Weekly Field Update – 3/28/22

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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, “The first of this season’s strawberries are coming to market with good quality. Any growers still need to be very mindful of spider mites populations are around in the area but are variable. As we get into harvest season, gray mold management will be critical, so sanitation and appropriate fungicide applications will be needed. Otherwise, preparations for watermelon planting and some early cantaloupes have been sown. Damage assessments on later variety peaches will continue.”

Zack Snipes reports, “A week of nice, albeit windy weather this past week. We got some much-needed rain. The strawberries are pushing out hard and stands and U-picks have begun to open. I am seeing some “bullnose” berries which is a symptom of boron deficiency. Caterpillar pressure is picking up in brassicas. I scouted a few fields and the populations are just starting to take off. The larvae are tiny and growers will really have to take a close look to see them. Let’s get ahead of them this season. Many crops are bouncing back after the winds and freeze event a few weeks ago. Remember that sanitation (removal of dead tissue) and systemic fungicide applications go a long way in this season and future seasons’ disease management.”

A bullnose strawberry. A small dose of boron makes a big difference. (Z. Snipes)
A field of grafted tomatoes in a field laden with the bacterial wilt pathogen. (Z. Snipes)

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was windy. We missed most of the rain we were expecting and only received about 0.1 inches in Lexington. We’re seeing the first few strawberries ripen up. I’ve heard of just a couple growers that have picked enough to start selling. I expect a few more to start this week. Missing the rain was really a blessing as far as disease management goes since we have a good many dead blooms on the plants now. Sanitizing those now before we get into full-time picking would be a good idea. We are seeing some spider mites in strawberries now. Be sure to scout regularly. Young brassica plants are recovering. It does look like a few of the younger transplants that were planted before the cold died, but for the most part, they are growing out well. Growers have put more brassicas in the ground since the cold.”

The first berries of the season are ripening up now in the Midlands. (J. Ballew)

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “The peach crop remains intact with some damage sustained from the freeze event in the later blooming varieties that were in a tighter bud stage. Overall, there is so much of a crop still there that we continued with our plans to test Accede on an on-farm basis with Dr. Juan Melgar. Accede is a product that thins out some of the blooms. It breaks down into ethylene which is a naturally produced product of fruit ripening. This works internally within the plant and causes blooms to fall off. We are assisting growers with learning how to use it and hopefully save money on the costs of hand thinning the crop. Strawberry plants took more bloom damage under their row covers than peach blooms, but thankfully they have many more and quickly replaced the dead ones. Some growers hand removed dead blooms the others relied on fungicides to do that job. Green fruit was unharmed and some growers in more eastern counties I cover have started picking some fruit, but not quite enough to open yet. The only exception is one farm in York county picking since November in a high tunnel. Some sweet corn was planted but wet soils made this difficult. We’re expecting more to go in this week.”

On-farm trial with Dr. Juan Melgar observing. (A. Rollins)

Question of the Week

For this week’s question, take a look at the photo below. What happened to these strawberry plants? Hint: this is a recent photo.

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

One response to “Weekly Field Update – 3/28/22”

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