Field Update – 10/14/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “A new technical bulletin published online by Clemson University’s Land-Grant Press will help watermelon growers choose tactics to manage Fusarium  wilt. Options include partially resistant varieties, delaying transplanting until soil has warmed, grafting, applying fungicides at transplanting, and winter cover cropping with vetch.  See: Keinath AP. Integrated Management for Fusarium Wilt of Watermelon. Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension. 2019; LGP 1022.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberries are going in or will be going in very shortly here in the Lowcountry.  I want to remind everyone how important it is that deer fencing is put up.  Ideally the fencing should be put up BEFORE the strawberries go in the ground.  I see hundreds of plants each year destroyed by deer.  Assuming the value of that plant is around $3 (1.5 lbs berries per plant and $2 lb), it doesn’t take losing a lot of plants to really feel the financial loss. Please read an article I wrote about setting up and maintaining an inexpensive deer fence here.

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Deer feeding damage can cause significant yield loses to strawberries.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather felt more like fall this past week, but still no significant rain.  The very first strawberries have been planted in the midlands with a lot more planting expected this week.  The first plants were set just before the weather cooled down and the heat really took a toll on them.  95 degrees just isn’t good for strawberry transplants.  The current weather should be much more favorable for planting.  Be sure to set plants at the proper depth and overhead water transplants adequately.  Take a look at this Strawberry Growers Checklist for some good tips for fall strawberry management.”

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The 95 degree heat really took a toll on these strawberry plugs.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Field Update – 10/7/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Growers who have “slacked off” on fungicide applications during the dry spell should resume biweekly or weekly fungicide sprays in areas that are or have received rain. For most fungal diseases, the amount of rain determines how severe the disease becomes. The more rain, the more fungicide sprays are needed. Note that many fungicide labels now state that the product may only be applied once every 7 days; 5-day spray schedules are going away.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Another hot and dry week in the Lowcountry. Non irrigated crops are really starting to suffer.  Many farms are waiting on rain to plant fall crops.  We are beginning to prepare for strawberry season but dry conditions are making it hard to lay plastic. Festivals, corn mazes, pumpkins, and haunted trails are in full gear in the Lowcountry.”

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Sunflowers can add extra income to the farm during the summer and fall seasons. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was hot, but temperatures finally dropped over the weekend. It finally feels like fall.  Dry weather remains, though.  A few areas got some light showers, but it didn’t amount to much.  Growers have laid their plastic for strawberries and planting is approaching quickly.  Caterpillars are still very active in brassica crops and we are seeing some whiteflies as well.  Keep scouting and stay on top of the insects.”

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Plastic laid for strawberries. Planting will start soon. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Whiteflies are showing up on brassica crops in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had spotty rain throughout the Ridge but conditions are still very dry. Cooler night temperatures are bringing some relief. Field preparation for new peach tree plantings are underway including soil fumigation.  With the recent discovery of the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne floridensis, in fields in Edgefield County, growers can request a PCR test if nematode samples test positive for root knot nematodes.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Phytophthora blight on bell peppers has been found in Clarendon and Orangeburg County. Phytophthora blight on peppers is extremely damaging and can result in total loss of the crop prior to the first harvest. Proper fungicide applications and resistant cultivars can be used to suppress this disease. Sweet potatoes are being harvested, as well as eggplants. White-fly populations have been found in broccoli and mustard.

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Phytophthora blight on pepper. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Field Update – 9/30/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It has been very dry here in the Lowcountry.  Our dry land crops are struggling and even irrigated crops are in need of more water.  I found a good number of melonworms this week in cucumber so keep an eye out if you have any cucurbits planted.  I scouted many collard and cabbage fields this past week and found very few caterpillars.  I saw a few isolated areas of harlequin bug damage so scout regularly to stay on top of those.  Our cowpeas are filling out pods right now and unfortunately I found some cowpea curculio in some of the peas.  The good news is that with our dry weather there are very few diseases right now.”

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Worms feeding on cucumber leaves. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Cowpea curculio grub that was inside of a pea pod. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “No changes in the weather from last week. It’s still hot and very dry. Growers are working on bedding fields in preparation for strawberry planting, though it’s difficult to form beds without any soil moisture. Hemp is budding nicely and harvest will probably start in another couple weeks. Caterpillars are still building in a number of crops. We’re seeing diamond back moth, cabbage loopers, and corn earworms mainly.”

