Weekly Update – 9/14/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “The talk of the Lowcountry this week is transplant die off.  We see lots and lots of transplant die off and the culprits are usually mole crickets, ants, or cutworms.  Tunneling near the base of the plant is very common when mole crickets are present. Dr. Ayanava Majumdar from Auburn University has done some trials with parasitic nematodes and has seen very good results. For more information on the parasitic nematode visit https://www.arbico-organics.com/category/mole-cricket-controls?gclid=CjwKCAjw19z6BRAYEiwAmo64LSCtnQy6Dd1mx7TLTiNwB0-o7BBZ-XZd54LdBCtYuf2Jm6abINhyKRoChFIQAvD_BwE.  Ants are very common culprits of plant die off as well.  Timely applied baits are the best method for control.  Drench treatments make growers feel better but are not as effective as the baits.  Baits should be applied a few times a year between April and October. A few options to check out are Seduce Bait, Monterey Ant Control Pellets, Come and Get It, and PayBack.”

Transplant die off can occur from cutworms, mole crickets, ants, or disease pathogens.  Be sure to correctly identify before treatments are made.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Harvesting sweet potatoes as fast as processing plant can handle them.  Getting good yields.  Army worms are bad!!!  Collards, turnips, and mustard are up and hauling butt.  Dry in some areas and wet in others.  Fall peas and butterbeans are doing well except where damaged by too much rain.  Cucumber for pickles are yielding well except where they were not sprayed for downy mildew.  Watermelons are yielding well where farmers where able to control the gummy stem and drowning during all the rain even then some plants were lost.”

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Fall pepper crop is looking very strong.  Cool milder weather conditions have set us up for a very high yielding and high quality pepper crop.  I found some plants on this farm that died from being waterlogged in the lowest spot of one field.  I also found some fruit with side wall issues.  It was worse in the larger fruited varieties as is normal.  Many times this is misdiagnosed as sunscald but if you examine fully by doing leaf tissue tests you may find out as I did that this is a slight calcium deficiency or imbalance in the plant.  Yes, it is also called blossom end rot in tomato.  In pepper it shows up on the sidewall not just the bottom or blossom end.  Supplying the right amount of calcium is only part of the treatment as normally the problem is more often caused by the plant not being able to move the calcium not that it is missing.  Calcium is a large molecule and requires energy on the plants part to be taken up and distributed.  Careful frequent and regular watering has helped this farm keep this problem to a minimum.”

Pepper fruit with sidewall issues.
Pepper field with waterlogged area causing dieback.

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