Temperature rise triggers pest and disease alert

This month's ADAS Hardy Ornamentals Notes reports increased pest and disease activity as a result of the warmer weather.

It urges growers to "keep a close eye on overwintered crops and pay attention to hygiene and water management" and monitor crops for pests such as aphids, spider mites, whiteflies and thrips.

Growers have been advised to monitor Cistus and Fuchsia because they are more susceptible to aphid attacks, which have been reported on a range of crops including Aster, Geranium, Verbena and Hydrangea.

Two-spotted spider mite has been reported on overwintered Cordyline, Penstemon and Viola, leaf hopper on crops of outdoor Teucrium and leaf miner in Helleborus.

In diseases, powdery mildew was noted in Euphorbia, Geranium clarkei and Knautia. The disease was also reported as having caused a reduction in quality of Digitalis, while Rhizoctonia has resulted in losses of Arenaria, Ajuga and Sedum.

Rust is causing problems with Carex, Campanula and Malva and Botrytis is an ongoing concern in protected Geranium and Heuchera.

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