Poppies The bacteria that cause a black oozing from the flowerheads and stems are still active. If you want to keep the flowerheads they must be sprayed with Croptex Fungex; otherwise remove them.
Shading Checks should be made every day to ensure the maximum amount of useful light is available to newly potted crops as we enter the autumn months. Keep shading areas under review, not just pulled over and forgotten.
Bud blindness A combination of factors including low temperatures and low light levels can affect concentrations of plant growth regulators in many crops. This can lead to fewer buds being produced if plants are exposed to long periods of cloudy weather. Moving vulnerable plants such as Clematis outside to a sheltered but sunny position may help.
Slugs Wet weather encourages slugs, so apply Ferramol pellets to vulnerable plants now. The formulation for Decoy Wetex prolongs effectiveness in field situations. Parasitic nematodes are effective in prolonged wet conditions, with Nemaslug applications on plants like Hosta providing a better image when the plant is sold than displaying pellets.
Health and safety Health and safety is often taken off the priority list during busy times, so check your policy statement for all the hazards on your site and bring it up to date. You should review it every year to ensure all new hazards are included. Are all your staff who carry out crop protection work adequately trained and certificated for the work they do?
Irrigation How efficient have your watering processes been this year? Spend time going through the Horticultural Development Company fact sheets on water efficiency and carry out a test with the cups. The water calculator, supplied on CD, is a worthwhile tool in helping to use your water more efficiently.
Mist units With the cooler nights and shorter days, make sure that mist units are turned off at night. This will avoid misting at night and the rooting media becoming over-wet.
Powdery mildew This disease remains 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 chlorothalonil, Corbel, Frupica SC (SOLA 2008-2853), Nimrod, Signum (SOLA 2009-1842), Stroby WG, Switch or Talius (SOLA 2009-0420).
John Adlam is managing director of Dove Associates, see recent articles.