19 February - Weed & pest control

Weed control Control weed growth on cleared container beds with a tank mix of glufosinate-ammonium or Reglone plus Venzar Flowable or Flexidor 125. These product combinations will burn off any weeds present and help prevent re-emergence this spring. Clean up liverwort with Mogeton (EAMU 2015-2273).

Scale insects Check Camellia, citrus, Euonymus, Hedera and Taxus. Apply Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona or SB Plant Invigorator.

Aphids In dry weather, watch out for early aphid attack on pines, Juniperus 'Skyrocket', Picea abies and Picea pungens that causes needle drop later on. Use directed sprays into crop centres of Aphox, Decis (non-IPM), Hallmark WZT (non-IPM, EAMU 2008-2944) or Pyrethrum 5EC.

Top dressing It is worth waiting for at least three weeks after a fertiliser application before applying any herbicides to avoid destroying the herbicide layer. Top up nutritional levels of stock plants now.

Bacterial infections Prevent peach leaf curl and early shot-hole infections by applying a tank mix of Cuprokylt and Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) onto bare stems of almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums when weather permits.

Liverwort Clean up liverwort on cleared outdoor growing beds with Venzar Flowable. Work by the HDC has shown that Chikara and Springbok (EAMU 2014-3016) applied to non-cropped areas will also provide some control effect. Remember, Mogeton (EAMU 2015-2273) is also available.

Moles Control adults before they breed and have young. Trapping is the common control but needs skill and care. Gas tablets work well too but staff need to be trained and qualified to apply them. Go to www.ramps-uk.org.

Azalea gall Galls can develop on young leaves in tight foliage, so keep air moving around protected crops. Prevent infection by applying Cuprokylt (outdoor only EAMU 2015-1176) or Signum (EAMU 2012-2141).

Top dressing Check the conductivity of overwintered crops and top dress using Floranid Permanent, Osmocote Topdress NT or Vitax Q4 Top.

Rust Check Mahonia 'Apollo' and Bellis and spray Nimrod, Signum (EAMU 2012-2141) or Systhane 20EW if seen. Do not spray if a frost is predicted that night because foliage damage can occur.

Botrytis The mild winter weather has increased infection incidents, so keep crops sufficiently spaced and ensure adequate airflow. Irrigate early in the morning on bright sunny days and open the doors of tunnels to change high-humidity air.

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates

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