Weekly Field Update – 9/12/22

For anyone growing leafy greens and brassica crops, please take a moment to fill out this survey from weed specialist Dr. Matt Cutulle gauging interest in developing non-herbicide weed management techniques: CLICK HERE

For strawberry growers making last-minute variety selections, check out the NC Strawberry Association’s latest newsletter. There is some really good info on strawberry varieties and yield data from this past year’s variety trials.

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, “Fall watermelons are looking good. There is some disease around, so fungicide applications remain crucial. I am finding whiteflies in a few crops too. As we move into Fall, with increasing numbers of misty mornings, scouting for diseases is going to be very important. Mists will increase periods of leaf wetness exacerbating disease pressures in crops. Scouting enables us to make timely applications. Thoughts are turning to planting Fall crops, and I urge everyone to check transplants carefully to minimize the risk of bringing infected plants into the fields, storing problems for the rest of the crop cycle.”

Zack Snipes reports, “Another wet week for us here in the Lowcountry.  Some fields are drying out enough to get in and spray. A few growers have been lucky enough to miss some of the rains and have gotten in the fields to plant fall greens. Muscadines are really coming in right now. It seems that they are all coming in at the same time, which is not good news for U-pick and roadside stands. I am seeing a lot of ripe rot in the berries, particularly purple grapes. I am seeing it in scuppernongs but not as widespread as the muscadines. Symptoms of this diesase will be circular, sunken in lesions on the fruit. If allowed to incubate or under ideal conditions, salmon-colored spores will appear in the center of the fruit. This is the same disease we call anthracnose in strawberry, tomato, and watermelon. Our wet August has significantly contributed to this disease.  At this point in the season, there isn’t much that can be done. Removing dropped berries and leaf litter will help with management for next season.”

Lots of grapes are being lost to ripe rot right now. (Z. Snipes)
Sunken in lesions (craters) characteristic of ripe rot in muscadine. (Z. Snipes)

Midlands

Phillip Carnley reports, “Here in Orangeburg and Calhoun, it’s another cloudy and humid start to the week. Last week there were many overcast days with heavy dew and a fair amount of rain scattered in as well. Cucumbers are growing well on the high ground despite increased pressure from Downy Mildew. Parts of some fields have been completely flooded out, and the weather has made fungicide applications difficult. Cowpea curculio is still an ever-present pain. Growers have had varying degrees of control with pyrethroids due to the weather and not being able to get into the fields to spray. In asparagus, I am seeing purple spot becoming a problem with our prolonged period of heavy dew and cooler temperatures. Dr. Keinath authored a great piece about this disease and the control options that can be found here.”

Microscopic view (49.3x) of purple spot of asparagus showing the black fruiting bodies within the lesion. (P. Carnley)

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Muscadine harvest is continuing with high quality and high sugar content on several farms. Strawberry planting has begun on a few farms, although most are getting soil and beds prepared. Initial plant quality had somewhat irregular growth, although no disease detections yet. Peach production is almost completely finished, with only a few growers harvesting very late producing varieties. Root rot and some budworms (probably tobacco budworm but not sure) were identified in a cut flower operation. Recommended using Bt type insecticide early for smaller caterpillars followed by Intrepid later if problem progresses. Of course, we had to be sensitive to labeled crops.”

A cut flower farm in the Upstate. (A. Rollins)

Question of the Week

For this week’s question, take a look at the photo below. What is foraging in this cantaloupe flower?

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

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