Spraying When spraying over crops under protection make sure the leaves have dried off soon after spraying to try to ensure maximum effect. Do not spray plants that are frozen and consider the use of fogging machines or smokes to reduce water applications to pots.
Fuchsia cuttings Keep a look out for the notifiable gall mite on any new batches of cutting material. I would suggest that a close inspection of all bought-in material is carried out too. Spraying against the pest before rooting has taken place is a risky strategy as some products have leaf-cuticle softeners that can increase moisture loss from cuttings during this critical period. I would suggest that sprays are applied once rooting has commenced and young plants can replenish internal moisture levels. Applications of Gyro (non-IPM systems) or Dynamec are effective when applied three times at four-day intervals.
Moles There has been a surge in mole activity over the past two weeks. It is important to control them before they breed and have their young. Trapping needs skill and care to be effective but gas tablets can be very effective - however, make sure your staff are trained and qualified to administer them. The Rodenator is also available.
Field crops The last week of January is often dry and thus is an ideal time to make that first nitrogen topdressing to tree crops. In line with current legislation, consider slow-release nitrogen products such as Entec, which regulate the nitrogen flow and reduce run-off and water pollution.
Vine weevil The period of larval activity will start as soon as the growing-media temperatures in tunnels and under cold glass get above 6 degsC. Check those subjects you know were not protected during the egg-laying time last autumn and take action by drenching with Intercept 70WG, avoiding frosty conditions. You can also apply nematodes if the growing-media temperature is consistently above 6 degsC.
White blister Check for white blister on Aubretia and Arabis, and spray with Amistar (SOLA 2008-2812) if you see the white, fluffy growth on the underside of the leaves. If you grow ornamental cabbage or even young cabbage plants, these too can be affected by this disease. Spraying cabbage plants requires you to comply with SOLA 2008-1356.
John Adlam is the managing director of Dove Associate