Spraying of pesticides is a major environmental hazard and we use an Integrated Crop Management system (ICM) to control problems and the nursery. Every week we walk the whole nursery checking the plants, pheromone traps and sticky traps to ensure we are aware of any issues as rapidly as possible so they can be dealt with before the problem builds.
ICM involves a staged approach to control using the most environmentally friendly measures first and only resorting to pesticides as a last measure.
Cultural control - could we reduce or eliminate the problem by changing the way we manage the crop such as increased ventilation or reduced irrigation
Biological control - is there a natural predator/parasite that would control the problem
Bio pesticides - is there a natural product that we can use to control the problem or strengthen the plant so it is not effected by the disease
Chemicals - if all else fails then we use the appropriate chemical to protect our plants, this is done using a well controlled sprayer to apply the minim um amount of pesticide in the most effective way to the crop
Every week from March until Autumn we release a large number of predators and parasites onto the nursery to control pest problems and we also breed large numbers of Atheta beetles to release which predate a wide range of plant pests.