Pansies Once pansies have been transplanted make sure plant growth regulator and downy mildew programmes are in place.
Downy mildew Wet weather has brought more incidence of this disease in recent weeks. Control products available include Amistar (SOLA 2009-0443), Aliette 80WG, chlorothalonil, Fubol Gold WG, Previcur Energy (SOLA 2008-2667), Proplant, Revus (SOLA 2008-2867), Stroby WG, Subdue, Valbon (SOLA 2007-0240) and Vivid (SOLA 2008-2884).
Two-spotted spider mite This is the time of year when these mites are establishing on the new growth of a range of plants including Choisya, Crinodendron, Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Fuchsia, Hydrangea, Primula, Rosa, Sambucus and Viola. Control with Phytoseiulus and Feltiella predators or acaricides such as Borneo (SOLA 2008-1216), Dynamec, Eradicoat, Floramite 240SC (forest nurseries only), Majestik, Oberon, SB Plant Invigorator, Sequel (SOLA required for protected crops) or Talstar 80 Flo.
Skin rashes Remember that high daytime temperatures put staff handling plants with irritating sap such as Euphorbia and Ruta at risk from rashes. Suggest that everyone involved wears rubber gloves.
Whitefly Do you experience a distinct lack of black scales on plants where whitefly control by Encarsia is carried out? Don't just give up but look closer at what you do. Spraying bifenthrin even three months earlier can destroy predator populations. Place cards so they are not directly irrigated and ensure the black scale side points north, away from direct sunlight. This will make all the difference to initial hatching. Introduce banker plants of Lavatera, where a steady population of both whitefly and Encarsia can exist, acting as an Encarsia spring board to your crop.
Escallonia A reminder for the final application of a magnesium chelate at the rate of 1:200 as an overhead spray with Librel Liquid Mg or Vytel Liquid Magnesium. This can be added to most pesticide sprays as a tank mix. As with all chelate sprays, make sure the weather is cool when you spray the foliage.
Leatherjackets This pest is still hatching. Check in liner pots and sand beds where they can migrate into pots. Treat the sand or pots with nematodes or with an application on outdoor crops of Draza Wetex slug pellets. Spannit Granules are effective for sand-bed leatherjacket control.