Field Update – 1/13/20

Spring fruit and vegetable meetings are being announced daily, so keep an eye on the “Upcoming Events” tab over the next several weeks.

Coastal Region

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “I have been seeing a lot of Henbit in the coastal area this year (A big chunk of it in Dr. Brian Ward’s research fields). Don’t be deceived by the pretty flowers. We don’t really have any options for selectively controlling the weed POST in most vegetable crops. Mowing before viable seed head formation is a good way to reduce the weed seed bank deposit of this problematic winter annual. More description of the weed can be found at (https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/research/weeds/weed-id-bio/broadleaf-weeds-parent/broadleaf-pages/henbit.html)”

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Henbit flowers. Photo from Dr. Matt Cutulle.

Dr. Tony Keinath reports,”White mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) is active in the Charleston area. The two nights of freezing temperatures December 18-19 likely stimulated sclerotia to germinate and produce ascospores. Warm, overcast weather with mist and light rain is ideal for spread and germination of the airborne ascospores. Weather conditions likely will remain favorable for white mold over the next 3 months. Growers will need to rotate conventional white mold fungicides due to limits on the number of applications that can be made per crop.

For organic crops, Sonata at 8 pints per acre may offer some protection. See pages 185 and 222 in the 2020 Vegetable Crop Handbook for Southeastern United States.”

Zack Snipes reports, “Warm and muggy is the only way to describe the past week.  I was out in a blueberry patch and noticed some low chill hour varieties already blooming.  We have gotten very few chill hours to date in Charleston.  Chill hours are the number of hours below 45F and are required for proper fruiting of perennial fruits.  For a  normal year in Charleston we should get anywhere from 400-600 chill hours.  I have also seen strawberries pushing out some blooms.  Growers should not worry as that is normal for this time of year.  I think it is still too early to starting pushing strawberries for fruiting.  Remember that it takes 35 or so days to go from bloom to picking a strawberry.  It we let our plants grow and develop more crowns right now (rather than fruit), then we will have greater production this spring.”

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Low chill hour blueberries are already showing some blooms. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Strawberries starting to push out a few blooms. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was unseasonably warm this past week and we had a couple significant rain events over the weekend. I’ve seen a few daffodils and forsynthia blooming already.  Strawberries are growing a little faster right now and that’s good new for fields that are a little behind.  The weather conditions we have right now are very conducive to Phytophthora development, so now would be a good time for a Ridomil application through the drip, especially in fields with a history of Phytophthora. Winter weeds are really exploding now.  Make sure to pull any weeds coming up in the plant holes so they aren’t competing with the strawberries. We’re still harvesting brassicas and they look good other than a little Sclerotinia here and there.”

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A likely Pytophthora infection in a strawberry crown.  The tip of the crown near the roots has turned reddish/brown. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Cabbage in the midlands is looking nice. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Wet and overly warm temperatures have set in along the Ridge over the past week. 2.5 inches of rain have fallen but with soil already wet it is making for difficult working conditions. Fields are still being prepped for peach tree planting and pruning should begin this week. With temperatures reaching into the 70s there is a concern that higher chill varieties of peaches may not get adequate chilling requirements to produce optimum yields but we will have to wait and see what the weather continues to do. Cabbage, collards, and kale are still being harvested along with a few other late winter crops. Strawberries are putting on a lot of growth with the warm temperatures. Some spider mites in the field but very minimal observations.”

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Strawberries are growing fast in this warm weather. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Spider mite populations are begging to increase in our area. Most brassica producers are selling out. Remember to disk in remaining plant material as soon as possible, this reduces the chance of disease in your following crop year. Sclerotinia white mold has been very prevalent in our area.  Remember to rotate for a minimum of three years if disease emerges. Weather has not allowed for spring bedding to begin.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Last week, folks hurried before rain to get land bedded for greens to be planted the first of February.  This will allow weeds to emerge so they can be killed before planting in stale-bed-culture.  Strawberries are loving this warm weather.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “We have some growers who are finished pruning apples and peaches, some who have just started, and others who haven’t touched their orchards yet. We will see who fairs the best… I have concerns with what I would consider to be early pruning, combined with continued warm temperatures creating a perfect storm for when cold temperatures finally arrive. Heavy rains have plagued the area, with more than 13 inches recorded at the Oconee airport in January thus far.”