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Field being prepped for strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Hemp buds that will be harvested for CBD extraction. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We continue to have hot, dry conditions with rainfall in scattered areas. Bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, sweet potatoes and eggplant being harvested. Hot, sunny conditions cause some sun scald on bell peppers (photo). Peach growers are still keeping an eye out for San Jose scale. Although many growers do not do a post-harvest spray, scale are still active and if a grower has a particularly high population or an area where scale was bad this season, apply a summer oil, diluted dormant oil or a light oil like TriTek which could reduce populations for next year. Growers should be mindful that a full rate dormant spray may defoliate the trees, so scale down.”

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Sun scald on pepper. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry plugs are going through extreme transplant shock due to excessive dry heat.  Smaller sized plugs are more susceptible even in well watered fields.  Early morning overhead waterings of 30 min to 1 hour are recommended to help during first week to two weeks.  Other problems are being investigated, but are unlikely the main problem on these farms.”

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Newly transplanted strawberry plug experiencing transplant shock.  Photo from Andy Rollins.

 

 

Field Update – 9/23/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler days and nights have really helped out our crops as of late.  Fall planted brassicas are taking off and looking good.  Fall watermelons are being harvested this week and look good overall. I have seen more cucumber beetle damage on the rind of watermelons lately.  While there is nothing wrong with these melons, this damage can impact the marketability of melons.”

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Adult striped cucumber beetle causing damage to the rind of watermelon. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has been nice and cool, but it is real dry. We’re still picking squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, and planting brassicas. Caterpillar numbers are building in brassicas.”

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Fall cucumbers planted behind tomatoes so they can utilize the existing trellis. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sara Scott reports, “We are harvesting zucchini,  squash,  cherry tomatoes and beginning bell pepper harvest. Conditions remain dry with little to no measurable rainfall.”

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Cabbage looper on a broccoli plant. Caterpillar populations seem to be high for the fall season. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Eggplant with symptoms resembling Cercospora leaf spot were found in Clarendon and Orangeburg county. A calendar-based protectant fungicide spray program combined with cultural practices can help reduce losses from Cercospora Leaf Spot. Cabbage whiteflies were also found in broccoli fields. Preventative application of insecticides to manage whiteflies is the best tactical management option. Refer to the vegetable handbook for recommendations.”

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Cercospora leaf spot on eggplant foliage. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Nighttime temperatures are finally indicating that fall might be on it’s way despite continued daytime highs in the 90’s. Currently listed in moderate drought with no rain in the extended forecast, the upstate is literally baking. The apple crop as a whole looks good, but red varieties are not coloring because of the heat, picking is about two weeks ahead of schedule, and with the lack of rainfall, moisture content is very low.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Muscadines are continuing to sell well in the upstate and are very high sugar compared to normal.  We are finishing with ‘Fry’ but still have ‘Supreme’ and ‘GrannyVal’ being harvested.  The crop will finish sooner this year because of higher than normal temperatures this month.  So if you wantem’ you better gettem’ because they’ll be gone soon.”

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Fresh muscadines ready to sell. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 9/16/19

Coastal

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Watermelons with symptoms resembling cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) were found at the Coastal REC after Hurricane Dorian. Whiteflies were present before the hurricane, so they did not arrive with the hurricane. Laboratory confirmation is in progress. Preventative applications of insecticides to manage whiteflies is the best management option. CuLCrV also affects squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

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Small watermelon leaves caused by CuLCrV. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was hot and dry early in the week, but we got some rain Thursday and Friday and temperatures are a little cooler now. Irrigation was running a lot in the first part of the week and some crops wilted in between waterings.  Keep an eye out for diseases now that moisture and humidity has returned. Diamonback moth caterpillar numbers seem up be picking up in places as well.”

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Collards wilting in between waterings. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Diamondback moth caterpillar feeding on the underside of a collard leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sara Scott reports, “It’s been hot and dry along the Ridge with no significant rainfall this past week. Fall fertilizer applications are going out in the peach orchards.”

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Here we are in mid-September waiting for cooler temps, but having to endure some persisting summer heat. Luckily, the forecast is for some cooler weather about mid week. Muscadine harvest is coming to a close. Carlos and Noble grapes had good yields, this year. Doreen muscadines harvest should be just about to wrap up. Sweetpotato harvest is just getting geared up. Okra is still being harvested in good volumes. Cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini are a little light right now, but should be more plentiful in a few days. Peas and butterbeans are still available in limited supply. Fall planting of collards, cabbage, and other cole crops are being done now. Strawberry planting should be starting shortly.

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Okra still blooming and bearing heavily. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Field of zucchini soon to be ready for harvest. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Processing sweet potato harvest has begun.  Pickling cucumber harvest continues.  Brassicas have been slowed in growth and lost some stand due to the excessive heat – hope it cools down.  Processing spinach was delayed by heat, but planting has now begun.

