From the nursery

Shot hole: Apply the second Cyprokylt spray on cherries to gain overwintering control of bacterial shot hole and potential canker infections. Spray in mid-October or at least once more before leaf drop. The copper products do not stick too well to the leaf so they can be easily washed off after application by rain. You need at least 48 hours of contact to get good control. You may need a second application if the first is lost too quickly.

Cyclamen Botrytis: Keep the humidity of cyclamens under tight control to avoid the need to spray. If you spray when the flowers are opening it can result in petal spotting. My experience has shown that not all types of products will be safe on open flowers. I have found that the best forms of defence are wider spacing, careful watering and adequate ventilation.

Rats and mice: I have seen evidence of both rats and mice on nurseries during the past few weeks. Rats can dig into pots and remove quantities of compost, whereas mice tend to strip the bark off the lower stems and leave the slithers of bark lying around the site of chewing. Control in tunnels is important for both staff and plants, and trapping or control with Drat Rat Bait, Neosorexa or Tomcat 2 are effective on both. It is essential to change the product with each delivery to avoid resistance in the rat population. A recent court case related to birds of prey that were killed by eating dead rats and the grower was prosecuted by Defra for not following the code of practice and removing them - be safe and read the label.

Hydrangeas: Do not bring hydrangeas under cover until we have had the first few frosts and the leaves have fallen off. The flowerbud initiation is enhanced by the period of cold. If you bring them in too early you will have fewer flowers next season.

Powdery mildew: This disease is still around on container and field crops. It is advisable to spray and control any spores that may be present on the foliage; these will stay on the dropped leaves and re-infect new growth next year. Control field-grown crops with products such as Corbel, Talius or Nimrod.

Downy mildew: I am still seeing a fair amount of damage on pansies. Spray Aliette 80WG on pansies but watch out for petal spotting on flowering plants.

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