30 October - Disease checks

Xanthomonas pruni - A notifiable disease that seems to attack laurels primarily but can affect all Prunus spp. Movement restrictions are being implemented for 12 months.

A test kit can be used to check for this disease. It should not be confused with Pseudomonas syringae pv mors-prunorum, which causes shot-hole.

Hydrangeas - Exposure to first frosts promotes flower bud initiation.

Compost tea - Change to monthly applications now.

Virus - If there are a few plants showing mottling within a crop, remove and destroy them to prevent infections spreading from cultural work such as trimming.

Slugs - Apply Ferramol pellets, especially during wet weather.

Check www.getpelletwise.co.uk if products with metaldehyde are used.

Rust - This disease is still active. Check Althaea, Euphorbia, heuchera and Hypericum, and control before plants defoliate using Amistar (EAMU 2009-0443), Bumper 250EC (EAMU 2009-0707) or Signum (EAMU 2012-2141). Clear up and remove fallen leaves.

Phoma - This is still evident on ceanothus, Viburnum and vincas. Control damage using Octave, Signum or Switch.

Mites - Remember your Apollo 50SC spray onto crops attacked by spider mites this season. An EAMU (2001-2271) is required for protected crops.

Neonicotinoids - Biscaya, Calypso and Gazelle SG are all approved for use on ornamental crops using onand/or off-label approvals and work well in a balanced IPM-based control programme in the growing season.

Choisya - First signs are patchy dieback or sudden plant collapse. Plants are prone to Pythium, Phytophthora and Fusarium so keep them on the drier side this autumn. Long periods of wet compost encourage root rot diseases. Drench affected plants within their irrigation regime with Fenonemal, Previcur Energy (EAMU 2011-1557) or Subdue. In 2015, consider using Plant Trust on vulnerable crops for a slow release of fosetyl-aluminium. Biologically active products include Prestop, T34 Biocontrol (EAMU 2012-1118) or Trianum P.

Green compost - Applying PAS 100 green compost as a mulch or incorporating it into soils has multiple benefits, including disease suppression and moisture retention. See http://compostsuppliers.wrap.org.uk for your nearest supplier.

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