28 October - Preparing for colder weather

Changeable weather - Warm days and cool nights can leave soft foliage vulnerable to damage from the first frosts. Get rolls of white fleece or Cosytex ready for saleable crops.

Bacteria - For overwinter control of bacterial shot-hole and preventive control of cankers on cherries, apply Cyprokylt tank-mixed with Serenade ASO (EoA 2009-0246). Include a wetting agent for better retention on leaves and stems. Keep foliage dry for at least 48 hours after application.

Revocations - Check the Chemicals Regulation Directorate website, www.pesticides.gov.uk, for products being revoked from storage and use by the end of the year.

Hydrangeas - Wait until after the first few frosts and leaves have fallen off before putting plants under protection. Flower-bud initiation is enhanced by a period of cold - bring them in too early and you will have fewer flowers next season.

Sciarid flies - Apply drenches of nematodes or introduce predatory mites of Hypoaspis sp. or Macrocheles robustulus to areas where larvae are an ongoing issue. A rove beetle (Atheta coriaria) population can also be used if substrate temperatures remain above 15 degsC on heated propagation beds through the winter. Damage from feeding can leave cuttings vulnerable to Phytophthora sp. or Pythium sp.

Applications of Prestop, Revive or Serenade ASO (EoA 2009-0246) can help to create a competitive environment on newly-formed roots with root rot pathogens. Yellow sticky traps work even better at attracting adults in low-light conditions.

Pest clean-up - Use Calypso (EoA 2006-3728), Decis, Gazelle, Hallmark WZT (EoA 2008- 2944) or Toppel 100EC as broad-spectrum, end-of-season, non-IPM sprays to clean up pests under protection.

Ladder exchange - The Health & Safety Executive is running a scheme where you can hand in an old and damaged ladder and get a new one at a discounted price. There is a series of companies throughout the UK offering the scheme, which runs through to November. Check www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladderexchange.htm, for information on your local supplier.

Windy weather - The blustery conditions may prevent opening roof vents, but keep doors and side-vents open as long as possible to keep the air moving.

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates

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