practice - Thinning strategies

Hand thinning has consistently been the most reliable way to thin flowers or fruits in orchards. But to save costs, tree-fruit growers are in desperate need of reliable alternatives.

Science Into Practice - Studying pansy distortion issue

"Growth distortion is an issue not only for pansies and violas but for a range of other important bedding plant crops including petunia and primrose, so it's important we gain an understanding about the causes of this condition," says Mike Smith of WD Smith & Son.

Science Into Practice - Thrips control in strawberries

Western flower thrips (WFT) has been a causing serious financial loss in everbearer strawberry crops for more than 10 years and the HDC has funded three research projects to find practical solutions.

Science Into Practice - Field storage for carrots

UK industry practice is to store carrots for winter and spring marketing in situ in the field, typically covered with a thick layer of straw. The aim is to provide insulation against frost damage during the winter and to prevent warming and regrowth in the spring.

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.

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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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