Bacterial infections Prevent peach leaf curl and early shot-hole infections by applying Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) onto bare stems of almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums when weather permits.
Bedding plants Disinfect all production areas prior to seed sowing. With few herbicides safe to use under protection near bedding crops in the main growing season, control overwintering weed infestations and any emerging weed seedlings now. These weeds can act as secondary hosts to a range of bedding pests and diseases.
Botrytis Mild weather this winter has increased the amount of Botrytis seen on protected
crops. Good spacing and airflow are important this month. If pots are dry, irrigate early in the morning and choose bright sunny days. Open tunnel doors to change the air and reduce humidity. Prevent infections by applying compost tea. Control active infections using Rovral WG (EAMUs required) and Serenade ASO (EAMUs required). Re-apply compost tea as soon as possible after fungicide applications.
Pesticides Now is the time to review your chemical store. Look for any gaps in your pest/disease/weed control programmes and check recent revocation information using websites including the Chemicals Regulation Division pesticide database. Having a forward-looking approach to revocations will enable the timely use of pesticides. It is also worth checking for newly approved products to see whether any can be incorporated into your IPM programme.
Hydrangeas Mild weather can lead to weak flower initiation. Make sure that crops are exposed to frosts to kick-start flower development.
Choisya Order liner plants now for early potting to ensure better crop establishment and a reduced risk of root rot attack. Prevent snail damage on established plants using approved slug pellets. Go to www.getpelletwise.co.uk for useful and practical information on safe pellet applications.
Frost protection Use Compo Frost Protect or Cropaid on selected vulnerable crops to avoid unnecessary frost damage on flower buds and other plant parts.
Moles Control adults before they breed and have young. Trapping is the common control but needs skill and care. Gas tablets work well too but staff need to be trained and qualified to apply them. Go to www.ramps-uk.org.
Leaf spots Apply Rovral WG (EAMUs required) or Switch to protected evergreen crops to control any overwintered fungal leaf spot pathogens and enable new growth to come through unaffected.
JOHN ADLAM Managing director, Dove Associates