 

 

Field Update – 9/9/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Hurricane Dorian caused some damage, but it could have been a lot worse.  There are some trees down and some fields are flooded.  We’re still figuring out the extent of the damage.  Be sure to take lots of pictures for insurance.  Remember, all produce that was flooded cannot legally be sold and should be destroyed.  I’ll send out damage paperwork to growers in the low country soon.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Areas west of Columbia got just a little bit of wind and almost no rain from Hurricane Dorian.  We’re still picking muscadines and summer planted squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  The cooler temperatures and recent rain has greatly increased disease pressure.  We’re seeing lots of bacterial spot and speck in tomatoes, black rot and ripe rot in muscadines, and various leaf spots in hemp.  Stick to your disease programs.  Fall brassica planting continues as does strawberry land prep.

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Leaf spots on hemp foliage.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

 

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A field of kale for fall harvest growing well in the midlands.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Too wet to harvest sweet potatoes or pickling cucumbers.  Water is standing in some fields.  The closer the beach, the worse it is.  It’s time to plant spinach.  Much of the collards, turnips, kale, and mustard were planted and up before rain started.  If not up before the rain, seed could be washed away.  Many waited until after the rain to finish planting.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Apples are in full swing. Growers are picking ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Early Fuji’, ‘Mutsu’, and ‘Granny Smith’ varieties. Croploads look better than expected thus far, and seem to be about 2 weeks ahead of typical ripening due to the heat and drought. Muscadines are starting to come in to the markets along with the last bit of summer crops. Many of the smaller farmers markets are slim with produce right now because of the transition to fall crops.”

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Apples are in full swing in the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Andy Rollins reports finding some severe cases of anthracnose in late peppers. “The bright orange colored powdery substance are 1000’s of spores of the fungus Colletotrichum.  Leaf symptoms are not evident, just the obvious fruit lesions.   Hot rainy weather has persisted in the mountains and lack of good airflow caused this to be a major problem for some growers.  Even under the best spray program these problems can still exist if conditions for the disease are favorable enough.  Although some variety differences have been noted none are highly resistant to this problem.  A good spray program and good sanitation in keeping fruit picked is essential for the best control possible.

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Anthracnose lesions on pepper.  Photo from Andy Rollins.

 

Field Update – 9/2/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Fall peppers and eggplant are looking nice this week due to cooler temperatures.  We received lots of brassica transplants this week including broccoli, kale, collards and rutabagas from plant nurseries.  Planting on these crops has begun and will continue for the next couple months.  Overall, these transplants look weak and have some disease in them.  Some of our fall watermelons, cantaloupe, and hard squash are starting to come in strong.”

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Black rot already showing up on transplants. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Butternut squash almost ready to pick. Photo from Zack Snipes.

 

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “This past week felt a little like fall.  We had some scattered showers and the temperatures cooled down a bit, especially in the mornings.  Hemp is blooming well and we are seeing some caterpillars feeding on the buds in some areas.  Fall brassicas are still being planted and the young plants are looking good so far. Beans, squash, zucchini, muscadines, eggplant, and tomatoes are being harvested.”

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Corn earworm feeding on hemp buds. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Great crop of muscadines in the midlands this year. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are wrapping up throughout the Ridge. Late summer plantings of squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cole crops have been planted and are starting to take off. Plastic is going down in many fields for fall plantings of strawberries. We’ve had slightly cooler temperatures and varying amounts of rain throughout the week.”

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Broccoli transplants taking off.  Photo from Sara Scott.

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Late season tomatoes with a good bloom load. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “On most years, the beginning of muscadine harvest occurs right around the Labor Day weekend. This year was no different. A few weeks ago, there were some concerns that a few vineyards may have been experiencing early ripening due to this summer’s heat. Luckily, the heat broke a bit, and the grapes were able to hold on for a timely harvest. So, harvest of juice/wine grapes began earlier this week. Carlos and Noble varieties’ volume looks very good. Doreen is still a little ways out, and needs a few more days of ripening. Harvest will likely be pretty steady for the next couple of weeks. Fresh market muscadines are still coming off in good volumes. Strawberry growers are busy putting down plastic and getting beds ready for planting. Strawberry planting is just a few weeks away. Other produce available in good volumes are: late peas and butterbeans, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and canary melons. The start of sweetpotato harvest is not too far away.

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Harvesting muscadines mechanically in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Muscadine harvester emptying a load.  Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Fall butterbeans, snapbeans, and peas are flowering and starting to set pods.  Land prep (laying plastic) for strawberries has started.  Fall pickling cucumbers are setting fruit and some will be harvested this week.  Sweet potato harvest has begun.”

