Field Update – 6/3/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports,”Powdery mildew was found on watermelon at the Coastal REC on May 30. Typical symptoms of powdery mildew on watermelon are distinct yellow spots, although the spots may be indistinct yellow blotches rather than round spots. The symptoms seen this week included more browning than is typical for the size of the spots, perhaps due to unusually hot weather.  To manage powdery mildew on watermelon and other cucurbits, click here. Powdery mildew-resistant cultivars of cucumber and cantaloupe are holding up well, but squashes with partial resistance to powdery mildew should be sprayed.”

Yellow spots include more browning than usual for powdery mildew. The hot weather probably contributed to this. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Another week without rain for most of the Lowcountry.  The irrigated crops that have gotten enough water and look great including tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and squash. We are at the beginning of tomato, melon, rabbiteye blueberry, and blackberry harvest.  Blueberry growers will want to look out for anthracnose fruit rot in harvested berries.  There is nothing that can be done this year but we can work on spray programs for next year.  The tomato crop looks great except for the usual bacterial wilt and southern blight.  I heard of a few hot spots of spider mites last week so scout regularly especially during this hot and dry period.”

Cantaloupe looking good in the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Anthracnose in blueberries. The photo on the right shows berries that were just picked. The berries on the left were picked 3 days prior to the photo being taken and stored at room temperature. You can see the orange spore masses on some of the berries. Photos from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports,”Last week was another hot, dry week. It’s been 23 days now since we’ve had rain that amounted to anything more than a brief sprinkle. Irrigation systems are not getting much rest. Squash and zucchini yields have suffered some, most likely because bee activity decreases when it is extremely hot and dry. We have some blueberries that are suffering because the drip system is not able to keep up with the water demand. Other irrigated crops like sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are looking fine. We need rain pretty badly, though.

Collards just outside of the reach of the end gun are wilting and the bottom leaves are drying out. Photo from Justin Ballew
Blueberries are showing signs of drought stress in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Things are busy and man has it been HOT! I’ve been speaking with Brett Blauuw, entomologist from UGA,  about what to expect when the temps dip back down to “normal” as far as the pest outlook is concerned and here are some notes from our conversation:

  • Scale insects tend to become inactive at temperatures greater than 90, but they will continue to develop at night when the temperatures dip back down. The activity should decrease compared to a ’normal’ spring where it’s in the 80s. We still have a couple of weeks before we see another peak abundance of scale crawlers.
  • Stink bugs don’t mind the heat much. The adults that emerged from overwintering are dying right now, so the numbers are declining but, they have laid eggs and the nymphs will be developing. In a couple of weeks we should expect another large number of BMSB adults. 
  • Plum curculio is also more abundant and active this year. Still catching adults down in Fort Valley, so that is another concern.
  • Thrips, unfortunately love hot, dry climates, so right now is the perfect weather for them. For organic producers, Entrust is an affective product.”
Squash bugs showing up on cucurbits in the Midlands. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Field Update – 5/28/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Downy mildew has moved into south Georgia on cucumber and watermelon. Growers should have downy mildew fungicides on hand and be ready to spray cucumber, cantaloupe, and watermelon when rain starts in the lower half of the state. A preventative spray of mancozeb or chlorothalonil would be a good idea in the meantime. You can keep track of the spread of downy mildew here.

Despite the dry weather, anthracnose was found on watermelon in the Bamberg/Barnwell County area last week. All watermelons in the state should be sprayed with mancozeb as a preventative.”

Anthracnose lesions on watermelon leaf. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It has been unusually hot for the month of May.  The current heat wave coupled with the lack of rain is really starting to have an impact on crops, even irrigated crops.  The tomato and melon crops look good but are starting to feel the intense heat and lack of rain.  I have seen very little disease and insect pressure on all crops.

Irrigated watermelons are looking great on the Coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Irrigated peppers wilting in the heat of the day. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “This past week was hot and dry. It felt more like July than May. It’s been over two weeks now since we’ve had any rain and irrigation systems are running a lot. In larger fields with overhead irrigation, we are seeing some wilting where the pivots aren’t getting around fast enough. Drip irrigated crops are looking good. Silks are starting to brown on the earliest planted sweet corn. Blackberry picking will begin soon and muscadines have begun blooming.

Collards wilting in between watering. Photo from Justin Ballew
Silks are turning brown on earliest planted sweet corn. Photo from Justin Ballew

Field Update – 5/20/19

Statewide: Dr. Guido Schnabel reports, “Green fruit rot is starting to show up in commercial peach orchards. This disease is caused by the fungus Monilinia fructicola. In spring we had an extended period of bloom with lots of rain. That led to blossom blight caused by the same fungal pathogen. Growers must take this disease very seriously as it can cause significant preharvest and postharvest fruit rot. Many take advantage of our lab service to determine potential weaknesses in fungicide spray programs. For more information contact your local county agent or Dr. Schnabel directly at schnabe@clemson.edu.”

