Zack Snipes reports, “We had some nice weather last week. The tomato crop is looking great as are most of our cucurbits and greens. I am seeing increased caterpillar pressure across the area. We had several calls from across the state early last week about sunburned strawberries. We went and visited the farms and tried to rule out disease, frost damage, etc. The only thing we came up with is some sort of sunburn damage. This was most prevalent on the southern facing sides of beds where there was poor canopy coverage. I also saw damaged tissue on tender lettuce, in my citrus plots at the CREC, and on some new shoots of ornamentals at my house. I checked the solar radiation at the weather station at the CREC and the units (W/m2) were 300-500 units higher on Monday when compared to the prior 4 days. Perhaps we had intense UV levels and higher temperatures that led to this damage? Here is a really great article on the types of sunburn on plants and fruit.”
Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler last week and we are really dry here in the midlands. I’ve had less than 4 tenths of an inch of rain so far in the month of April. This has been really helpful for disease management in strawberries. I’ve seen very little grey mold compared to years past. Spider mites are enjoying the dry weather, though. I’m starting to see populations really grow, so keep a close eye on that. Caterpillar populations appear to be building, though overall they are still low on spring planted brassicas. Tomatoes and cucurbits have been going in the ground and doing well so far. Sweet corn is growing well and it’s hard to even tell some of the leaves were burned by the cold a couple weeks ago.”
Tony Melton reports, “Cool night temperatures making strawberries, cabbage, collards, and greens happy. We are actually having a true spring this year. Labor is our #1 problem for small growers. Some crops have been destroyed by mistakenly applying the wrong chemicals, especially atrazine since corn is being planted now. Hundreds of acres of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are already planted and holding their own.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “Peach and apple damage continues to be assessed. Weather forecasts in northern Oconee County for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning predict more cold weather, but growers are hoping for temperatures to stay above freezing as forecasted. Strawberries in the Upstate are starting to ripen. Last week most fields were being spot picked, but with warm sunny days many of the u-pick operations are beginning to open this week. The cold temperatures predicted Tuesday night/Wednesday morning could become an issue for berry growers depending on location, elevation, and air movement.”
Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “I am starting to see some goosegrass popping due to soil temperatures being 65 F. Goosegrass will typically be problematic in more compacted areas of the field. In most broadleaf crops a Select or Poast post-emergent application will control emerged goosegrass. PRE herbicide options include Curbit and Dual Magnum (If crop is labeled). In rice it is important to remember that Quinclorac products will kill crabgrass but not goosegrass. The best rice product that will control goosegrass effectively in SC is Clincher.”
Rob Last reports, “Crops are generally doing well in the area, with strawberries coming off with good volumes. On the whole, row covers or icing protected 97% of the susceptible flowers leading to 1-2% losses of flowers. The damaged flowers can increase grey mold pressure in the crops so, maintaining both sanitation and fungicide applications to strawberries will be crucial. As berries ripen, sanitation also becomes essential for reducing pest pressure from sap beetles. In some crops, where row covers were utilized, we see spider mite populations increasing and a few active thrips feeding on both flowers and berries. Other fruit crops in the area, such as blackberries and blueberries, look very good with low levels of damage from the freeze event last weekend. Peaches in the area are being thinned, with scouting being maintained for scale and plum curculio. Early planted watermelons did suffer from the frost in places, leading to 10-15% plant loss and hence the need to replant in a few areas. Other crops are moving slowly away from the injuries. Luckily a lot of crops were not beginning to vine and survived the worst of the damage. These plants are stressed, so care will be needed with any applications as well as scouting for pest and disease issues. Conversely, Cantaloupes in the area were direct seeded and have survived unscathed.”
Zack Snipes reports, “I was out and about last week as things are moving rather quickly in the fields. Spider mites are alive and active in every strawberry patch that I was in last week. You will see the translucent mite with 2 distinct spots as well as a reddish colored mite. The reddish colored mite is actually a two-spotted spider mite. We see this red form early in the season. Get out and scout as the weather is perfect for them. I am also seeing strawberry plants wilting down and dying. If you cut the crown you will see a brown/red rot in the center of the crown. Send these plants off for diagnosis. Most of what I have seen has been Phytophthora. We lost some cucurbit crops to the frost last weekend but some areas had no damage at all or slight damage. For some positive news, we are cutting some beautiful broccoli right now.”
