Weekly Field Update – 3/27/23

Coming up this week, we have a Climate-Smart Project Farmer Interest Meeting on Thursday (3/30) at the Edisto REC in Blackville. Check out other upcoming meetings on the Upcoming Events tab.

Don’t forget to look at our Resources tab for links to crop handbooks, helpful websites, and related blogs. Also, check out the latest episode of the SC Grower Exchange Podcast.

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, “Things are really moving with the nice weather recently. We are in that period where we are harvesting and planting and getting fields ready. Growers are extremely busy. The late spring or early summer crops that were bitten by the cold a few weeks ago seem to have bounced back and are now in an aggressive growth phase. I received some photos of cucumber beetles and yellow-margined leaf beetles in Asian greens and other mustard-type greens this week. These pests are very persistent and need to be managed with broad-spectrum insecticides on a 5-7 day interval for a few weeks. We need to get on top of the populations before the numbers get out of control. I visited a few strawberry fields this past week and guess what I found???…spider mites and gray mold…shocking right?  We cannot plant strawberries, walk away, and expect good yields and healthy fruit. This grower had botrytis (gray mold) on 99.999999% of his berries.”

A spotted cucumber beetle escapes from the harvest basket. (Z. Snipes)

Rob Last reports, “All in all, crops in the area are looking good. Following rainfall, some fields display ponding, which can exacerbate root rots. Remedial drainage to remove the ponding will be of benefit to crops. Please also be aware that if crops are underwater, there is a risk of contamination of the products, and any affected products should be discarded. Strawberry crops are loading up with fruit, and ripening is occurring quickly. Given the freeze last week and wet weather over the weekend, fruit diseases such as Botrytis and anthracnose will become much more prevalent. A determined effort to remove overripe berries and infected fruit will aid plant sanitation and can help reduce spore levels. Sanitation and a robust fungicide program will be required. Remember to rotate fungicides from different modes of action groups and pay attention to the label for the maximum number of treatments or doses. Cold damage to tree fruit and blueberries is still being conducted. Generally, early varieties look to be adversely affected by cold weather.

Strawberries are loaded up. (R. Last)


Phillip Carnley reports, “Orangeburg and Calhoun seemed to fair pretty well from the cold last week, other than peaches. Blueberries and strawberries are looking great at the moment with strawberry harvest really picking up with the warm weather. Spider mites are popping up sporadically, but the rain has definitely helped with control. Botrytis and anthracnose levels have been showing an increase across my area. Certain growers have sent these pathogens to the lab for resistance testing, and results have come back with surprising results. There is some observed resistance to Frac codes 11, 7, and 12. Make sure to frequently rotate your fungicide modes of action to help prevent resistance in your fields. The rain is a welcomed sight, although we’d prefer more consistency compared to this “feast or famine”. Growers in the region are reporting between 1 to 4 inches.”

Strawberry harvest is really picking up. (P. Carnley)
Fruit rots are showing up in strawberries. Resistance screening is available. Contact your local agent for details. (P. Carnley)

Sarah Scott reports, “After several freeze events in the past two weeks, we are assessing damage to the peach crop. While we do not have a firm number as far as crop loss percentage goes, we do know that there was damage. Early-season varieties have likely taken the biggest hit because they were already fruiting. Crews will continue managing orchards to the grower standards while assessments continue.”

Wrapping up pruning in peach orchards. (S. Scott)

Question of the Week

What happened to the new growth on this holly? Hint: It wasn’t like this about two weeks ago.

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

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