Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Powdery mildew was found late last week on watermelon at the Coastal REC, Charleston. All watermelon growers should look at the photo below to be sure they can identify powdery mildew in the early stages. The spots are pale yellow, and, unlike squash, may not have white powdery growth under the spot on the bottom of the leaf. See Powdery Mildew on Watermelon Land-Grant Press 1019 for spray recommendations (https://lgpress.clemson.edu/publication/powdery-mildew-on-watermelon/).”
Light yellow spots on watermelon leaf from powdery mildew. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.
Zack Snipes reports, “I saw a good bit of powdery mildew last week on all cucurbit crops. I have had several questions this spring about injury to watermelon. I think the strong winds, sand, and spraying damaged the crowns of melons. They are growing out of it now but have had some folks concerned. Bacterial wilt is showing up in tomato as temperatures climb and fruit is loading up in the crop. Keep up with scouting for insects and diseases. Overall things look great.”
Crown injury on watermelon due to high winds and sandblasting. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Conditions have been perfect for the development of powdery mildew on cucurbit crops. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Rob Last reports, “Watermelons generally look very good with great color and potential with early fruit set occurring. Fusarium wilt is active at low levels in some places, as to be expected in areas of impaired drainage. Also, I observed a little hail damage to watermelons and cantaloupe in Bamberg County.
Justin Ballew reports, “It’s been raining a lot in the Midlands, but we really needed some rain. I’ve had almost 6.5 inches at my house since last Monday (5/18). This has slowed down strawberry picking and we have a ton of water damaged berries. Botrytis is loving all the moisture. Most fields look like they will keep producing for a few more weeks, just stay on top of fungicide programs. The moisture and warm temperatures have most other crops growing rapidly and looking good. Keep an eye out for disease.
These strawberries sitting in water will be damaged and need to be removed from the field before botrytis begins to develop. Photo from Justin Ballew
Tomatoes are loving the warm weather. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Tony Melton reports, “Anyone have an ark? Many fields are flooded. Nutrients are washing away and strawberries are water-soaked. Some strawberry farmers have stopped picking. Water-logged soil causing crops to stop growing and we have to rely on airplanes to spray crops. Weeds are enjoying the rain.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Last week was rainy in most locations, and this week looks like more of the same. Disease pressure is elevated due to excessive moisture. Seeing gummy stem blight showing up in cucumbers and bacterial spot in tomatoes. Thrips pressure had been high going into last week (especially on beans, peas, and cucumbers), and could still be high in the few locations that missed the heavy rains. But everywhere else, the heavy rains likely reduced thrips activity. Strawberries are finishing up. Heavy rains damaged most of the remaining red fruit. Blueberry harvest is starting to increase. Prior to rains, fruit was looking really good. The excess moisture did cause some fruit splitting, but no long term damage to the crop. Haven’t seen much thrips activity in muscadines yet, but now concerned with increased problems with calyptra release, a condition known as stuck cap. It’s a little early to tell, but could reduce yields.
Thrips damage to southern peas. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Kerrie Roach reports, “We are building the ark to send down to Tony in the Pee Dee! Lots of flooded fields last week (and today) with many places seeing 4-6 inches of rain over 3 days. Strawberry growers halted picking and worked around the rains. Vegetable producers are replanting washed out crops and draining fields. Peaches and apples continue to be on track for a good season. Localized hail damage is showing up on apples in Mountain Rest from one of the storms a few weeks ago.”