Justin Ballew reports, “Strawberry picking started on a wider scale this past week. This conveniently coincided with spring break for a lot of the public schools in our area, so U-pick operations have been busy. The weather was very mild last week, so everything is looking great. Spider mite and grey mold activity seems to be very low. There are a few thrips in certain places, so that’s something we need to keep an eye on. Brassicas are growing well. Caterpillar populations are still pretty low in most spring planted crops. There was a little injury to sweet corn from the recent frosts, but we expect the plants to grow out of it. Sweet corn’s growing point is underground until the 6 leaf stage. Since pretty much all the sweet corn was at the 3 leaf stage or younger, the growing points were protected and the damage is just superficial.”
Sarah Scott reports, “We are still assessing peach crop damage from freeze events happening between 4/1 and 4/3. It looks like anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of fruitlets were damaged by the cold event but with no additional damage we should still be on track for a good crop this year. Strawberries were delayed a bit from the cold but are recovering nicely. Planting continues for crops like kale and other spring greens.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Strawberries are really starting to come off. The quality is very good, and the plants are in good health. Disease is relatively low and spider mite activity is moderate. Damage was minimal from the freeze before Easter. We did see some damage on blueberries, though. Blueberries without frost protection (in especially cold locations) did see some significant injury to both early southern highbush and early rabbiteye cultivars. Injury of 80% was observed in Star and O’Neal (southern highbush) and Premier (rabbiteye). Blueberries with frost protection fared much better. This shows the importance of having well-designed frost protection if you are going to grow early-blooming cultivars. Muscadines, being at budbreak, did not show any significant injury. Farmers are taking advantage of this absolutely beautiful weather to plant vegetables. Sweet corn, peas, butterbeans, cucumbers, squash, melons, tomatoes, etc. are going in the ground as fast as they can. Blueberries are being planted now too.
Tony Melton reports, “Most strawberries are doing well and really starting to produce a lot of fruit. Cabbage is starting to head and is growing well. Brassica growers are applying products for diamondback moth and Sclerotinia. Some pickles are emerging and many acres will be planted this week. Some butterbeans are up and more are being planted. We will start to planting peas this week. Cool temperatures slowed sweetpotato slip growth a little, but most beds are covered with slips. Collards, turnips, and kale are growing fast. Hundreds of acres of tomatoes and peppers are already planted. A few acres of watermelons and cantaloupes are planted, but our main market is after the 4th of July.”
Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops continue to develop well with sustained flowering and fruit set. Early crops are ripening well with crops coming to market. Just a note of caution, the weather last week can be conducive to gray mold development, so fungicide programs are going to be key. Thrips are active in some crops too, so keep scouting. Melon transplants are going in the ground over the last week with development looking very promising. Peaches in the area are all but finished flowering with great fruit set. Finally, as we are looking at a cooler week for flowering fruit crops, keep an eye on the forecast temperatures to determine if protection is going to be required. Fruit and closed buds can tolerate cooler temperatures than flowers, but damaged flowers can increase gray mold development.”
Zack Snipes reports, “We have had pretty good weather as of late and it has really made things jump here. Spring greens, onions, radishes, carrots, and strawberries are really pushing out hard. I counted 57 green berries+flowers on one strawberry plant. If someone can beat that number, I will give you a Free Crop Handbook. The blueberry crop is looking great with a good fruit set on highbush varieties and tons of flowers right now on the rabbiteye types. We planted around 30 citrus trees on Friday as part of a Specialty Crop Block Grant. We have around 75 more to plant next year. All in all we will plant somewhere around 40 varieties with varying scion and rootstock combinations. We are looking at cold tolerance in both the lab and a field setting and monitoring for citrus greening. We will plant everything from kumquat to grapefruit to finger limes.
Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was pretty cloudy, but we had a couple beautiful days that reached the 80s. Though we’ve had a little bit of rain, the air has been thick with pine pollen. We’re seeing a few strawberries ripen but we’re still not at the point where we can open the U-Picks. We’re running a little behind where we’ve been in the past few years and I suspect all the cloudy weather we’ve had over the last month is partially to blame. I’m seeing a good bit of misshapen fruit, which is normal for the very first fruit that develop. This is usually related to pollination, but make sure you tissue sample to make sure boron levels are where they need to be. Watch out for the cool nights in the forecast later this week. We may need to cover. Spring planted brassica crops are looking good. Diamondback moths are showing up in places, especially near fields where a fall crop was grown through the winter, so be sure to destroy those fields once harvest is finished.”
Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are progressing quickly with small fruit forming on early varieties. Georgia has reported plum curculio activity in the middle part of the state so orchards in the Ridge of SC can expect to see activity in about 2 weeks. Check the 2021 management guide for control options which include Imidan, Actara, Belay, and Avaunt. Strawberries farms are on track to begin picking regularly April 1. Spring greens are being transplanted as well.”
Tony Melton reports, “Strawberries are ready to burst forth and there are already some fruit on Ruby June. Working to protect strawberries and peaches later on this week. A lot of summer crops will be going into the ground after Easter. Pickle growers are biting at the bit. Most greens are just emerging. Cabbage is enjoying the weather and getting to what I call the whirl stage so hope we have no damaging winds to wring them off. Sweet potatoes slips are just emerging on the beds.”
Join us this Wednesday (3/24/21) at 12:30 pm for a discussion on diamondback moth management in Brassica crops. It will be a relatively short meeting, lasting around 45 minutes, so tune in while you eat your lunch. Click here to register.
Zack Snipes reports, “We got some needed rain but we got a lot of it in a short amount of time. Winter peas and spring planted brassicas are looking good. Tomato and squash are in the ground on some farms but because of the cooler weather and soil temperatures, really haven’t taken off yet. I see a lot of brassica fields leftover from the fall. These fields are harboring all of our insects and diseases that we will have to fight this coming season. Mow these fields down and turn them under. Do not leave them. I am seeing lots and lots of diamondback moths and black rot in these leftover fields. Some more sad news this week from the Lowcounty as Mr. Adair McKoy, Sr. passed away this past week. Mr. McKoy was full of wisdom and had years and years of practical farming knowledge that he loved sharing with others. Never did I visit him when I didn’t learn something new. His love and care for the land was truly inspirational.”
Justin Ballew reports, “We had some cooler, wetter weather last week that slowed things down a bit in the fields. Several brassica fields that were planted in the fall and grew through the winter are right on the verge of bolting. If harvest is finished in these field, they need to be bush hogged and disked in as soon as possible to keep diamondback moths and any other caterpillars from breeding and making their way into spring planted fields. Strawberries are still coming along. There are lots of green fruit and a few are ripening here and there. I heard of the first few being picked in Lexington County last week. The weather conditions this week are going to be perfect again for Botrytis spore development, so don’t let up on spray programs.”
This will be the final update of 2020. We will pick back up on 1/4/21. Be sure to keep an eye on the upcoming events tab give us a call if you need anything. Happy Holidays from the SC Grower team! We hope everyone takes some time to enjoy the season, and may 2021 bring you good health, great family time, and as always…prosperous fields!
