12 December - Sprays and soils

Spray programmes: Use the online UK Pesticide Guide (www.plantprotection.co.uk) or CSL Liaison to check resistance codes of products used 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 (fruit trees, herbs), consider putting together an "edible" spray programme for them for 2015 to eliminate residue risks.

Spraying Oil: Apply this product to dormant crops that suffered from mite, mealybug and scale insect attack this season. It is an extremely effective winter wash. Avoid applications before, during and after frost.

Soil sampling: The long growing season has meant lower than normal nutrient levels in fields.

Take soil samples on warm days (avoid sampling frozen land) and use the results to produce an accurate nutrient management plan, especially important for NVZs and Catchment Sensitive Farming. Test for plant parasitic nematodes (including potato cyst) and for the presence of Verticillium wilt (this is a six-week test) before taking on any new land.

Spraying: Avoid using systemic products now. Restrictions on the number of applications for many products means we do not want to waste them on dormant plants.

Winter weed control: Products including Flexidor 125 and Butisan S can be applied in the dormant season. For bittercress, willowherb, pearlwort and mouse-ear chickweed, use Chikara, Devrinol, products containing pendimethalin, Shark (EAMU 2008-0552), Sumimax (EAMU 2008-2881) or Venzar Flowable. Bullet XL and Roundup will control pearlwort. Chikara and Sumimax work well on groundsel. Check crop tolerance by looking through HDC projects HNS 111, 132, 139a, 155, 166 and 175. Some products will have restrictions on what can be safely planted as a following crop.

Botrytis: Check protected crops, crops that are pot-thick and evergreens. Open tunnel and glasshouse doors and vents as often as possible to encourage airflow. Should irrigation be needed, apply in the morning so that foliage has time to dry off during the daytime. Allowing leaf surfaces to dry once every 24 hours significantly reduces the risk of infection.

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