Casoron G If you are lucky enough to still have some of this product left, then remember the use-by date for all stocks is 18 March. Do not apply if frost is predicted or present and also avoid using in areas that flood.
Moles There has been a surge in mole activity over the past few weeks. It is important to control them before they breed and have young. Trapping is the common control but does need skill and care to be effective. Gas tablets can be very effective but make sure that your staff are trained and qualified to administer them.
Damping-off Damping-off of seedling material is now upon us. We have a range of products suitable for seedling bedding, including Aliette 80WG, Basilex, Cuprokylt FL, Filex, Proplant or Subdue.
Bellis rust If seen, spray with Nimrod followed seven days later with Systhane 20EW. Do not spray if a frost is predicted that night or foliage damage can occur.
Insect control Check closely on over-wintering plants for leaf hoppers, aphids and whitefly. Control by rapid knock-down products such as nicotine, Majestik or Decis, but avoid using synthetic pyrethrins if you are going to use an integrated pest management programme this year.
Pine aphid If the weather stays dry, conditions are right for the emergence of aphids on pines — Juniperus 'Skyrocket', Picea abies and Picea pungens — that cause needle drop later in the summer period. Check your plants now and spray with Aphox, Decis or Hallmark WZT (SOLA 2008-2944). Use a wetting agent to get good penetration and coverage of the product on these small brown aphids, found aggregated at the branch axils. Make a close inspection because they are small and hard to spot but do a lot of damage later in the season. Frosts will have an effect on the aphid population but a visual check is still important.
Weed control Use milder days to spray Reglone or Shark (SOLA 2008-0552) over dormant herbaceous perennials to kill off the leftover weeds from last season and give you a clean start. Application of residual herbicides to field-grown crops such as Devrinol, Stomp 400 SC (SOLA 2008-2923), Artist, Flexidor 125, Kerb formulations (forest nurseries only) or Butisan S can be carried out on suitable spraying days. Avoid spraying these residual herbicides during heavy rainfall or they can be washed down into the root zone and cause foliar damage. Check through Weed Control Handbook for crop tolerance.
John Adlam is managing director of Dove Associates