Zack Snipes reports, “A chilly week in the Lowcountry took out or really slowed down some of our fruiting crops like pepper, tomato, and cukes. The brassicas and strawberries are loving this weather. One thing I have noticed lately is lots of worm damage on brassica. After talking to many growers, I hear that many are not using adjuvants in their spray tanks. Adjuvants can help your pesticides work better. A common one I would recommend on brassica crops is the use of a spreader-sticker. Brassica crops have a waxy leaf which repels water. The use of a spreader-sticker will help stick the pesticide droplet to your leaf and the spreader will help reduce surface tension so that the droplets spreads out on your leaf. You will be amazed at how much better coverage you will get with a spreader-sticker and how much better your pesticide will work (organic or conventional pesticide). Adjuvants are cheap so consider adding some to your tank today. For more on adjuvants and spray tips, join us on Tuesday night from 6-8 pm for the Organic/Sustainable Farm Meeting via Zoom. The registration link can be found here.“
Justin Ballew reports, “We had two nights last week where temperatures dipped below freezing. After a long fall growing season, the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash are done. Now growers will be focusing on strawberries, greens, and herbs. Strawberries in some fields had developed blooms as a result of the late warm weather. Now that the cold has killed them, it will be important to sanitize them before the spring, as dead blooms can become a significant source of grey mold inoculum. As always, don’t let up on scouting for caterpillars in greens.”
Sarah Scott reports, “Brassicas are being harvested. Pest pressure is relatively high this season including aphids and diamondback months. Peach fields are being prepped for new plantings. In areas where armillaria root rot has been an issue in past crops, growers will use a plow to create burms to plant trees on. Rain has slowed plowing down but there is a dry forecast for the next 7 days.”
Zack Snipes reports, “After a long Thanksgiving nap, I was able to waddle out in the fields and look at some strawberries. We have had some really good strawberry growing weather especially considering most folks got their plants out somewhat late this year. We need some cold weather to slow them down a bit in places. I am seeing a tiny bit of plant collapse and death in some spots within the fields. It is very important to send these plants into our lab to get a positive identification of the pathogen. Phytophthora crown rot and anthracnose crown rot can cause similar symptoms but are managed completely different. For information on how to submit a sample during COVID times, click here. I am also keeping my eye on a good bit of leaf spotting in some fields to make sure its not the new disease, Neopestalotiopsis. I don’t think we have it yet, but being proactive is better than being reactive. More information on that disease can be found here.”
Justin Ballew reports, “The mornings were nice and cool last week and we saw light frosts in a few more areas. We’ve been getting a fair amount of rain also. This has the brassica crops looking great. Caterpillar populations are still fairly high. Don’t give up on scouting as it gets cooler this week. Diamondback moth caterpillars and adults can survive for several hours at temperatures well below freezing, so a few nights in the upper 20’s is unlikely to affect them, other than slowing down their life cycle a bit. Don’t give up on scouting for mites in strawberries either. Even though we’ve had some wet weather lately, they’re still out there.”
Tony Melton reports, “We still have some sweet potatoes in the ground. Greens are growing well except for bacterial diseases. Some diamondback are hard to kill. We are trying everything.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “With a low of 30 degrees Fahrenheit predicted tonight, and 26 degrees F predicted tomorrow night(Tuesday), growers in the Upstate should be making preparations for a hard freeze event. Wind speeds from 10-25 miles per hour have begun, and are expected to continue through Tuesday. So make sure any protective measures are held down tightly!”
Zack Snipes reports, “It seems like we experience fall and summer in the same day this time of year. I visited a few farms and saw residual damage from whiteflies (silver leaves, virus, and stunted plants). The good news is that overall populations of whiteflies are down this week. The armyworm numbers are still high in a lot of crops so keep an eye out for those. We have lots of good products for them so choose something other than a group 3 or 4 insecticide. I have seen some white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) in some brassica crops this week. I have some great reports from strawberry fields and other not so great reports. If you have issues, please call me so we can fix them before they get out of hand.
Justin Ballew reports, “We had some very warm afternoons this past week. The air has been much drier as well. Young strawberries are responding well and have put out a good amount of new growth. Weak plants caused by J-rooting and deep planting are making themselves evident now. The drier air has allowed some growers to get a handle on the disease issues that have plagued us for the last few weeks. However, there is lots of warm, wet weather in the forecast, so plan your fungicide applications accordingly and rotate modes of action. Other crops are still growing well and we have folks picking tomatoes, squash, beans, and various brassicas.
