20 April - Prepare to apply compost teas

Compost tea Clean out equipment thoroughly to start fortnightly applications on new foliage. Compost tea contains beneficial bacteria, protozoa and fungi that increase competition on plant surfaces with plant pathogens to help prevent early disease attack on vulnerable crops.

FFIS More than 1,000 applications were received in the first round of the Farming & Forestry Improvement Scheme, which provides grant aid to the agricultural and horticultural sectors. A second round is expected to open in early May. Detailed information on your crop production and proposed project will be required along with justification of benefits on-site and for the local environment. Your project may require planning permission, which needs to be in place before you apply. Water management projects will need detailed plans on where it can be collected and stored. Three quotes will be required for the work. This scheme excludes the purchase of second-hand equipment.

Caterpillars Apply Conserve, Decis (non-IPM), Dimilin Flo, Insegar WG (non-IPM), Majestik, Runner (EoA 2012-0447 or 2012-0448), Steward (EoA 2008-2905), Toppel 100EC (non-IPM) or Tracer (EoA 2008-2908) if seen. Pheromone lures can be placed in Delta traps and hung above vulnerable protected crops to identify damaging species for timely insecticide applications. Trichogramma parasitic wasps will attack carnation tortrix moths at egg stage. See feature, p30.

Leaf spots Control by applying Amistar (EoA 2009-0443), Octave, Signum (EoA 2009-1842) or Switch to ajuga, aquilegia, campanula, chrysanthemum, Crataegus, cornus, dianthus, euonymus, fuchsia, Garrya, hebe, iris, Photinia, Populus, primula, rhododendron and vinca.

Blossom wilt Recent dry conditions have reduced the risk of infections, but check cherries, plums, damsons and apricots. Prevent with Systhane 20EW (EoAs required) and if the disease is present, control with Signum (EoAs required), Switch (EoA 2010-3092) or Indar 5EW (EoA 2003-1372).

Capsid bugs This bright-green elusive pest feeds on buds and young leaves of Caryopteris, choisya, dahlia, forsythia, hydrangea and roses, producing small holes that distort as foliage develops. Control with Calypso (EoAs required), Decis, Hallmark WZT (EoA 2008-2944) or Toppel 100EC.

John Adlam, Managing Director, Dove Associates

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