4 March - Adelgids and aphids

Adelgids Check Abies, Picea, Pinus, Pseudotsuga, Juniperus and Larix for the typical fluffy wax deposits that are exuded from pests' bodies.

The developing nymphs can be found in the pineapple-like galls produced later on. Control using Decis, Dursban WG or Hallmark WZT (EAMU 2008-2944) plus a wetting agent (depending on product formulation and instructions) to penetrate the "wax". Control sooty moulds using Rovral WG (EAMU 2011-3200), Octave or Switch.

Aphids Control using contact-acting products now including Aphox, Decis (non-IPM), Hallmark WZT (non-IPM, EAMU 2008-2944), Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator.

Botrytis Maintain airflow through protected crops to reduce the risk of Botrytis infections.

Dianthus Newly potted crops may benefit from a crown spray of Octave, Prestop (EAMUs required), Serenade ASO (EAMUs required) or Switch to control Fusarium spores. Control sciarid larvae using Atheta, Hypoaspis, Macrocheles or Steinernema feltiae nematodes. Do not use Atheta and Hypoaspis together.

Field weeds Leave a one-week interval after preparing land for planting to encourage weed seedlings to emerge and then burn them off with a contact herbicide including Reglone, Shark (EAMUs required) or products containing glufosinate-ammonium a few days before planting. This will help to improve the effectiveness of subsequently applied residual herbicides.

Nutrition Take advantage of any mild and dry days to start applying top dressing products to container-grown stock such as Sincron or Floranid Permanent, which break down and leave a better visual look to container surfaces. Use of a 1:1:1 horticultural-grade fertiliser is advised for field crops - the potash needs to come from potassium sulphate to avoid leaf damage.

Plane anthracnose Apply preventive fungicides such as Bravo 500 (EAMU 2011-1130) or Dithane 945 (EAMUs required) to outdoor crops. Check for small, brown patches that develop underneath leaf buds in the next few weeks. Prevent infection spreading into leaves and causing leaf-drop by applying a systemic fungicide in early summer.

Slugs Choose products containing ferric phosphate. Read the best practice information at www.getpelletwise.co.uk if using products containing metaldehyde.

White blister Control on Alyssum, Arabis, Aubretia, Erysimum and Hesperis using Amistar (EAMU 2009-0443), Folio Gold (EAMUs required), Fubol Gold WG (EAMU 2013-2288) or Signum (EAMU 2012-2141).

John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates

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