Weekly Field Update – 3/7/22

Coming up this week we have the in-person Midlands Vegetable Meeting, Upstate Apple and Peach Meeting, and virtual Peach meeting. 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

Rob Last reports, “Starting with strawberries, the development of plants is taking off with little in the way of disease pressure currently. Flower formation and fruit set are beginning. Keep monitoring crops for botrytis development and looking ahead to the weekend forecast. Bloom protection is likely to be needed. Spider mites are beginning to appear in fields, scouting will be crucial to time the miticide applications. Remember, use an approved specific miticide rather than a pyrethroid due to the risk of flaring populations of mites. The MyIPM app is a great resource. Peaches and blueberries are flowering, with early fruit set occurring in the latter. The development of both crops looks promising at present. Vegetable crops in the area are looking good, with few pest or disease issues to note. Keep scouting to make sure applications can be made appropriately, particularly for diamondback moths in brassicas. Finally, asparagus spears are showing, with harvests beginning early this week.”


Justin Ballew reports, “We had an unseasonably warm week in the Midlands last week. Some of our brassica fields that were planted in the fall and grown over the winter are starting to bolt now. Strawberry plants are really pushing out new leaves and blooms. It’s been pretty dry, so we’re not seeing much disease, but the forecast for this week looks to be very different. If you haven’t made a fungicide application in the last few days, get one out ahead of the coming rain. Now would be a good time for one of the site-specific materials like Merivon, Fontelis, Switch, Rovral, etc. Keep an eye on the forecast as it appears we have another cold event looming this weekend.”

Protecting blooms and developing fruit from disease will be important as it is forecast to be a rainy week. Photo from Justin Ballew
This screenshot from the MyIPM app shows the fungicides with the best efficacy for grey mold in strawberries. Applying one of these prior to a stretch of rainy days would be wise. Photo from Justin Ballew

Phillip Carnley reports, “In Orangeburg and Calhoun, we are a little on the dry side and would like to see some rain. White potatoes are being planted and the ground is being prepped for sweet potatoes. With potatoes being planted preplant and in-furrow pesticide application is paramount to controlling the wireworm complex. Also, avoid planting potatoes in fields that were previously planted with corn, soybeans, or that were left fallow. Strawberries are coming into their own with a few issues being bullnose, crab clawing, and the emergence of Phytophthora and aphids. With it being so dry take extra care to scout for spider mites. “

Potato planters are running in Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties. Photo from Phillip Carnley.
We are seeing some Phytophthora emerge in strawberries. Photo from Phillip Carnley.

Sarah Scott reports, “If you are driving through the Ridge area you will see lots of blooms on peach trees. We have had above-average temperatures but are predicted to get some freezing temps this upcoming weekend, which will lead people to show concern for this year’s peach crops. I’ve included some photos to show that while many trees are in fact blooming, there are plenty that have not put out yet. It’s inevitable that a freeze event will happen each year that will damage some blooms that have opened a bit early. This is the case for a lot of crops. The good thing is that we plant many varieties of peach trees that mature at different rates so even when one variety may suffer damage, there is hope that another goes unscathed.  Another good thing about peach trees is that, on a good year, trees will produce more blooms than necessary and most of the time will need to be thinned so that the tree does not have more of a crop load than it can handle. Sometimes freezing temperatures can help trees go through a natural thinning process. All this to say, below freezing temperatures will do some damage but it is far too early to predict how that will affect the crop this season.”

A view showing several different variety blocks of peaches in different bloom stages. Photo from Sarah Scott.
This road separates two different peach variety blocks. One in full bloom, one just starting to bloom. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “It looks like spring is upon us. Lots of fruit crops are starting to move with lots of blooms and leafing. Early highbush and early rabbiteye blueberries are blooming heavily. Some varieties are 40-50% in full bloom. Later highbush (Legacy/Croatan) and rabbiteyes (Powderblue/Onslow) are just starting to move (around early to late pink stage). Early pears are just coming into bloom (around 5%). Mid-season and late-season pear (and apple) buds are just starting to stretch. Blackberries are starting to leaf out. Early peaches are just starting to bloom. Muscadines and pineapple guava buds are starting to swell. All of the strawberry growers around Pee Dee have started the spring push on strawberries. Unfortunately, we are a bit early this year and that means we are still in the window of a freeze event. Right now, it looks kinda iffy for Saturday night/Sunday morning. For the strawberry growers, plan to cover those strawberries. For the blueberry growers that have frost protection, make sure to check your pumps and make any necessary repairs. Saturday night might be a cold, wet night manning the overhead sprinklers. For the early peaches, we might need to get those hay bales in place. Looking at the extended forecast – after Saturday night/Sunday morning, the forecast looks pretty good with a good warming trend for the next month or so.”

Orient pear just coming into bloom. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Habropoda laboriosa, aka the Southeastern Blueberry Bee, working blueberry flowers. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Question of the Week

For this week’s question, take a look at the photo below. What is the little critter on these mint leaves?

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

2 responses to “Weekly Field Update – 3/7/22”

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