17 February - Be aware of sale and use deadlines

Revocations Betanal Expert, Ethosat 500 and Nortron Flo have a final sales date of 28 February 2012 and end use and storage date of 28 February 2013.

Aphids Keep checking plants and hedges of (approx equal to) leylandii, Chamaecyparis, Cupressus, juniper and Picea and spray with Aphox, Decis, Hallmark WZT (EoA 2008-2944) or SB Plant Invigorator if these small, brown pests are seen.

Notifiable pests and diseases Use this time to download the Food & Environment Research Agency's comprehensive information sheets at www.fera.defra.gov.uk. Outbreak and interception information is also available showing where and when notifiable pests and diseases have been found in the UK.

Drains Do you know where your drains go? Staff in charge of emergency spillages will need briefing on drain locations and easy access to your drain plan to make sure adequate systems are in place and absorbent materials available to prevent pollution. Health & Safety Executive leaflet PPG21 and Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products provide practical guidance. High winds and rainfall can blow pots and other rubbish into ditches, blocking pipelines under roadways, resulting in flooding.

PCN If you are renting fields this year, check to see whether they are subject to potato cyst nematode regulations and, if so, whether they are classified as "clean". You may need to carry out and pay for PCN testing before you hand back the land to prove it is free of this pest. A test for verticillium wilt may also be prudent if you are considering planting acer, catalpa, Cercis, robinia, Rosaceae species or Tilia.

Scale insects Check imported and unsold plants from last season, particularly citrus, Taxus, ivy, euonymus and camellia. Control winter-stage scale with Spraying Oil to prevent egg hatching. Decis, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator and Spruzit may also be effective now.

Phytophthora Suppress Phytophthora and Pythium by drenching Aliette 80WG, Previcur Energy (EoAs required), Filex/Proplant, Prestop, Serenade ASO (EoA 2009-0246) or Subdue to Chamaecyparis and cytisus spp. Subdue, Prestop or Previcur Energy can be added to compost mixes to provide protection through the first potting season.

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates

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