Weekly Field Update – 4/10/23

Coming up this week, we have a couple more Pesticide Collection Events hosted by the SCDA. This is a great opportunity to get rid of any old unwanted pesticides you have lying around the shed. 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

Rob Last reports, “It has been another variable week in the low country with 1.6” of rainfall recorded and wide temperature variations. The rain has been beneficial in establishing cucurbit crops, both cantaloupes from seed and watermelon transplants. Early planted watermelons, planted under plastic covers, have had covers removed and are approaching vine run. At this point, managing gummy stem blight and preventing bacterial fruit blotch will be critical. Many growers are busily transplanting watermelons. Again, disease management begins now. As per the Watermelon Fungicide Guide Land Grant Press Publication 1001, Chlorothalonil effectively prevents many foliar diseases. If bacterial fruit blotch is a concern, I recommend switching to a mancozeb application with fixed copper. Mixing fixed copper and Chlorothalonil will lead to phytotoxicity. In strawberry crops, we see increasing levels of botrytis (gray mold) allied to the wet weather and water-soaked berries, leading to a source of inoculum. Blueberries are coming to harvest with excellent quality and volume.”

Watermelon transplants are off to a good start. (R. Last)

Zack Snipes reports, “Things were rocking and rolling in the Lowcountry until we dipped into the 40s the past few nights. This cooler weather will definitely slow down early spring crops like tomatoes and cucurbits. The early spring crops look amazing, including carrots, onions, lettuce, greens, and other root crops. I have seen some nematode damage (galling) on carrots in a few fields. I know everyone is tired of me saying it, but please scout your strawberry fields for spider mites and gray mold. I have only been in one field this season that did not require a treatment for mites.  If you don’t think you have spider mites, you probably do.

Tomatoes are planted and staked. The first tie will happen this week in a lot of fields. (Z. Snipes)
Highbush blueberry harvest has begun on the coast. They are absolutely loaded up this year. (Z. Snipes)


Phillip Carnley reports, “Orangeburg and Calhoun are looking pretty fair after the cooler weather this weekend. Strawberries are continuing to bloom and be picked. We are still seeing elevated levels of botrytis. Remember, Captan is your friend. There are also some “crab claw” berries in the fields after the wet cool weather also. Blueberries are coming on strong and should be in full production this week. Blackberries are now showing the full extent of the cold damage but are still flowering profusely. If tended properly, they should produce well this year. Popular varieties in my area include Cato, Ponca, PrimArk 45, and a few Osage.”

“Crab Claw” berries are showing up in the Orangeburg/Calhoun area. (P. Carnley)

Rob Last reports, “It has been another variable week in the Midlands, with 3.24” rainfall and wide temperature swings. Sweetcorn and leafy greens are looking good, with some cucurbits emerging. Pest and diseases remain relatively low, requiring careful scouting; given rainfall and wet leaves, the situation is good for developing foliar diseases. Keep a close eye out for diamondback moth activity. In strawberry crops, we see increasing levels of botrytis (gray mold) allied to the wet weather and water-soaked berries, leading to a source of inoculum. Sanitation can play a pivotal role in removing inoculum sources, allied to prompt harvesting. Many of our fungicides provide excellent protection. In light of the forecast for more rainfall later in the week, applying fungicides before the rainfall can be very beneficial.

Sarah Scott reports, “It appears that the weather can’t make up its mind what it wants to do. We were pretty warm last week prior to a heavy rain event and cool front moving in. As far as peaches go, some varieties are sizing nicely despite the cold events earlier in the season. We will still have to wait and see what kind of crop we will have this year, but it seems promising for some varieties. We are expected to have our first large peak of scale in the next 7-10 days in the Ridge. You can read about how to monitor for scale crawlers and some chemical options for knockdown in the latest UGA Peach Blog. Strawberries are growing and sizing nicely despite the slow-downs from cold events. I have seen a good many spider mites in some fields, and botrytis is beginning to appear as well. Keep a close eye on both of these issues before they become widespread. Field sanitation is very important, especially with all of the rain we have had and more in the future forecast.

Some of our summer crops have gone into the ground including these peppers. (S. Scott)
Peaches starting to size after thinning. (S. Scott)

Question of the Week

What happened to this aphid?

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

One response to “Weekly Field Update – 4/10/23”

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