From the nursery

Heaters - Use this summer time to have your heaters serviced and made ready for use in the late autumn. Get the job out of the way so that you do not have a panic when the frosts start.

Axit GR - Be advised that the final sales date of 20 September is approaching for this product. The use-up date is 20 March 2009 so you will need to order it this week.

Asters - Plants of Aster, Penstemon and Phlox can all suffer wilt diseases at this time of the year. If you see sections of the plant wilting or even a whole plant suddenly wilt during periods of high temperature then this is the most likely cause. Spray these plants with Signum, Cercobin WG (SOLA 1384-2008), Amistar or Scotts Octave to control the spread of either Fusarium or Verticillium wilt.

Buxus - Wet, warm and humid weather will increase the risk of box blight. Control with Signum or Switch and routinely apply at monthly intervals. A winter wash with Certis Spraying Oil together with pruning out damaged branches will help to keep your bushes less prone to an attack. Check that box sucker is not to blame; this is where the dead areas of a plant have curled foliage with a white fluffy growth surrounding the insect inside the curling.

Leaf hopper - This pest is a particular problem on French lavenders. Consider Chess WG at the SOLA rate, Gazelle, SB Plant Invigorator or Majestik.

Pansies - Once pansies have been transplanted make sure plant growth regulator and downy mildew programmes are in place.

Scale insects - Scale insects are still mobile. If seen they should be sprayed with Chess WG at the off-label rate. Any sooty mould seen from the honeydew can be cleaned up with Rovral WP.

Health and safety - Health and safety is often taken off the priority list during busy times so check your health-and-safety policy statement for all the hazards on your site and bring it up to date. You should review your policy statement 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?

Hard water - Spraying with hard water can reduce the efficacy of pesticides. If you use hard water add the foliar feed Poliverdol, which will considerably improve pesticide efficiency.

Root aphids - Check for the presence of root aphids on pines and Ribes and control with a drench of chlorpyrifos.

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