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December 2009

Serenade® ASO - Grower and Consultant Experiences

Ferring Nurseries

The biggest fungal problem that affects Ferring's growing programme during the autumn months has always been downy mildew on its pansy and viola stocks. It was of great interest to see if Serenade ASO, used under the SOLA, was effective enough to deal with this problem without any other additional fungicidal control.

The results have been outstanding on all the crops that have been trialled. Firstly the pansy/viola crop sprayed at seven day intervals from one week after potting into final containers has produced a crop with virtually zero cases of Botrytis.

More importantly there has not been evidence of a single case of downy mildew. In addition to this all the crops look healthy and strong and have grown on with exceptional vigour, good leaf colour and plants look stiffer and harder than normal. Despite the very high temperatures we have experienced in the past four weeks they do indeed look ready for winter. No other fungicidal control has been used at all, and even plants that have been treated with 'flower on' have remained looking clean and fresh, as opposed to some conventional chemicals that leave plants with deposits after use. It is proposed that the nursery will continue to use Serenade ASO for the remainder of the growing period in addition to trialling on some over wintered batches that remain.

Trials on the indoor grown cyclamen have also been extremely successful. Instances of Botrytis are down dramatically despite continued overhead watering. Plant losses to date are only approximately 1 in 500 with a minimal amount of infection on older fading leaves estimated at around 4-5% of the crop.

Another crop of (similar week number) cyclamen which have been left untreated by any fungicide have an infection rate of around 20% on older fading leaves and the upper leaves interestingly show slightly less health, being slightly dull but none the less a saleable crop.

Trials on the perennials have been very exciting for the nursery too. Rudebeckias and Echinacea are showing no fungal infection at all, including none of the expected powdery mildew and even the Aquilegia, which in early September were being affected by mildew, are now virtually clean except on the oldest of leaves, This has dramatically extended the growing season producing even larger crowns in the pot for next spring.

One crop hitherto not mentioned but trialled quietly by the nursery over the past 8 weeks is Myosotis. This crop is well renowned for developing a few spots of mildew at almost any time of year and the nursery can confidently report the crop is clean at the sales stage.

Final thoughts can only heap praise on the success of Serenade ASO so far and the nursery will be extending its programme of use in the coming seasons and is looking forward to trialling on the more susceptible summer bedding crops in the spring.

Serenade ASO could have us singing its praises for a long time to come.

Colin Bloomfield Consulting

"I'm sure you will want to know that I think the product works"!

"I have used it on Poinsettia against Botrytis - no sign of any infection in spite of conducive conditions". Rhizoctonia - appears to control infection as well as Rovral".

"Courgettes - prevents infection by powdery mildew when grown under protection".

Red Deer Herbs, Worcester

Red Deer Herbs are at the cutting edge of field and protected herb production. They are a long standing and well known supplier of quality fresh herbs to the food manufacturing sector, all of which have a high level of auditing. Bob Herbert, owner of Red Deer Farm, is growing over 10 hectares of field scale and protected herbs, including: parsley, oregano, sage, coriander, dill and basil. These crops are highly susceptible to disease attack, particularly by powdery and downy mildew, Botrytis, and leaf spots amongst other diseases during the growing season; problems that can make for an uneconomic and unsaleable product. Serenade ASO has been used throughout the 2009 season at 10 to 14 day intervals on the parsley and sage crops (the most vulnerable to mildew). Serenade ASO was first applied using a traditional wet sprayer until an investment was made in a low level air assisted sprayer to improve crop coverage.

There are three main drivers for their type of crop:
  • Selling the actual leaf of the crop with virtually zero tolerance of leaf symptoms and blemishes.
  • Working within the EC residue regulations EC396/2005 requires getting as near as is practical to zero residues.
  • Demonstrate sustainable production using effective but benign plant protection products.
We asked Bob how does Serenade ASO help:
"Serenade ASO goes a long way to helping us achieve all three criteria. The multiple mode of action is attractive. It gives us the opportunity to use other plant protection products less frequently. We are most impressed by the overall healthy appearance of the crop. There is a vitality about the plants that we have not seen before this late in the year. The quality of growth and plant health is easy to see. Our only regret is that we did not start using it earlier in the season". "If used from the start we could see disease reduced to very low levels. Serenade ASO will certainly form a basic part of our spray programme for the coming season. We based our decision to use Serenade ASO on its effectiveness against mildew worldwide".

Up From Earth Herb Nursery

Up from the Earth Herb Nursery, Bridgewater, Somerset produces pot grown herbs including mint, Melissa and oregano. Owner,Peter Masters said that these crops are susceptible to rust and downy mildew.

Peter stated:
"Serenade ASO used under the SOLA has saved my life this season. Trays that I would have thrown away last season because of rust I have been able to simply cut back and then protect the new growth with regular applications of Serenade ASO. This has saved me a lot of lost product".


Serenade® ASO is a suspension concentrate containing 13.96 g/l Bacillus subtilis strain QST 713 (a minimum of 1.042 x 1012 cfu/l). | Serenade is a trade mark of Agraquest