11 September - Botrytis and winter

Botrytis Now is the time to check vulnerable crops, especially with cool, dew-filled nights. Check closely spaced crops with dense, soft foliage and improve airflow in tunnels and glasshouses. Prevent infections with compost tea — monthly applications from now on — and, where infections have taken hold, use Amistar (EAMUs required), Rovral WG (EAMU 2011-3200), Scala (EAMU 2011-1315), Serenade ASO (EAMUs required), Signum (EAMU 2012-2141) or Switch.

Winter readiness Check fleece and Cosytex for any holes. Replace damaged tunnel sheets while air temperatures are still warm enough. Clean all gutters and downpipes on structures. 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.

Bed watering Automatic irrigation systems can produce an uneven output — check crops along bed edges and pathways for drought. Keep new and old crops separate as well as different crops in different compost types and pot sizes where possible.

Frost protection Prepare for cold nights by moving vulnerable plants to protected, frost-free structures. Repeat applications of Cropaid or Compo’s Frost Protect before sudden frosts can help protect susceptible buds, stems and foliage from unnecessary damage. Set down crops in the right place for winter protection to avoid last-minute changes. Make sure all heaters have been serviced and vent gear is greased up.

Powdery mildew Include Corbel, Cyflamid (EAMU 2007-0512), Kindred or Folicur on outdoor ornamentals but avoid applications on warm days to prevent unnecessary scorch damage.

Rooting Crops need to have rooted out well enough to get through the winter months to avoid damage from sudden sharp drops in temperature. Stimulate root growth using high-phosphate products including Hortifeeds 1:4:1, Hortiphyte, Peters Plant Starter, Solufeed 1:5:1 or Universol Yellow.

Rust Control persistent infections using Amistar (EAMU 2009-0443), Bumper 250EC (EAMU 2014-1274), Folicur, Plover (EAMU 2015-2673), Signum (EAMU 2012-2141) or Systhane 20EW.

Vine weevil Control eggs using parasitic nematodes now or drench ornamentals with Calypso (EAMUs required), Chess WG (EAMUs required) or Steward (EAMU 2008-2905).

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