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Apple trees after pruning. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update – 1/6/20

Statewide

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year!  Please keep an eye on the Upcoming Events tab for several spring production meetings and conferences coming up around the state.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We’ve gotten a lot of rain over the last 30 days, including around an inch and a half late last week.  The weather was warm in the afternoons for most of the week also.  Our corps are going well, though spider mites seem to be picking up in strawberries.  Mites are easy to forget about this time of year, so be sure to get out there and scout. We should have 3 branched crowns on our strawberries at this point, but we are a little behind in several fields.  Caterpillar populations remain low and the brassicas we are harvesting look great.  Sclerotinia white mold is showing up in some brassica fields following all the recent moisture we’ve had.  This is a good reminder to use a crop rotation of at least 3 years.

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Sclerotinia white mold developing on collard leaves. Photo from Justin Ballew

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A cluster of spider mites on the upper edge of the underside of a strawberry leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

Lalo Toledo reports, “We have seen ‘Sclerotinia stem rot’ on brassicas increase in the last couple days. This moist weather helps promote stem infections that spread rapidly downward to decay roots and expand upward wilting leaves, resulting in plant collapse. We have observed a white, cottony growth near the soil line. Disease development is generally favored by abundant soil moisture and temperatures ranging from 10-25°C (50-77°F). It is important to implement good sanitation practices and long rotations to non-host crops. Cultivate to help promote good soil drainage. Fungicide application are also available. Refer to Vegetable handbook. Remember to rotate fungicide groups.

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Wilted collards caused by Sclerotinia development on the stem. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports seeing spider mites in most strawberry fields.  “Fall strawberries covered in hoop houses or just covered outside are doing well and producing well.  Selling out the few remaining regrowth collards and greens.  This week should be dry enough to start bedding land for spring greens to allow weeds to emerge and kill using stale-bed-culture.  Stale-bed-culture is my favorite way to destroy most of the weeds before planting any crop.”

Bruce McLean reports, “Even though the calendar says January, it’s been feeling a bit more like April here lately. The remaining brassica crops look really good (for the most part). Cabbage, collards, turnips and broccoli are still in good supply. Pest pressure has been extremely low this season.  Strawberries are looking very good as well. The recent heat is pushing blooms a bit. I haven’t seen anyone dragging the row covers out yet, so blooms are getting bitten on these coldest nights. No worries… they’ll be plenty more blooms to take their place. I’ve not seen any significant pests on strawberries, either.

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The recent heat has really pushed the broccoli out. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Strawberries are looking very good this season in the Pee Dee.  Photo from Bruce McLean.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “We’ve had cold weather along with lots of precipitation in the Upstate over the last few days. There were even some flurries up in the mountains. Pruning for apples is going to commence over the next few weeks. The SE Apple Growers Association Meeting is this week Tuesday and Wednesday in Asheville, NC, and many of our SC growers will attend.”

Field Update – 12/16/19

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle shared the photos below of a direct seeded collard weed control study. “Below is the untreated check (Left) and a plot treated with Treflan (Pre-plant incorporated) and Dual Magnum (Post-applied when collards are at least 3 inches in height). This is approximately 9 weeks after seeding. Main weed is corn spurry.”

