15 April - Check paeonies for signs of blight

Paeony blight: Check for Botrytis on tree paeonies and other larger varieties.

This shows up as dark-purple blotches on the stems near the soil surface. Left untouched the stems will rot off and fall over. Spray with Amistar (SOLA 2009-0443), Rovral WG, Scotts Octave, Serenade ASO (SOLA 2009-0246) or Switch if seen.

Capsids: The common green capsid will cause leaf damage to a range of shrubs and herbaceous. They hatch out in April onwards and create small circular holes in the newer foliage. Check outdoor crops of Caryopteris, choisya, dahlia, forsythia, hydrangea and roses. Control with Calypso (SOLA 2008-2831), Decis, Hallmark WZT (SOLA 2008-2944) or Toppel 100 EC.

Aphids: Populations are increasing on new leaf tips and stems. Check your species to introduce the right predators or spray with products such as Aphox, Calypso (SOLAs required), Chess WG (SOLA 2008-2834), Gazelle, Majestik, Savona or SB Plant Invigorator. Decis or Toppel 100EC are available for non-IPM systems. Majestik, Savona and SB Plant Invigorator can be used during the despatch period - they have a rapid knock-down effect and relatively good handling safety for staff.

Protected crops and two-spotted spider mite (TSM): If TSM is active under protection then order predators now. Predatory mites cannot pass from plant to plant if foliage is not touching so make sure that predator distribution is widespread on these crops. You can lay white fleece on foliage as a bridge during early growth stages. Rotate products this season to avoid insecticide resistance. Use Apollo 50SC (SOLA required), Borneo (SOLA 2008-1216), Dynamec, Majestik, Naturalis-L, Oberon (SOLA 2004-1718), SB Plant Invigorator or Sequel (SOLA required). Products containing bifenthrin (eg Talstar 80 Flo) can be used in non-IPM systems until 30 May.

SPS forms Remember to return/complete online forms before 16 May.

Midge: Check Crataegus (particularly 'Paul's Scarlet') for the gall tip midge. Eggs are deposited in April and May and infected tips fail to grow normally and develop as distorted rosette-like galls instead. Gazelle, Hallmark WZT (SOLA 2008-2944) or Equity give good control.

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