11 October - Irrigation checks

Winter preparations - Check through your irrigation drain-down plan or create one now. Tunnel covers can still be replaced - air temperatures are still warm enough to ensure that they pull nice and tight. Set down newly potted crops in their final winter positions to save on labour. Make sure that tender and valuable plants are allocated space in protected structures. Hydrangeas will need to go outside for them to produce buds, which happen from exposure to cold conditions. Order Cosytex or fleece for vulnerable crops or check last year's material for holes and damage. Pull back thermal screens to make the most of sunny days. Wash off shade material from glasshouses now.

Weeds - Apply products containing glufosinate-ammonium, diquat or Shark (EAMU 2008-0552) to knock back small, annual broad-leaved weeds on non-crop areas. Tank-mix Chikara and glyphosate to control scrub and woody weeds on non-crop areas. Some plant species are tolerant of soil applications of Chikara. Check the label.

Mites - Factor in an Apollo 50SC spray to outdoor trees and container stock now to control overwintering eggs of spider mites, rust mites and ash mites. Include crops such as Abies, Alnus, Carpinus, ceanothus, choisya, convolvulus, Fraxinus, phormiums, Salix and Tilia. Protected crops need EAMU 2001-2271 or 2001-2268.

Grandfather rights - The National Proficiency Tests Council's level 2 Award in the "Safe Use of Pesticides, replacing 'Grandfather Rights'" will be available from 30 November for all those who are currently using the rights to apply professional pesticides. The deadline to achieve qualification is 26 November 2015.

Predators - Biological controls may still be effective but some are affected by day length and overnight temperatures. Gap-up plants to help predators move through crops.

Grass weed control - Aramo (EAMU 2008-2813) can be used over a wide range of outdoor ornamental subjects to control annual meadow grass even as mature, flowering plants.

Watering - Make sure crops are still irrigated to avoid drought, especially any that are newly potted. Plants can also suffer from overwatering on dull days. Apply an anti-transpirant to evergreen plants post-potting to control excessive transpiration.

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