As summer draws to a close, days are growing shorter and Strictly Come Dancing has returned to our screens! On many nurseries, autumn is the quietest season and therefore a good time to plan an end of season clean-up, and review crop nutrition programmes in preparation for next season - says Sales Development Manager, Brendan Howell.
1. Adjust irrigation accordingly
As days and nights become cooler, adjust irrigation timings accordingly. While plants do not require as much water, reducing irrigation also helps prevent Liverwort on top of pots and beds.
To optimize performance and irrigation efficiency now is a good time to repair any leaks and clean nozzles - helping minimise any dry spots and, more importantly, any wet spots in crops next season.
2. Implement clean up programme
Autumn is a good time to carry out a thorough clean up programme to help minimise the carry-over of pests and diseases into the next crop. Prevention is definitely better than cure with benefits to be reaped in reducing crop protection costs and the risk of pesticide resistance buildup while minimising environmental impact.
At the end of the season, don’t forget to
- Remove all plant debris in covered containers,
- Thoroughly clean, wash and disinfect everything that could carry pathogens over to the next crop,
- Remove all weeds inside the structure as these can harbour insects capable of transmitting diseases, such as Sciarids and Shore Flies which spread pathogens such as Pythium and. Thielaviopsis
- Inspect all capillary matting and renew or, at the very least, disinfect. First, remove as much root material as possible as these can harbour pathogens such as Pythium and Thielaviopsis.
3. Review nutrition programmes
As summer comes to an end, it is a good idea to switch to a high K feed to ensure plants start hardening off ready for the autumn - while still maintaining good leaf colour and compact growth.
It is also an ideal time to review nutrition programmes for 2022. Time invested now assessing and amending water and nutrition programmes can pay dividends next season.
The correct starting point for any nutrition programme is knowing what is, or is not, in the water supply. This is especially true for nurseries relying on boreholes, where seasonal fluctuations frequently occur.
It is now possible to optimize crop performance by matching Peters or Universol products to water quality. With their unique formulations, including the exclusive advanced M-77 chelating ingredient, Peters Excel CalMag products deliver a single product solution to complete plant nutrition in soft water. Meanwhile, our tried and tested standard Universol WSF range has been extended with two new hard and soft water options.
For further information, contact Brendan Howell who will be happy to advise.