Zack Snipes reports, “We had a heavy downpour of rain last week surpassing 2.5 inches in some spots. I am seeing downy mildew in cucumbers and lots of gummy stem blight in winter squash and pumpkins. The worm pressure has lessened in the past few weeks. I am seeing lots and lots of black rot in transplanted brassicas. Inspect your plants before planting them to make sure the disease is not coming from the nursery. Once a brassica is planted in the field, there is not much we can do to slow the spread except hope that environmental conditions (rain, humidity) are not conducive to spread the disease. I am also seeing lots of early weed pressure in fall planted crops on both bare-ground and plastic. We have some very good herbicide options to apply preplant. Once you plant the crop, we have very few herbicides that can be used over the top of the crop. Right now is the time to get down strawberry herbicides before the season starts. As the old proverb goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Justin Ballew reports, “We received about an inch of rain (at my house), which we really needed. The temperatures over the last week have been very mild and it has started to feel like fall. Fall crops are doing well. We’re still planting brassicas and keeping an eye on caterpillars. Muscadines are being harvested now. Growers are reporting good fruit quality, but lower yields than last year. This is most likely due to the late cold weather that affected muscadine growers across the state. On pecans, black aphid populations and scab incidence are both high. It appears both of these pests are going to significantly reduce yield on sensitive varieties if growers didn’t stay on top of sprays.”
Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “With all the rain we had in August the weed seed bank is starting to pop. Nutsedge pressure can be really tough in September. For fall cole crop plantings, it is important to initiate the stale seed bed technique (allow weeds to come up and burn them down multiple times before planting). In some cole crops, such as broccoli, Dual Magnum may be used, which provides some pre-emergent suppression of yellow nutsedge (Max 60% probably). Following with an in-row cultivation several weeks after planting will strain the photosynthate reserves of nutsedge, which could be lethal to the nutsedge if we get a cold snap in late October.”
Zack Snipes reports, “I saw whiteflies everywhere last week. I saw them on just about every crop in the field: squash, zucchini, tomato, peas, eggplant, okra. We have very good options to manage whiteflies, so consult with your local agent or look up the specific products for the crop you are growing in the Southeast Crop Handbook. Be careful not to use pyrethroids for whiteflies as resistance will develop very quickly. Longer lasting, more specific options are available that are better options. I also saw a good many worms last week such as the melonworm in cucurbits and the beet armyworm in other crops. If you have whiteflies and worms in a crop then the group 28 insecticides (Coragen, Verimark/Exirel, Harvanta) are excellent options to take care of both pests at the same time with good residual.”
Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was extremely hot and dry, though we finally got some relief from the heat over the weekend. Crops are progressing well, though we are seeing caterpillar activity increase. We’re seeing diamondback moth and cabbage loopers in brassica crops and armyworms in tomatoes. Be sure to rotate insecticide MOA’s when treating for caterpillars. I’m also seeing a few whiteflies around, but nothing severe yet. Black rot is starting to show up on some brassicas. Strawberry growers are starting to apply their preplant fertilizers in preparation for shaping the beds.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Muscadine harvest is starting to wind down. Harvest looked good and had very good yields. Brix averaged out at 13.5 to 14.5%, depending upon the cultivar and the vineyard. Now is a good time to evaluate successes and problems from this season and write them down while they’re fresh on your mind. Also, look at the overall amount of foliage on the vines. Is it too much? Not quite enough? Start planning how you need to adjust fertility for next year. A post-harvest potassium fertilizer application has proven to be beneficial to the crop (in on-farm settings), especially in wet years. Overall plant health, spring emergence and vigor, and next year’s yields should be well improved.”
Tony Melton reports, “Getting dry and need some rain. Busy planting turnips, mustard, and collards. Harvesting processing sweet potatoes as quickly as they can process them (problems in the plant). Picking pickles and yielding much better with dryer conditions. Also, pickling plants having trouble with getting enough labor so very few peppers harvested. Still spraying processing peas for cowpea curculio. Watch out for southern stem blight it is still raging havoc.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “The last few peaches are making their way to stands and markets. Things are continuing to look good as the Apple crop progresses in the upstate. Growers to the north in Hendersonville, NC suffered multiple hail events causing a large amount of damage, but SC growers seem to have escaped the worst of it. Vegetable production has slowed significantly with many small growers finishing for the season over the next few weeks. Muscadines are coming into their prime, and look to be highly productive this year.”
Andy Rollins reports, “These plants were found positive for Phytopthora root rot last week in an early upstate strawberry planting. Inspection of plants when they arrive can accurately diagnose this problem. Brown to blackish colored roots are characteristic. A small portion of this material is taken from 5-10 plants then placed into a pouch that accurately identifies the presence of Phytopthora within a few min. As in picture, 1 line tells you the test worked properly 2 lines indicates presence of the fungus. Early treatment with Ridomil and or any of the phosphite (Rampart/Prophyt) is very helpful but must begin quickly if plants are widely infected for the best results.”
Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “Love is in the air, and your crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) PRE herbicides should be on the ground if you are in the Low Country. When soil temperatures reach 55 F for 2 to 3 days, which will usually occur before March 1st in the Low Country, March 15th in the Midlands and March 30th for the upstate crabgrass germination is possible and can continue throughout the spring and summer. No matter how well crabgrass has been controlled in previous years, there is still a tremendous seed bank in the soil and open spots in crop canopy will allow this fast-growing summer annual to invade. Crabgrass’ rapid emergence and extremely fast growth rate make it a problematic weed in early spring to summer. One study by NC State showed that for every week large crabgrass emergence was delayed an increase in 373 watermelon fruit was observed. This relatively small grassy weed can cause a big problem in early season cucurbit crop plantings.”
