Hygienic growing

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During the crop, the grower should aim to provide optimum conditions for growth. Water content of soil should be adequate for growth (see field capacity), but not so excessive that root diseases (such as damping off in pot plants, club root of cabbage and brown root rot of conifers) are actively encouraged.

Water sources can be analyzed for Pythium and Phytophthora species if damping off diseases are a constant problem. Covering and regular cleaning of water tanks to prevent the breeding of these fungi in rotting organic matter may be important in their control. Seed trays and pots should be washed to remove all traces of compost that might harbour damping off disease.

Conifer nursery stock grown on raised gravel beds is less likely to suffer the water-borne spread of conifer brown rot. Many protected crops are grown in isolated beds or peat modules to reduce spread of wilt-inducing organisms (such as Fusarium spp.). Gooseberry sawfly caterpillars can be removed in spring from leaves found on the lower centre stems of the gooseberry. This action helps prevent subsequent invasions by the pest in the summer months.

High humidity encourages many diseases. In greenhouses, the careful timing of daily overhead irrigation and of ventilation (to reduce overnight condensation on leaves or flowers) may greatly reduce levels of diseases, such as grey mould on pot plants or downy mildew on lettuce. The slow drawing-back of motorized thermal screens high above commercial glasshouse crops (so as to prevent condensation problems) has contributed greatly to the reduction of disease.

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