CPS seedlings in Greytown, KZN is well known for their quality production of timber seedlings, vegetable seedlings, growing medium and vermiculite. It therefore makes sense that CPS stands for Care, Price and Standards – all of which they live up to. Michelle Lloyd the Seeding and Clonal Manager at CPS Seedlings explains that the company is not only focused on daily production, but also on the future. She explained that the forestry industry is requiring a more sustainable approach to growing seedlings and are now asking seedling growers to use a limited number of chemicals. Unfortunately, diseases that affect seedlings in their formative growth phases do still need to be managed.

Managing powdery mildew in seedlings

Michelle contacted realIPM to assist in the management of powdery mildew on eucalyptus mother stock/parent material (grown in the rammer tunnels). Ross, realIPM’s technical representative recommended using Real Bacillus and Copper Soap to manage the powdery mildew. Real Bacillus contains Bacillus subtilis which is a bio-fungicide for the control of powdery mildew. Copper Soap is a formulation of a naturally occurring fatty acid and soluble copper, and it protects foliage from fungal infections. The combination worked successfully and now all mother plants are sprayed with the combination as a maintenance program. The use of the realIPM products in this way showcases the perfect example of an integrated approach, whereby biologicals are used as the standard, without causing resistance.

However, when there are weather fluctuations (powdery mildew favors warm days and cool nights and moderate temperatures, shade or low light intensities, as well as high relative humidity (greater than 95%)). Greenhouse/tunnel conditions are often ideal for  the development of disease, and the combination of hot days followed by cool days favour the development of powdery mildew. In these instances, particular chemicals will be used for a short period of time (versus ongoing) to manage the outbreak. This approach ensures no resistance issues, happy healthy mother stock and healthy cuttings.

It's incredible to be part of a fine tunned system such as that of CPS, which produces thousands of seedlings weekly for farmers across the country. If you would like to find a biological alternative to manage pests and diseases in your crop, contact realIPM for further information.