08 April - Monitoring and controlling pests

Bark beetles: These pests will emerge as the weather starts to warm up. Spray the stems of pines and ornamental Prunus with Equity.

Sticky traps: Make sure that these have been distributed to monitor any pests present on your crops.

Whitefly scale: As soon as you see the first signs of whitefly scale, order your Encarsia/Eretmocerus mix. If you wait for adults to fly around, you are too late to get good control. Place the cards so that they are not directly irrigated and with the parasitised scales facing away from the sun.

Mites: A reminder to check Fraxinus, Malus, Populus, Prunus, Rhododendron, Salix, Sorbus and Tilia for rust and other bud mites. Spray with Dursban WG, Hallmark WZT (SOLA 2008-2944), Envidor (SOLA 2009-3366) or Dimilin Flo if seen after checking stems and buds with a hand lens.

Blossom/bud wilt: Check for dead buds on Malus resulting from this disease. Spray with Scotts Octave or Signum (SOLA 2009-1842) to control infections on opening buds. Warm days during bud opening can trigger this disease.

Vine weevil: Larvae are active in untreated containers. If a non-edible crop is ready then the only product you can drench is Intercept 70WG. Nematodes can be applied to saleable crops (above 5 degsC) and are available in various pack sizes. Consider incorporating Met52 (Metarhizium anisopliae) into your new batches of compost.

Ronstar granules rates: I often see a variable rate of Ronstar granules on pot tops. When applied by motorised knapsack applicator, try to get the granule to drop from above onto the pot. Good weed control is hard enough without using low rates of herbicide.

Feeding: Maintain programmes on bedding and overwintered herbaceous. Watch for Botrytis on plants and Rhizoctonia on bedding with earlier high levels of water application.

Wetting agents: Adding a super-wetter to a mix for large, shiny-leaved subjects can help get plant protection products to their target and improve efficacy. Consider Headland Rhino, Silwet L-77 or Slippa to give complete coverage of the leaf canopy, even on the underside of the leaf, when spraying over the crop.

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