2 September - Rats, bark beetles and hard water

Rats: If your nursery is near cereal crops, start to check your rat bait boxes.

After harvest, they very often migrate to safer places. While they can do damage to container-grown plants, they are also a hazard to your staff as carriers of Weil's disease.

Bark boring beetles: Control emerging adults by spraying Dursban WG or Equity onto affected tree stems.

Hard water: Spraying with hard water can reduce the efficacy of pesticides. If you use hard water, add the foliar feed Poliverdol or add the adjuvants Spraymac or Li-700 to your tank.

Irrigation: Efficient application rates and scheduling of drip-irrigation systems on trees can be refined by using a small device from Delta-T called SM300 and a logger. Data is produced graphically that can be used to increase or decrease application rates. These pieces of equipment can be used to demonstrate your increased efficiency measures to the Environment Agency.

Green manures: Consider growing a frost-tolerant species such as rocket (Eruca sativa) over the winter months on unused land to reduce erosion risk and improve soil structure. Sow now to establish before the colder months to achieve good biomass for incorporation in the spring.

Soil sterilisation: Continue to use Basamid soil sterilisation while soil temperatures are warm. Moist soil is ideal. Avoid applications in very wet or very dry conditions. Apply polythene immediately after applications to achieve effective control.

Powdery mildew: This disease is still showing on acer, Crataegus, oaks, Ribes, roses and a range of herbaceous species. Use Corbel, Cyflamid (SOLA 2007-0512), Folicur, Lyric or Nimrod on outdoor crops. Talius (SOLA 2011-2009-0420) is available for forest nurseries. Follow up with Systhane 20EW.

Whitefly: With predators, use Chess WG (SOLA 2008-2834), Majestik, Nemolt (SOLA 2010-2131), Oberon (SOLA 2004-1718) or SB Plant Invigorator. Mycotal and Naturalis-L are useful when humidity levels are greater than 60 per cent under protection.

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