Pests and weeds in nursery stock

Thrip Consider applying Amblyseius cucumeris throughout the winter months in frost-free structures to keep pest levels down.

Container weeds Patchy weed control on crops grown on capillary systems is usually due to dry pot surfaces. Top them up with Flexidor 125 this autumn.

Disinfectants Remove as much organic matter as possible from Mypex and sand before using an approved disinfectant. Leave a 24-hour window before applying herbicides to empty growing beds.

Drains Check that container bed drains are in working order and cleaned out. Check drainage on sand beds and stir up the sand if percolation is low from compost deposits and moss and weed growth. Strim ditches to remove large weeds and encourage free-flowing water during any wet autumn/winter periods. Blustery wet weather can blow pots and other rubbish into ditches, blocking pipelines under roadways and resulting in flooding.

Bud blindness Low temperatures and light levels affect concentrations of plant-growth regulators (PGRs) in crops, leading to fewer buds being produced, especially with long periods of dull, cloudy weather. Move vulnerable plants outside to a sheltered but sunny position.

Ventilation Get tunnel and glasshouse doors and vents open when weather permits. Alter the sequence of automatic watering and apply early in the morning rather than at night, to allow foliage to dry out during the day. Between 10-20 degsC and at a humidity of 100 per cent, Botrytis growth is irreversible after three hours.

Integrated pest management Start to put together your 2015 IPM plan in line with the Sustainable Use Directive. Use the Code of Practice for Plant Protection Products as a reference tool alongside the Chemicals Regulation Directorate website, UK Pesticide Guide online and supplier information on predator tolerance of pesticides.

Perennial weeds Apply Roundup to persistent perennial weeds in established woody field-grown crops. Chikara, Dow Shield 400 (EAMU 2013-0514), Sumimax (EAMU 2008-2881), Kerb, Ronstar Liquid or products containing pendimethalin will provide good dormant season clean-up to selected plant genera. Some products can be tank-mixed for more effective results. Make sure that soils are moist (not waterlogged) and fine for effective herbicide applications.

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