Crabgrass seedlings. Photo from Virginia Tech
Zack Snipes reports, “A wet week is coming to the Lowcountry. Most farms are discing up land and pressing beds in preparation for the season. I saw some potatoes going in last week on a farm or two. If you have strawberries and have started spraying, then keep spraying. Protectant fungicides applied before a weather event are the best measure at preventing disease. The weather coming is perfect for gray mold and Anthracnose to develop. If you have a smartphone download the MYIPM app (make sure to use WiFi) to key you in on diseases and preventative measures for small fruits.
Land being prepped for spring vegetables. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Justin Ballew reports, “More rain on the horizon. Lots of collards are bolting and fall brassicas, in general, are wrapping up. Some spring brassicas have already been planted. Black rot is showing up in some fields following the storms and warm weather, so if, you’re done with a field, get rid of it! It never got cold enough Friday to kill strawberry blooms, but lots of growers had their row covers on just in case. Growers are protecting blooms from now on. This will have us picking around mid-March. Make sure to sanitize the fields as soon as it stops raining and it’s safe to pull off the row covers and start your fungicide programs and fertigation now.
Black rot showing up in collards after the recent storms. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Workers busy putting row covers on strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Bruce McClean reports, “We have been on a bit of a roller coaster for the last couple of weeks… warm temps separated by brief periods of cool, windy conditions. The cool weather has not been that severe or persistent, and the warmer weather has been much more dominant. This has caused crops like blueberries and strawberries to really start to push. Heavy flowering in both crops is very evident now. With strawberries, we’re not too worried about losing early blooms… the plant will make more. But with blueberries, persistent early warm temps can ruin the upcoming season’s crop quickly. Some growers have asked about frost protecting this early. The challenge is “do you have enough water to protect until all risk of frost is gone”… likely not. The only thing worse than losing a crop because you didn’t frost protect is frost protecting all winter only to run out of water on the last night of freezing temps. Try to assess how much water supply you have and try to make decisions based on that. If you need help, please reach out to Clemson Extension for assistance.
Some chores to be doing now – finish up pruning your vineyards and orchards over the next week, or so. Look closely for dead wood in your vineyard, especially on the cordons. Now is the best time to identify it and remove it. Also, if you are planning to do some hardwood propagation on blueberries, now is the time to select one-year-old canes for cuttings. Be sure to keep them bagged (with moist peat moss or pine bark) and refrigerated until you are ready to sprig in the spring.
Unhealthy muscadine condon that needs to be pruned out. Photo from Bruce McLean
Hardwood blueberry cutting. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Tony Melton reports, “Farmers wish the rain would stop so they can get greens planted. One way to keep plants from growing too tall in the greenhouse is blowing with a leaf blower every day it will harden them off and cause them to be shorter. Time to bed sweet potatoes for slips if not to wet. If you’ve started to save/protect strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. (some already in full bloom) get ready for Friday night.
Dr. Matt Cutulle cautions growers to be careful with late planted greens. “If getting out late with greens planting I would be careful with applying treflan pre-plant herbicides, as cold soil temperatures can facilitate injury.”
Zack Snipes reports, “We are finishing up with summer crop harvests of cucumber, squash, and beans and harvesting fall crops like broccoli, collards, root crops, and lettuces. The rains and, at times, cooler weather have helped our fall crops. This past week I found some really cool beneficial insects in our Lowcountry brassica fields. When scouting take note of any beneficials in your fields and know that they are providing lots of pest control for you. Black rot in brassica has started showing up pretty regularly with the recent rains and lower temperatures. Crop rotation, using clean seed and transplants, and sanitation (removing of diseased tissue) can help with control of this disease. Many farms are seeding cover crops this time of year. Cover crops like clover can be grown to increase soil biomass, produce nitrogen, suppress weeds, and provide nectar and pollen for our beneficial insects.”
Black rot showing up in brassicas after the recent thunderstorms. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Planting cover crops. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Justin Ballew reports, “We got some rain from thunderstorms last week and the weather has turned significantly cooler since. We are seeing a few spidermites on strawberries. Keep an eye out for those. We don’t normally see a lot spidermites this early, so don’t let them catch you not paying attention. Caterpillar populations are still low on brassicas and disease has been relatively low also. A few false chinch bugs have been reported on mustard and turnip. We’re cropping kale and collards and still picking some last minute fall squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.”
Two-spotted spider mites on the underside of a strawberry leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Still picking some last minute eggplant. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Sarah Scott reports, “Lower temperatures have brought a few light frosts to the area with scattered damage to tender vegetation. We continue to harvest broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes, spinach and collards.”
Broccoli head developing in the midlands. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Bacterial soft rot on pepper. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Pee Dee Region
Tony Melton reports, “Bacterial leaf diseases of brassicas have been terrible this fall, maybe due to heat we had early – processing greens had to be harvested early to meet grade. I have found millions of False Cinch Bugs on brassicas especially turnips – imidacloprid is a good control without killing beneficial insects. Farmers (especially row crop farmers) need to be rotating from products containing chlorantraniliprole to other active ingredients – I have noticed a reduction of the length of control with these products. Frost is here – protect.