To prepare for thrips management in spring crops in February, it is time to begin growing ornamental pepper plants to serve as banker plants.
Many growers in Massachusetts and Connecticut are successfully using natural enemies (beneficial insects, mites, nematodes and other organisms) as an alternative to pesticides to manage pests in greenhouses. If you are considering using natural enemies for the first time on your spring crops, now is the time to prepare.
Controlling whiteflies on poinsettias has been challenging since sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisa tabaci, first appeared in Florida in 1986 and then began to appear in greenhouses soon after. It was found to be a new, more insecticide-resistant strain, termed ‘B-biotype,’ with a broader host range than the usual B. tabaci. In 2004 an even more resistant strain, the Q biotype, was found in the US on poinsettia. Initially, these two biotypes were thought to all belong to the same B.
It is best to clean greenhouses as they become empty rather than to wait until just prior to the spring growing season. Cleaning early will eliminate over-wintering sites for pests and reduce populations for the next crop cycle. Greenhouse pests will overwinter in weeds and protected areas in unheated greenhouse, especially if the winter is unseasonably warm. Remove leftover plants and debris and clean the floor of soil, organic matter and weeds. Clean areas around furnaces and along side walls where small weeds are usually found.
The Easter holiday falls on April 5th in 2015. Easter Sunday always falls on date ranging from March 22nd at the earliest to April 25th at the latest. Holidays from April 3rd to April 15th are considered mid-date for the purpose greenhouse forcing.