27 July - Water requirements

Irrigation: We have had a good soaking so far but make that sure a close check is made of your crop water requirements, particularly with the changeable weather.

Staff will need to know how to reprogramme irrigation systems on a day-to-day basis to try and avoid diseases such as Botrytis and the range of root rots that can attack vulnerable, stressed crops. Sciarid flies, slugs, snails, moss, liverwort and algae all thrive in damp conditions. Poor light levels and low temperatures this season have affected rooting - make sure that your plants have enough water to grow but do not sit too wet and that thermal screens are pulled back on dull days.

Camellias: Apply Cycocel to camellias for sale next spring at the rate of 3,000ppm. Liquid feeding on these plants should stop at the end of this month.

Spraying: When the sun does come out it is bright and strong, increasing the risk of scorch on soft foliage, particularly if emulsifiable concentrate-type products have just been sprayed. Corbel, Decis, Dynamec, Equity, Nimrod and Sumi-Alpha should therefore only be applied during the cooler times of the day or when the next 24 hours after spraying are forecast to be cloudy, in order to avoid excessive foliage scorch.

Fruit trees: Remove fruit from saleable top fruit, soft fruit, cane and bush fruit unless you have been running an "edible" spray programme as well as following harvest intervals and application timings.

Sclerotinia: Often attacking the plant crown first, this disease can leave roots intact but cause girdling and collapse of the tops. White fan-like mycelium forms over the plant and potting medium. Control with Amistar (EoA 2009-0443), Contans WG or Rovral WG (EoA 2011-3200).

Pest and disease watch: Continue predator-friendly pesticide applications and increase predator numbers to maintain better control of aphids, spider mites, leafhoppers, caterpillars, flea beetles and whitefly. Continue tackling wet-weather diseases such as scab, shot-hole and downy mildew - and include an adjuvant to retain fungicides on foliage for longer. Botrytis is prevalent where there is still air around soft foliage. Powdery mildew is now appearing on crops including acer, amelanchier, Crataegus, Monarda, Quercus and sedum.


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