Field Update – 7/1/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Everyone is busy in the Low country harvesting summer crops.  This should be a big week for us in the field and at local markets and roadside stands as July 4 approaches.  The tomato crop is either finished or finishing up this week.”

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A variety of tomatoes from the coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s getting hot here in the midlands and it’s getting dry too.  Harvest is still going strong on a number of crops.  We have a reduced blueberry crop because of the hot, dry weather back in May, but picking is going on now. Lots of hemp has been planted in the last two weeks and is growing well.”

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Hemp going in the ground in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “We are picking several summer varieties of peaches along the Ridge, many varieties coming in early. Freestone peaches are beginning to ripen and become available. A second population of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs is near its peak based on high numbers found in traps across the Ridge. Be on the lookout for egg masses, generally in groups of 28 eggs. (picture) BMSB damage from earlier populations causes distortion as fruit ripens. Damage goes beyond skin into flesh.

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Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) eggs. Photos from Sarah Scott.

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BMSB damage within the peach flesh. Photo Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Harvest for many vegetable crops are rolling right along. Watermelons and cantaloupes are starting to see some volume.  Early season rabbiteye blueberries are starting to wrap up. Mid and late season rabbiteyes are looking good. Heat and dry weather is starting to have an impact on crops, even those with irrigation. Growers are adjusting irrigation schedules to compensate for the increased heat and the lack of rain.”

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Rabbiteye blueberries looking good. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Zucchini wilting in the heat. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Downy Mildew is showing up in later planted cantaloupes, cucumbers, and squash.  First planting of cantaloupes and watermelons are winding down.  Processing peas are drying and will be terminated soon for harvest.  Butterbeans that reset pods after heat at the beginning of June will begin harvest this week.  Sweet potato planting is winding down many of the first planted are laid-by.  Pepper and eggplant harvest has begun.”

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 – 5/6/19

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!”