Field Update – 8/26/19

Coastal Region

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Phytophthora crown rot was observed on bronze fennel in a home landscape (mine) in Charleston. Fennel apparently is a new host for Phytophthora  (species not identified). Foliar symptoms include a progressive yellowing, starting with the older leaves. Symptoms on the lower stem and leaf sheath are a water-soaked, “greasy” rot. It is very likely that Florence (green, edible) fennel also is susceptible. Potassium phosphite products are the only fungicides registered for post-transplant applications on the leafy vegetables crop group that includes fennel.”

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Yellowing of fennel foliage from Phytophthora crown rot. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

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Water-soaked, greasy rot symptom on the lower sheaths. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We got some much-needed rain over most of the midlands this week and temperatures have been a little cooler over the last few days.  Planting continues with fall brassicas and diamond back moth caterpillars are showing up already.  We need to be scouting weekly for those and using the treatment threshold of 5 worms per 10 plants at this stage of the season.  The recent moisture is causing an increase in disease pressure, so stay on your regular spray schedules.”

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Diamondback moth pupa on the underside of a collard leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Diseases like anthracnose could increase following with past week’s rain. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are wrapping up around the ridge. Broccoli plants are still going in for fall harvest. We have had rain in the last week which has been a nice break on irrigation systems.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Last of pickling cucumbers have been planted.  Collard, kale, turnips, mustard, etc. planting in full swing with both transplants and direct seeding.  Bed prep for strawberries has begun.  Getting late to order strawberry plants. Fall blackberry harvest is continuing.   Sweet potato harvest will begin soon.  Double cropped processing peas are starting to flower.  Butterbeans planted for fall production are starting to flower.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “The last few peaches are being picked this week in Oconee County. The apple harvest is coming along nicely, ‘Early Fuji’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apples will start to be picked this week. A spotty hail storm in Long Creek last week has caused some damage across the orchards, but is very localized. Summer market vegetable growers are wrapping things up with some of the Farmers Markets closing at the end of August. With rain & cooler weather forecasted, disease and weed management will be a continued battle for growers.”

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Early Fuji apples from the Upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update – 8/19/19

Coastal Region

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Phomopsis blight is showing up on eggplant at the Coastal REC. On susceptible cultivars, like ‘Black Beauty,’ the disease starts as leaf spots; later in the season stem cankers and fruit rot appear. Although several fungicides are registered on eggplant, none are specifically labeled for Phomopsis blight. Aprovia Top and Priaxor might give some control; more testing is needed before a definite recommendation can be made.”

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Phomopsis blight on eggplant foliage. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week we had some scattered rains, but some areas remain bone dry.  Irrigation is running a lot in those areas.  Muscadine harvest has started and so far, this is the largest yield we’ve seen in recent years.  Squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes are also being harvested. Quality looks good, but volume is down a bit in some areas.  More fall brassicas are being planted and strawberry growers are just starting the process of prepping their fields.”

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Great crop of muscadines in the midlands this year. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Good looking eggplant harvested in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Much of the upper Pee Dee Region received beneficial rains late last week. This helped to drop temps back to about normal, following the excessive heat from a few days earlier. On most crops, the rain really helped to push production again. Late season cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and okra are looking good. Canary melons are looking excellent. Volumes on these crops are good. Last week’s heat did take a toll on watermelons, though. Volumes are significantly down from the prior week and are likely winding down for the season. Muscadines are a bit varied across the region. In some locations, ‘Carlos’ and ‘Noble’ (wine and juice varieties) are getting very close to harvest, while other vineyards are ripening a bit slower. Harvest on the most mature wine and juice muscadines could begin as soon as next week.

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Fall cucumbers were showing some downy mildew earlier on. Fungicide applications seem to have held down further development. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Canary melons are looking excellent. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Heavy rain in certain area but none in others.  Some fresh market sweet potatoes are ready for harvest.  Processing sweet potato harvest will begin end of August.  Pickling cucumbers for machine harvest are still being planted most growers are favoring the parthenocarpic varieties.  Brassica planting has begun – seeds and transplants.  Fall bearing blackberries are yielding well.”

Upstate

Mark Arena reports seeing pecan scab. “Pecan Scab fungus is a weather dependant disease. There are varieties/cultivars that exhibit tolerance to this disease as shown below in the photos. Observed in Picture #1, we see both the nuts and foliage are showing signs of infection (the brown lessions). Picture #2 shows no sign of disease on either the nuts and/or foliage at the present time. Pecan scab can go undetected for days before the lessions appear, therefore, it is imperaitive to use a preventitive fungicide program to insure nut production.

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Nuts and leaves infected by pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.

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Nuts and leaves appear free of pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.