Weekly Field Update – 2/7/22

We have a couple cucurbit meetings coming up this week. One in-person on 2/8 and one virtual on 2/10. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our lineup of winter/spring meetings here.

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see this week’s Question of the Week and check back on Thursday for the answer!

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Now is the time for Lowcountry strawberry growers to give their plants the first shot of boron. Boron helps with both flower and fruit development. Growers can spray boron or inject via the drip system. Boron deficiency will show up in your fruit if you skip out on application. Now is the time to get it out because plants will be pushing blooms soon and they need the boron available to make nice pretty flowers and fruit. A boron application takes only a few minutes and literally a few dollars but can keep you from throwing away thousands of misshapen or “bullnose” berries. Boron is a great herbicide if overapplied so make sure you put out the right amount by using the information from the picture below. We only need to put out a tiny amount, but that tiny amount makes a big difference.”

We need to be applying 1/8 to ¼ pound of actual boron to our strawberries right now. Follow this picture for guidance depending on the material you use. Photo from Zack Snipes.


Justin Ballew reports, “This weather in the midlands this past week has been a roller coaster. It’s been warm, cool, sunny, and now rainy. I saw the first daffodil bloom in my yard late this past week, so spring is on its way. Our strawberries are looking pretty good right now, though with the rain we’ve gotten recently, keep an eye out for Phytophthora issues. I’ve gotten several questions about when to start fertigating and protecting blooms. Most experienced growers in our area start fertigating between mid-March and the first of April. I think this is a good reference point, but I also think the weather should help us decide when to start. The forecast seems to be warming sightly, so starting later next week probably will be fine. As far as protecting blooms goes, count back 30 days from the date you’d like to start harvesting. For most growers, let your market be your guide. However, if your picking labor won’t arrive until April 1st, you probably shouldn’t start protecting blooms until the first of March.

These plants have had all the dead leaves and blooms removed and are in good shape. Fertigation will be starting before long. Photo from Justin Ballew

Phillip Carnley reports, “Everything is looking good in Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties. I am just now starting to see cold damage on some strawberries, but it is very minimal. Deer seem to be causing some issues in certain fields, so make sure that you have your deer fencing in place and any other countermeasures. With the advent of the rain, I have also seen some nutrient deficiencies starting to pop up, so be ready to start tissue sampling. Weeds are starting to be an issue in planting holes, so be sure to stay on top of weeding or strategic use of herbicides.

Deer are wreaking havoc in some fields. Deer fencing helps tremendously. Photo from Phillip Carnley.
As the weather warms, weeds in the plant holes can explode in growth. Get them out ASAP. Photo from Phillip Carnley.


Kerrie Roach reports, “Pruning apples and peaches has been the main activity here in the upstate. Valentine’s Day is my reminder to get it done when it comes to pruning tree fruits and many of the small fruits (perennials). With everything else being a little slow, now is also a great time to finish preparing for the season ahead. If you haven’t done so already, order your seeds, fertilizer, soil, and hardware. Start with your best foot forward by selecting varieties with the best pest and pathogen resistance profile. Review what you had problems with last year, and look for ways to PREVENT infection or infestation.

Question of the Week

For this week’s question, take a look at the strawberry plant pictured below. What is the fuzzy, grey stuff developing on the dead bloom?

Answer in the comments below and check back on Thursday to see the answer.

One response to “Weekly Field Update – 2/7/22”

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