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Treflan PPI and Dual Magnum POST (right) provided good weed control in direct seeded collards as compared to the untreated check (left). Photo from Dr. Matt Cutulle.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “The mild temperatures and rain have helped our crops out.  The collard crop is looking great for the Christmas and New Year’s harvest with very little insect or disease damage.  Strawberries are looking good as well with excellent fall growth and color.  Strawberry plants should be about the size of a baseball cap this time of year.  Blueberry plants have turned a beautiful deep red color and are beginning to get some chill hours going into winter dormancy.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season spent with family and eating lots of SC GROWN products.”

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Strawberries should be about the size of a baseball cap this time of year. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had decent growing weather again last week. Steady rain fell all day Friday and we saw 6.5 inches at my house. Luckily, the sandy soil soaked most of it up. Growers are continuing to harvest brassicas and they look great right now (very little insect damage). We are still battling spidermites in some strawberries.”

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Collard harvest is looking great in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Yellowing and mottling on strawberry leaves from spider mite feeding damage. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “4-8 inches of rain fell across Aiken and Edgefield Counties last week causing standing water and some flooding.  Collards, broccoli and root crops are still being harvested.  Fields are still being cleared and prepped for peach tree plantings.”

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Flooded peach orchard following the rain Friday (12/13) Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Fresh Market collards are selling rapidly.  Many growers are re-growing the first cut collards of September/October to have them ready for second cut for New Years because they are running out of first cut collards.  Turnip roots are getting large and need to be sold if tops are to remain.  Turnip roots alone are a cheap commodity. The last of the processing turnips tops and mustard are being harvested this week and all that will be left is second cut collards to be harvested. Hopefully the rain helped to control spidermites on strawberries.”

Field Update – 12/9/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler this week. Winter brassicas are still growing well, though probably a little slower now. Insect and disease pressure remains low. Strawberries are looking good overall. There are some spidermites in places and deer damage has been significant on some farms.

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Cabbage heads developing.  Photo from Justin Ballew

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Deer tracks on plastic in a strawberry field. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Strawberries are loving this weather.  Found a few spidermites.  Good many onions being planted in plastic mulch.”

Field Update – 12/2/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Very few diseases and insects to report this week.  The cooler weather and rain have really made fall planted greens and peas take off.  We are still harvesting peppers and even an occasional squash and zucchini. The strawberry crop looks like it has taken root and is off to a good start with the exception of some deer damage here and there. I want to remind everyone of the NC Vegetable Expo which will be taking place in Wilmington, NC beginning on Thursday and going until Saturday.  The Farm Bureau Annual Conference is also taking place this week in Myrtle Beach.  Be sure to take advantage of these learning opportunities and pick up some last minute pesticide credits.

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Peas growing well on the coast. Photo from Zack Snipes

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Still harvesting some peppers on the coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather last week was very mild and we had a couple light rains. This lead to some good growth on our strawberries and brassicas.  Whiteflies are showing up again in low numbers in a few brassica fields and caterpillar numbers remain low.  Stay on a regular scouting schedule, though.  We’re harvesting lots of good looking collards and kale as well as a few other brassicas. We have some fall strawberries that are blooming now as well.”

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Day neutral strawberries blooming as they grow. Photo from Justin Ballew

Lalo Toledo reports, “We are picking collards and kale this week. Most of the brassica crops look good except for some cold damage. Cold damage has been an issue in the midlands and lower state, particularly on leafy greens. Diamond-back moth populations remain low in our area. Black rot has been spotted in some parts of collard fields (V-shaped lesions on older leaves).

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Cold damage on older leaves. Photo from Lalo Toledo

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Insect problems on greens have reduced tremendously with the cooler weather.  Dry fall has assisted tremendously in the harvest of processing fall greens.  Therefore, only a few turnips and mustard left to harvest and regrowth collards are well on their way and will be ready to harvest around the first of the year.  The last of the sweet potatoes will be harvested this week if weather permits.  I have seen some spidermites on strawberries especially on the fall bearing crop.

Field Update – 11/25/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Things are looking good in the Lowcountry. We are harvesting lots of produce right now just in time for the holidays. I have seen some cold damage on some brassicas but other than that very few issues to report.”