Green fruit(Monolinia fructicola) rot on a peach. Photo from Dr. Guido Schnabel.

Coast: Zack Snipes reports, “We have had nice warm weather that is helping the development of irrigated crops.  We are starting to get dry and could use some rain for dry land crops and to settle dust. We are in the middle of squash and cucumber harvest.  We are starting to see powdery mildew show up on cucurbit crops. The tomato crop looks promising this year despite the usual bacterial wilt common in fields.  To test for bacterial wilt, select a wilting plant, cut it through the stem, and put into a jar of water.  If the pathogen responsible for bacterial wilt is present (Ralstonia solanacearum), you will get what’s known as bacterial streaming which is a milky white stream coming from the cut end of the plant.

Bacterial wilt ( Ralstonia solanacearum) on tomato. Photo from Zack Snipes
Powdery mildew on squash leaf. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “The weather this past week was pretty mild, but dry. Thrips have become a problem in strawberries in some areas, but we are so close to the end of picking that most growers would not benefit from a treatment. Production has really decreased and some growers have already begun redirecting picking labor to other crops. Spring planted squash and peppers are starting to come into production and everything is looking pretty good. Keep an eye out for spider mites on tomatoes as it gets hot and stays dry this week.

Thrips damage on developing strawberry.
Peppers are developing well in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “We have begun picking early varieties of peaches across the Ridge. Things are looking good for a nice crop this year. Green fruit rot (Monilinia fructicola), also known as brown rot, has shown up in a few spots around the Ridge. We are continuing to monitor stink bug populations in orchards. Traps have shown high numbers of insects but damage has been scattered in this area.

Peaches are looking great on the Ridge. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Stink bug trap on the edge of a peach orchard. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Field Update – 5/13/19

Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Another great week of weather has things right on track. For the most part we are finished with strawberries and have maybe one more cutting of broccoli left in the field. We are in the middle of squash and zucchini harvest. The tomato crop looks great as plants have small green fruit with little to no disease. The blackberry crop is loading up. Diamondback moths continue to be an issue on late planted greens. Watch out for spider mites on tomato, melon, and blackberry crops this week.”

Blackberries are loading up in the Coastal Region. Photo From Zack Snipes
Diamondback moth caterpillar populations remain high on the Coast. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands: Justin Ballew reports,”We had great weather last week. A storm came through Saturday evening and brought around an inch of rain. Strawberries are decreasing in size and we probably only have a couple weeks of harvest left. Once again, the rain caused a lot of damage to developing fruit. First planted sweet corn is now tasseling and is looking great. Tomatoes are blooming and fruit is starting to develop. Most other crops are doing well.”

Sweet corn is starting to tassel in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew
Tomatoes are blooming and starting to develop fruit in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Upstate: Kerrie Roach reports,”Things are coming along well in the Upstate with market producers just starting to see the beginning fruits of their labor. We should be ready to roll into farmers markets for Memorial Day weekend! Peach growers are finishing up hand thinning. Overall, they are a few weeks out still and have about 40% overall loss on some varieties from freeze damage. Early apple varieties such as the goldens and galas are showing about 25% loss, but later varieties like Mutsu, Pink Lady, and Arkansas Black look to be a full crop load!


This is from a recent research project looking at the value added potential in bottling mature fruit. Photo from Kerrie Roach

Field Update – 5/6/19

Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Beautiful sunny weather has really pushed our spring crops this week.  We received some spotty thunderstorms this weekend that will help dryland crops as well as settle some dust.  We are approaching the end of strawberry season as berries are getting smaller.  Be sure to keep plants clean these next few weeks as berries develop quicker.  When berries develop quicker it is harder to keep them picked thus allowing pests such as spotted wing drosophila and botrytis to settle in.  We are seeing beautiful tomato, eggplant, and cucurbit crops growing off throughout the region.  We began squash and zucchini harvest this past week and are in the middle of highbush blueberry harvest.”

Cantaloupe starting to develop fruit in the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Highbush blueberry harvest is going well in the the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “It was very sunny and warm last week. Storms came in Saturday afternoon and brought around 1.5 inches of rain. This was good for just about everything except for the strawberries. We are seeing a ton of water damage on berries now and grey mold has also picked up. Spider mite populations were building last week as well, so keep scouting for those. Spring and summer crops are looking great and growing fast. Stringing has started in tomatoes, heading brassicas are developing well, and leafy brassicas are being harvested daily.

