11 December - Sciarid fly control

Octave Purchase your supplies of Octave now while there are still stocks available. It has been a mainstay product for ornamentals for many years but is no longer being manufactured.

Spray programmes In the winter period use the online UK Pesticide Guide or CSL Liaison to check FRAC and IRAC numbers of products you use to avoid unnecessary resistance issues next season. Add bioactive products to your spray programme including AQ10 (EAMU 2012-1324), DiPel DF, Naturalis-L, Prestop (EAMU 2012-0564), Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) and T34 Biocontrol (EAMU 2012-1118). Where some trees have edible characteristics - such as fruit trees or herbs - consider putting together an "edible" spray programme for them for 2016 to eliminate residue risks.

Spraying Systemic products have little activity on dormant crops right now. Restrictions on the number of applications for many products such as Signum mean that we do not want to waste those on dormant plants.

Vent gear Grease up all your vent gear - motors, racks and bearings can get damaged during the busy summer months through lack of maintenance. Get your staff to read Health & Safety Executive leaflet AIS12, which provides good safety advice for glasshouse work.

Botrytis Open tunnel and glasshouse doors and vents as often as possible to encourage maximum airflow. If irrigation is needed, apply it in the morning so that foliage has time to dry off during the daytime. Allowing the leaf surfaces to dry once every 24 hours significantly reduces the risk of infection.

Cold Stores Check the humidity levels of your cold store. Plants in crates and trolleys can dry out more than you might think with fan-assisted units. Cover crops with white fleece or hessian, but watch out for Botrytis.

Choisya Monitor watering to avoid Pythium, Phytophthora and Fusarium infections. Remove any dead and dying plants. Drench the remaining crop - within their irrigation regime - using Fenonemal, Prestop or Previcur Energy (EAMU 2011-1557).

Heated propagation beds Control sciarid and shore fly larvae using nematodes (Steinernema feltiae) or introduce Hypoaspis sp. or Macrocheles mites. Alternatively, Atheta coriaria can be used if compost temperatures remain above 15 degsC over the course of the winter. Root rotting from feeding damage can be prevented using Trianum P, Revive P or Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) - or Prestop if your cuttings have rooted. Yellow sticky traps attract adults away from compost surfaces and foliage.

John Adlam Managing director, Dove Associates

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