Sarah Scott reports, “Patchy frost brought an end to some fields of summer crops like squash and zucchini, however most areas did not see damage from cold temps. Cole crops are progressing nicely but insect populations are high this fall, including aphids and imported cabbage worms. Strawberry plants have gone in and are taking root and getting established.”
Tony Melton reports, “Getting dry. Hope get some rain later in the week. Greens are growing very fast with warm weather. Frost burned the very tops of some crops like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peas but did not really hurt them much. Very little grasshopper pressure for some reason this fall.”
Rob Last reports, “Strawberry planting is mostly complete in the area. Plants received from nurseries have been very good this year and establishment is progressing well. In fall vegetable crops Southern army worms continue to be present and numerous. Whiteflies in fall vegetables are beginning to reduce. Disease pressure remains relatively low.”
Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberry planting continued last week. Bare root plants look good going into the ground. Stay on top of workers to plant them correctly. I saw some patches with “J” roots or long roots that went to the bottom of the hole and back out. Those plants will die or produce considerably less yield than properly planted plants. Also, I have seen and heard reports of spider mites on plug transplants. Check your fields and get out miticide this week if you need it. Fall growth is very important as well as knocking out the existing spider mite populations. Remember that the threshold for spider mites is 4-5% of the leaves with a population. And lastly, I have seen AWFUL disease on purchased transplants. If you purchase transplants and they have disease on them, DO NOT plant them. The plants will never produce like they should and you are inoculating the rest of your crops and land with that disease.
Justin Ballew reports, “Young strawberries are growing well so far in the midlands. We’ve had good weather for getting the plants established. We are starting to see some spider mites already, so don’t forget that we need to be scouting regularly as soon as the plants are in the ground. If you plan to cover your strawberries for a couple weeks in the fall, getting rid of mites should be priority #1. Other crops are doing well also, though we are seeing high numbers of caterpillars and diseases like black rot and Alternaria on brassicas have really been ramping up.”
Tony Melton reports, “First time I have seen large numbers of yellow-margined beetle in Orangeburg County – we had to treat 1 out of 10 fields for them. If possible do not use a pyrethroid on young greens it will encourage worm and aphid problems. Still seeing a lot of boron and Magnesium deficiency in greens, mostly because farmers are not liming properly, using sul-pho-mag, or using premium fertilizers with minor elements. Spray with boron and many applications of Epsom salts and the greens will eventually grow out of the problem. Like always, swine cress and corn spurry are awful weeds in greens – to control I recommend using a stale-bed culture technique before planting. We still have butterbeans, peas, and cucurbits in the ground – hope frost stays away until after Thanksgiving.
Kerrie Roach reports, “High winds, heavy rains and now cold over night temperatures have laid down a gauntlet for growers in the Upstate over the last week. Many growers in Oconee County lost power from the remnants of hurricane Zeta for anywhere from 1-4 days. Apples are just about finished with mainly Yates and Arkansas Blacks left to pick. Apple growers concerned with fungicide resistance should contact Kerrie to pull Bitter Rot samples now to be sent to the shared lab at NC State.”
Andy Rollins reports, “Finishing up strawberry planting in the upstate. I’ve been inspecting farms and assisting some growers with planting different types of plants they weren’t used to planting. Unlike the pictured transplants some are a little smaller than normal but appear to be healthy at this point. Colder weather is a slight concern as we need decent growing conditions to get them rooted in well. Some may need to use row covers to keep strawberry plants growing during the first 30 days in the ground if temperatures stay low. Peach growers are putting down fall herbicides still and some are preparing to do delay blooming. This involves waiting till at least 50% of the leaves are off of the trees before applying a liquid form of ethylene. Other stipulations are also important regarding temperatures after application. If it is your first time trying this, speak with your county agent to get the correct method.
Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler temperatures have finally arrived in the Lowcountry! We had a good bit of rain in certain areas last week and some fields are soggy. I saw lots and lots of silverleaf disorder in squash this past week. Silverleaf disorder is caused by whiteflies. The nymphs of the whitefly feed on the newly developing tissue which causes the upper epidermis of the leaf to separate thus giving the plant a silver appearance. I am still seeing heavy whitefly pressure in most crops throughout the Lowcountry so keep up with spray programs and remember to ROTATE chemistries. For more information on the whitefly, click here.
