Specific Off-Label Approval: Now called "extension of authorisation" (EoA). Go online and visit the website www.pesticides.gov.uk, click on "Databases" and download your hard copies.
Mite control: Apply Apollo 50SC to outdoor crops of trees and shrubs that have had rust or spider mite problems including ash, Malus, sorbus and Picea 'Conica'. Asters and some autumn bedding plants are prone to tarsonemid mites, which cause bud deformation, so apply this product to plants under protection. Clean up persistent spider mite populations in non-IPM systems using Equity or Hallmark WZT (EoA 2008-2944).
Oxalis: If corms are showing signs of mould at compost level, spray the tops with Bravo 500 or AgriGuard Chlorothalonil (both require an EoA), Rovral WG or Switch.
Winter protection: Show staff in charge of the nursery's irrigation draw-down the location of drain valves for irrigation lines and mains. Solenoid valve tops should be loosened and lever valves set to half open. Irrigators are also vulnerable to sharp frosts if the draining down programme has not started yet. Pumps, sprayers, fertiliser injectors and irrigators will need draining, too. Check antifreeze levels in tractors and potting machine compressors that collect water every day they are running, particularly at this time of year.
Heaters: Make sure that winter-grade oil is put in heaters, especially if you use diesel oil (35 second), which will prevent fuel gelling. Premium grade paraffin in direct-fired paraffin heaters (28 second) will prevent leaf scorch from the sulphurous products of combustion. I see less damage with Priva heaters, which seem to be the most efficient in this category.
Field preparation: Plough land now, particularly if it is needed for spring planting and is prone to waterlogging. Frosts will help to break land down for better structure next season. If we have a hard winter, then land left unploughed until the last minute is often in a better condition.
Grease bands: Apply grease bands to stock plants and trees used for bud wood. With few winter wash products and warmer winters of late, these age-old tested methods still effectively reduce winter insect levels.