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Freshly harvested tumeric. Photo from Zack Snipes

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Cold damage on brassica. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has been pretty mild over the last week and we have had some rains. We’re picking some really good looking collards and kale right now. Caterpillar populations remain low in most places, though there are some hot spots around. Lots of folks have been asking about necrotic lower leaves on brassicas that have appeared since the temperature dipped into the 20’s the week before last.  In most cases this is only cold damage.  We can see some secondary fungal development on the damaged tissue, but its not really concerning.  Just pick those leaves off, the new growth will be fine.

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Lower collard leaf damaged by the cold. New growth will be unaffected. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach fields are being prepped for new plantings.  A levee plow is used to create berms to plant the trees on top of.  Growers have adapted this technique to increase tree life due to soil borne disease issues.”

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Planting peach trees on a berm reduces the risk of soil borne diseases. Photo from Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Still digging processing sweet potatoes even though tops are dead. A good portion of fresh market collards were sold over weekend. All processing turnips, mustard, and collards have been harvested at least once and some twice. For a summary of vegetable research conducted at the Pee Dee Rec in 2019, see this PDF: 2019 PDREC Farm Research19.”

Upstate

Mark Arena reports seeing some premature pecan germination. “We can see this when the trees do not receive enough water to complete shuck splitting and the nuts remain lodged in the husk for an extended period. Combine this with warm late season temperatures after nut ripening is complete and the addition of rainwater accumulating in the shuck, which provides ample moisture to innate rooting. Affected nuts are considered inedible. Proper irrigation and shaking the trees in the easiest remedy for this condition.”

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Premature pecan germination. Photo from Mark Arena

Field Update 11/18

Coastal

Zack Snipes

We have had a good bit of rain and some cooler temperatures this past week.  I have noticed damage to strawberries in fields with no fencing that will cause significant yield loss this spring. I have also noticed areas in fields where deer are going under fencing. Be sure to scout your fields and take note of where deer might be entering in your field and make necessary adjustments.  In one particular case the outside fence was slightly higher in one area which allowed the deer to walk under.  I found one field where the fence was not plugged back in after workers exited.  Be sure your fencing is on all the time.

Deer found the high spot in the fence and are beginning to travel under.

 

 

Pee Dee

Tony Melton

Sweet potato tops are dead but we are still harvesting for processing.  Greens were damaged a small amount from the cold last week.  We saw a little worse damage in upper Chesterfield and in Lancaster County than in other areas.

Upstate

Andy Rollins

Close inspection of young peach trees in this case revealed two problems.  Greater peach tree borer GPTB and scale.  If growers are seeing this jelly at the base of there trees they need to inspect further many times it is GPTB but not always.  This problem can be treated with mating disruption using PTB duel.  Young trees need to be trunk  treated with chlorpyrifos “Lorsban”.  Scale problem is the white looking dots along the trunk.  Dormant oil applications should help with reducing this problem but shouldn’t be overlooked.  Keep inspecting closely.

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Jelly coming from the base of peach trees could indicate Greater peach tree borer (GPTB) presence.  Note the scale (white dots) on the trunk.

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Peach orchard in Upstate SC

 

Field Update – 11/11/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler this week. The soil is cooling down also and is causing some purpling at the tips of the leaves of brassicas (a sign of phosphorus deficiency).  Roots have a hard time taking up nutrients in cold soil, so make sure your fertility is adequate. Caterpillar populations are still relatively low. We’re still seeing a few whiteflies, but their numbers seem a little lower this week also. Strawberries are looking great so far. We are about done with the fall crops.”