Justin Ballew reports, “These cooler temperatures that have arrived following the rain feel great, but they are going to slow crop development some. Folks are already picking fall brassicas, though some may be a little small. Just trying to keep up with demand. There are plenty of caterpillars out there. I’m seeing diamondback moths (of course) as well as cabbage loopers and a few corn earworms. Be sure to rotate your insecticides when spraying for caterpillars. Folks are continuing to prep fields for the rapidly approaching strawberry season.”
Sarah Scott reports, “Heavy rains, in some areas totaling near 6 inches, fell around Aiken and Edgefield Counties last week. Rain was definitely welcome, however, the downpours led to some erosion issues as well as waterlogged soils in low spots. Brassica crops are benefitting from the cooler temperatures. Peach season has ended and post-season cleanup has begun. Plastic has been laid for fall plantings of strawberries.”
Tony Melton reports, “Rain, rain, rain. It came quickly, so most drained off quickly, if drainage was adequate. Need to dig sweet potatoes as quickly as possible to keep down the amount of rot. Greens, pickles, and peas are struggling to survive the rain – some are drowned. Ponds are back in the fields. Some strawberry plastic is already down but the rest of the folks are just beginning this week. Transplants are scarce and most likely will be late getting here this year.
Kerrie Roach reports, “There has been a significant rise in wine grape production interest over the last month or two in the Upstate. Each week seems to bring another caller asking for recommendations. While climates here are relatively good for grape production overall, high humidity and heat make disease control difficult. Pierce’s Disease is one of the deadliest to deal with; prevention requires intense insect vector control and control means the complete removal of the affected plant. Recent studies have brought new cultivars to the forefront which are helping southern growers become more successful in this niche industry.
Zack Snipes reports, “We had between 4-6 inches of rain last week with daily thunderstorms. Growers are working the fields getting ready for the fall crops to go in. If it happens to rain on Wednesday night, then you should tune in to our Strawberry 101 class from 6-8PM. We will be discussing economics, seasonal timeline, varieties and common mistakes, and fertility. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about growing strawberries. You must register ahead of time to participate.“
Justin Ballew reports, “After some rain early in the week, the weather turned dry and the temperatures and humidity reminded us that summer isn’t over yet. Fall crops are continuing to progress well, though we are continuing to see a fair amount of disease like anthracnose, downy mildew, and bacterial spot due to the recent wet conditions. Caterpillar populations are climbing on fall brassicas as well. In scouting a field trial, I observed diamondback moths, cabbage loopers, and armyworms. Keep a close eye out and be sure to rotate chemistries when you start spraying.”
Sarah Scott reports, “Peach season has wrapped up in the Ridge and post- harvest fertilizer applications are being applied. Fall vegetable crops are looking good as we received some decent rain fall over the past week. Hot temperatures have had some effect on lower seed germination of some brassicas.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Harvest time is finally upon us. Sunshine and warm temperatures is doing the trick for giving growers that final push for ripening the muscadine crop. Crop is looking good, but some bitter rot and ripe rot is starting to show. Brix for Carlos and Noble is averaging around 13.5%. Doreen is still a little ways from being ready to harvest, but it won’t be long.”
Tony Melton reports, “So wet in areas it is hard to spray peas for curculio some are having to use airplanes. Harvesting sweet potatoes for processing and yield is good. Planting greens for processing. Harvesting pickles but stopped planting this week. Still harvesting processing peppers but harvesters are getting real tired.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “Heavy rains, humidity and continued high temperatures over the last week have continued an increased trend in disease incidence across the board in both vegetables and fruits. Growers need to be proactive to stay ahead of diseases (and insects) by scouting often and well. We are finishing out the peach season with late varieties like ‘Big Red’. Apples are gaining steam and early varieties are looking and tasting great. Overall the production seems to be on target for a significant increase over last season.”