Sprayer calibration: Remember to take the time to calibrate all equipment used - making sure that the right product is applied at the right rate will reduce pest, disease and weed resistance over the coming year and hopefully provide better control, too.
Check whether your droplet size is appropriate to the crop by attaching water-sensitive paper to the underside of leaves. The paper is incredibly sensitive and will show even the finest droplet activity.
Revocations: Robut 20 (MAPP 13437) has an end use and storage date of 29 February 2012.
Water discharge: If you are planning new container beds, include water recycling in the scheme. Legislation is now focusing on water discharged from drains - water recycling will help you in controlling any contaminated discharges from your site. Use the FFIS grant scheme for future projects.
Replant checks: Note previous locations of field-grown sorbus, Malus, Crataegus, prunus, Pyrus and other Rosaceae subjects to avoid replant issues. A 12-year gap is advised between replanting. Soil sterilisation may help to reduce the effects of this complex disorder.
Caterpillars: Control caterpillars on protected ornamentals, particularly young bedding material, with Dipel DF, Conserve or Steward. Use Decis, Runner (EoA 2008-2903) or Toppel 100EC in non-IPM systems.
Windbreaks: These give a 50 per cent reduction in speed for five times the height, tapering off to 40 per cent at seven times and 20 per cent at 15 times the height. Solid windbreaks create more turbulence than open ones.
Fuchsia cuttings: Monitor new batches of cutting material for the notifiable gall mite. It can survive in temperatures down to 5 degsC and overwinter in bud scales. Spray rooted plants with Dynamec or Majestik before symptoms show - leaf reddening and deformation. Amblyseius californicus can feed on these pests during summer months.
Choisya: Maintain applications of slug pellets on choisya to prevent snail damage. Use Ferramol Max where you have customers or animals present.
Leaf spotting: Spray Octave or Switch once onto protected crops to control fungal leaf spots that can attack plants during mild winters. Focus sprays on Cordyline, Helleborus, phormium, Photinia and yucca.
John Adlam, Managing Director, Dove Associates