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Collards showing a slight purple tint on the tips of the leaves.  Photo from Justin Ballew

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The soil Monday morning (11/11) was just under 50 degrees.  This will cause root growth and nutrient uptake to slow.  Photos from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “There have been several nights where temperatures dipped into the low 30s and we have had a few frosty mornings along the Ridge. Pepper plants are beginning to come out and late summer/fall crops wrapping up. Broccoli continues to be harvested along with kale, spinach, sweet potatoes and collards. Peach growers are preparing their orchards for planting new trees.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Last week, I found Clubroot on collards in a home garden in Florence and the plant problem clinic confirmed.  This is clubroot an awful disease of brassicas (greens, cabbage, etc.).  It was first found in SC in 2015.  That farm has a voluntary quarantine to keep it from spreading.  Please do not move plants or soil and cause it to spread.  It will stay in the soil for a long time (almost forever) and has the capability to destroy the brassica industry in SC.  Brassica and sweet potato harvest are at full speed because of the possible cold damage this week.

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Swollen stem at the soil line on a collard plant from clubroot. Photo from Tony Melton.

 

Field Update – 11/4/19

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle cautions growers to be careful with late planted greens. “If getting out late with greens planting I would be careful with applying treflan pre-plant herbicides, as cold soil temperatures can facilitate injury.”

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are finishing up with summer crop harvests of cucumber, squash, and beans and harvesting fall crops like broccoli, collards, root crops, and lettuces. The rains and, at times, cooler weather have helped our fall crops. This past week I found some really cool beneficial insects in our Lowcountry brassica fields.  When scouting take note of any beneficials in your fields and know that they are providing lots of pest control for you.  Black rot in brassica has started showing up pretty regularly with the recent rains and lower temperatures.  Crop rotation, using clean seed and transplants, and sanitation (removing of diseased tissue) can help with control of this disease.  Many farms are seeding cover crops this time of year. Cover crops like clover can be grown to increase soil biomass, produce nitrogen, suppress weeds, and provide nectar and pollen for our beneficial insects.”

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Black rot showing up in brassicas after the recent thunderstorms. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Planting cover crops. Photo from Zack Snipes.

 

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We got some rain from thunderstorms last week and the weather has turned significantly cooler since. We are seeing a few spidermites on strawberries. Keep an eye out for those. We don’t normally see a lot spidermites this early, so don’t let them catch you not paying attention. Caterpillar populations are still low on brassicas and disease has been relatively low also. A few false chinch bugs have been reported on mustard and turnip. We’re cropping kale and collards and still picking some last minute fall squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.”

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Two-spotted spider mites on the underside of a strawberry leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.

 

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Still picking some last minute eggplant. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Lower temperatures have brought a few light frosts to the area with scattered damage to tender vegetation. We continue to harvest broccoli,  bell peppers,  tomatoes,  eggplant,  sweet potatoes,  spinach and collards.”

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Broccoli head developing in the midlands. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Bacterial soft rot on pepper. Photo from Sarah Scott.

 

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Bacterial leaf diseases of brassicas have been terrible this fall, maybe due to heat we had early  – processing greens had to be harvested early to meet grade.  I have found millions of  False Cinch Bugs on brassicas especially turnips – imidacloprid is a good control without killing beneficial insects.  Farmers (especially row crop farmers) need to be rotating from products containing chlorantraniliprole to other active ingredients – I have noticed a reduction of the length of control with these products.  Frost is here – protect.

Private Pesticide License Block Ends 12/31/19

As of today (11/1/19), there are only two months remaining in the current private pesticide license block.  The block ends on 12/31/19.  This means private applicators have until the end of December to earn the 5 pesticide credits (CEUs) needed to renew their licenses.

To check the number of credits you have, visit the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) website, type in your last name and hit “Run Applicator Report”.  Again, if you still need credits, the deadline to get them is 12/31.

To find opportunities to earn credits, click on the “Upcoming Events” tab on this website or contact your local Clemson Extension office.

Once you have earned the 5 required credits, don’t forget to fill out and return your renewal paperwork to DPR.  If you have 5 credits and do not receive renewal paperwork from DPR in the mail by the end of the year, please reach out to them.  Their contact info can be found here.