Water damage on ripe strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.
The first stringing of tomatoes is done in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports peach picking in the Ridge will begin this week with early varieties. “The season is on track for 2019 with a good crop load of early variety peaches. Bacteriosis is visible on some peaches once color begins to develop. Copper applications are critical to maintain best fruit quality. Refer to the 2019 Peach and Nectarine and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide for recommendations.

Picking will begin this week on early peach varieties in the Ridge. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Bacteriosis on ripe peach. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate: Kerrie Roach reports, “It’s been a great week for growers in the Upstate. Peaches are coming along nicely and apples are not far behind at about thumb size. Spring vegetables are in the ground with many producers projected to start picking squash in just a week or two. Farmers Markets have slowly started opening with mainly cool season crops. We are hoping for another great week of growing weather!”

Field Update – 4/29/19

Statewide: Dr. Tony Keinath reports finding powdery mildew on Hale’s Best Jumbo cantaloupe in Charleston last week. “Anyone growing heirloom varieties of cucurbits should spray for powdery mildew, because open-pollinated varieties do not have the resistance found in hybrid varieties. All cucurbit growers should be on the lookout for powdery mildew starting now and be ready to spray when it shows up on their farms.”

Dr. Guido Schnabel reports, “2019 promises to be a great peach season despite the one late freeze we had late March. Still, some remnants of this late freeze can still be observed on many cultivars. They include peach buttons next to well developing fruit. The embryo of those button peaches are often damaged. These buttons will soon fall off the tree. Most cultivars do have enough normal fruit, however, for a full or nearly full crop.”

Freeze damaged peaches and healthy peaches. Photo from Dr. Guido Schnabel.
Peach button with dead embryo due to freeze damage. Photo from Guido Schnabel.

Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Beautiful weather last week really helped the progress of spring crops like tomato, pepper, and squash. We should be harvesting the first flush of squash this week. Spring onions, broccoli, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, and greens are continuing to be harvested. Have seen some major issues with the diamond back moth this spring on greens.”

Tomatoes are growing well in the Coastal Region. Photo from Zack Snipes.
The first squash harvest is getting close in Charleston. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “Strawberry harvest has picked up this week and disease is very low since the weather has been dry. Spring and Summer crops are growing fast. A few spidermites have been seen and could increase quickly if it stays dry. Keep an eye out for those.”

Sarah Scott reports finding high numbers of brown marmorated stink bugs in traps along the Ridge. “While scouting the orchards I saw a few peaches that had some stink bug damage as well. Not wide spread but it is showing up so be mindful when you’re scouting in the coming week.”

Stink bug damage on a young peach. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate: Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry production is finally in full swing after a very delayed start to our year.  Early picking resulted in some knotty fruit but fruit quality and flavor are excellent now across all of the upstate. Slug problems show up when we have high moisture conditions as in the below picture from a neighboring state. Deadline pellets are a very effective control should they show up here, but caution is needed to keep the pellets from directly contacting fruit when applying.”

Strawberry harvest is in full swing in the upstate.
Slug damage on a strawberry. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 4/22/19

Coastal: We had a pretty strong storm come through last week with 30 mph winds. Some damage is to be expected this week from those winds. All crops look pretty good otherwise.

Collards growing well in the Coastal region.

Midlands: Anthracnose fruit rot picked up significantly in strawberries last week. Spring and summer crops are growing well and looking good. Storms came in Friday and gave about a half inch of rain. Steady wind dried fields up fairly quickly afterwards.

Sweet corn up and growing in the Midlands.

Pee Dee: Diamond Backs are bad especially where Brassicas have been left since last year to become a source.  Some cabbage is beginning to head.  Some root/top turnips, collards, radish, spinach, and mustard are ready to start harvest next week.  Tomatoes are beginning to take root and start to grow on plastic.  Some squash, cucumbers, and cantaloupes are almost vining.  Sweet potato propagation beds are up and growing well.  

Field Update – 4/15/19

Coastal: Periodic rainfall last week helped dry land crops.  Very nice greens and root crops being harvested. The rain ruined some strawberries last week and more disease is showing up in strawberry fields.  Most of the tomato crop is in the ground.  

Midlands: At least 2 inches of rain fell last week in most places. Strawberry harvest is picking up, though grey mold and anthracnose fruit rot are picking up as well, due to the rain. Tomatoes and peppers ave been planted and brassicas are growing fast. Diamondback moth caterpillar and aphid populations have been low so far.

Anthracnose fruit rot. The infected portion of the strawberry often easily separates in one piece from the rest of the berry.