Aphids - Products that can be used as a foliar spray with a short-term effect on predators include Aphox, Chess WG, Eradicoat, Majestik, Naturalis-L, Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator and Spruzit. Focus sprays, avoiding bright warm weather, on Fagus, privet, prunus, philadelphus and viburnum and any other crops showing new foliage. Non-IPM sprays include Calypso (EoAs required), Decis, Dursban WG, Gazelle SG, Hallmark WZT (EoA 2008-2944) and Toppel 100EC.
Disease watch - Warm, humid weather increases the risk of box blight, downy mildew and scab. For box blight, control with routine applications of Octave, Signum (EoA 2009-1842) or Switch. For scab, continue your routine programme using an eradicant followed by a protectant on Chaenomeles, Crataegus, Malus, pieris, pyracantha, Pyrus and sorbus. Downy mildew can be controlled with a wide range of products including Aliette 80WG, Amistar (EoA 2009-0443), Fubol Gold WG (EoA 2012-0217), Invader (EoA 2012-0109), Paraat (EoA 2011-2585), Previcur Energy (EoAs required), Revus (EoA 2008-2867), Signum (EoA 2009-1842), Standon Fullstop or Valbon (EoAs required).
New products - T34 Biocontrol based on a specific strain of Trichoderma can provide preventive and curative control of Fusarium infections on dianthus and carnations. An EoA is available for ornamental plant production under code 2012-1118. Research shows that it also has activity against Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Sclerotinia.
Soil sterilisation - The soil is warm enough for Basamid. Covering of treated soil with polythene is not essential but will improve control and keep areas weed-free until planting preparations need to be carried out.
Pine shoot moth - Look for gumming around buds and stunted leader growth on pines. Small yellow/brown larva of the pine shoot moth can be found sitting inside buds in the hollow stem.
Spray - Decis, Dursban WG or Toppel 100EC using high water rates and a wetting agent.
Wilt diseases - Plants of aster, dianthus, hebe, penstemon and phlox can all suffer wilt diseases at this time of year. Spray affected plants with Amistar (EoA 2009-0443), Octave, Signum (EoA 2009-1842), Switch or T34 Biocontrol (on-label or EoA 2012-1118) to control the spread of either Fusarium or Verticillium wilts.