Weekly Field Update – 8/23/21

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Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was warm and humid again. Some of our sandier fields got dry enough early in the week that crops were wilting in between waterings. We got a bunch of rain over the weekend, though (a little over 2 and a half inches at my house). Overall, fall planted crops are coming along nicely. Some of the earliest planted fall squash and zucchini is being picked now. We’re still seeing the same disease problems that have plagued us all summer, though growers seem to be managing them fairly well. As far as caterpillars go, I’m seeing mostly diamondback moth and armyworms with a few loopers here and there. Get ready. This could be a high pressure fall for caterpillars.”

Even though we’ve had lots of recent rain, it doesn’t take long for the sandy soil in Lexington to dry out and let the plants wilt. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Phillip Carnley reports, “Not much has changed here in Orangeburg or Calhoun Counties. Its been hot and humid and we’ve had a few untimely showers delaying cucumber harvests. There is still plenty of downy mildew to go around. We are seeing loopers on pickling cucumbers that are ready for harvest. At that stage the loopers should be treated prior to harvest with Coragen, Harvanta, or Radiant. Fall brassica, peas, and tomatoes are just now being planted.  We are seeing increased amounts of scab in pecans this year, due to the rain and humid weather. For insect and disease management in pecans, have a look at the UGA Commercial Pecan Spray Guide.”

Caterpillar damage to fall cucumbers. Photo from Phillip Carnley
Loopers are causing some damage to fall cucumbers in the Orangeburg area. Photo from Phillip Carnley.

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Excessive rains have caused cracking of fruit at several upstate muscadine farms. Powdery mildew is also present but I’m not sure how much of a role it is playing on the cracking part. The powdery is damaging the skin of the fruit. Topsin M is labeled and recommended with Captan but have to wait 7 days to pick so have to watch your PHIs. Also finding some insect pests in peach. Oriental fruit moth and sap beetles have been found last week but only a small amount of affected production. Herbicide control has been difficult this year because all the rain has caused excessive grass growth, especially in new orchards.”

Seeing some cracking of the skins in muscadines in the upstate. Photo from Andy Rollins.
This new grower has done a good job of keeping his understory clean. This will pay off for him in the spring of next year if he can keep up the diligent work. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Weekly Field Update – 8/9/21

Coastal Region

Rob Last reports, “Generally speaking, we are in the change over period from spring to fall crops, with some fumigants being applied to next year’s strawberry plantings. If fumigants are to be used, make sure soil moisture is good and beds are firm to gain maximum efficacy. One thing we have observed in blackberries and blueberries in the area is the emergence of bark scale. Bark scale is a new pest to South Carolina and has previously been noted in ornamentals. However reports for Asia, where the pest is native, indicate the bark scales can survive on Rubus species.

Bark scale egg sacks and adults. Photo from Rob Last.

The images show the egg sacks and adults of the bark scale. The insects appear white and are very waxy, similar in appearance to mealybugs. The wax coatings can make management complex, preventing insecticides from penetrating the layer to be effective against the insects. The addition of crop oils to the pesticide solution may enhance efficacy by helping to strip off the waxy coatings. In blueberries, adults can be found underneath the exfoliating bark, again making contact with the insecticides more difficult. When crawlers emerge, they will be pink and barely visible to the naked eye, and monitoring will be easier with the aid of a hand lens. We will find crawlers hatching in April or May, with a second flush emerging in late summer. An excellent way to detect crawler movement is to wrap the branches in double-sided sticky tape to help to catch the crawlers. Contact insecticides can be very effective against the crawlers. Insect growth regulators may also be effective for management. Unfortunately, systemic materials such as imidacloprid appear to have little effect. Please get in touch with an Extension Agent to help with identification and management options.”

Bark scales have a waxy coating that helps protect them from insecticides. Photo from Rob Last.

Zack Snipes reports, “It’s wet in the Lowcountry. We are getting heavy rain showers what seems like everyday. This is making it hard to get equipment in fields to spray or prepare for fall plantings. I have seen some watermelon and tomato fields and they look ok considering the rain and soggy conditions. I saw some bacterial spot on pepper and expect to see the same on fall tomato with the rain and humidity we’ve had. Get out your preventative fungicides, if you can. I also saw some leafminer damage on these crops which is unusual in my tenure. It seems plants were impacted a few weeks ago but the new growth looks to be unaffected. Melonworms were found in cucumbers, so get ahead of them.”

Leafminers are showing up on tomatoes on the coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Melonworms were found in cucumbers this week. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “This past week was a relatively nice, mild week compared to the week before. We had some rain to start the week and more to finish it out. Planting of fall crops continues and what’s been planted seems to be growing well. I looked at a few fields this week of seedling brassicas and I’m already seeing diamondback moth caterpillars and armyworms feeding. Remember to start scouting as soon as plants go into the ground. It doesn’t take many caterpillars to eat up seedlings and small transplants. Don’t forget we can run field bioassays to screen for insecticide resistance, so call us when you start seeing worms.

Diamondback moth caterpillars are already showing up on fall brassicas. Photo from Justin Ballew
It doesn’t take many caterpillars to eat up these small plants. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Vegetable crops are still harvesting well, for the most part. Other than cucurbit downy mildew affecting cucumbers and some powdery mildew affecting squash, there are no widespread vegetable diseases seen in the fields. Cowpea curculio is still widespread on peas and must be intensively managed (starting prior to bloom) to minimize damage. Spotted Wing Drosophila is still very active in late-season blueberries, with trap counts showing very high capture numbers. Grape root borers (GRB) emergence is starting to increase in muscadines. Trap captures for GRB is on the rise. Much of the state is outside the window of Chlopyrifos application for GRB… except on late harvesting cultivars (more than 35 from application to harvest) and maybe some wine grape cultivars in the Upstate. Pecan weevil emergence is just getting started (in pecans). Ground and lower canopy application of Carbaryl and/or a trunk application of Tanglefoot are effective methods of control. Monitor traps and weevil movement through September (especially after rains). Re-treatment of Carbaryl will be necessary and can be reapplied at (up to) 7 day intervals. Pecan scab is becoming more evident in pecan orchards. Also, fall armyworm numbers have exploded over the last two weeks. This is a pest that can affect a wide variety of crops.

Who is spitting in my muscadine vines? That is not actual spit. It is a sticky, frothy substance produced by the spittlebug for protection from predation. Photo from Bruce McLean.
This tiny insect is the spittlebug (what is inside the frothy spittle on muscadines and other plants). They feed upon the foliage of the muscadine vine and do not cause any noticeable damage to the plant. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Grapevine aphids populations on muscadines can be quite significant in late summer. They feed primarily on the foliage and late flower clusters. They seldom require chemical management except when present during spring bloom. Heavy rains and natural predation usually keep them in check. If extended periods of dry weather occur and their feeding does lead to noticeable problems (or if honeydew and sooty mold become evident on fruit and leaves) an insecticide application may be necessary. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Weekly Field Update – 7/26/21

Statewide

The SC Specialty Crop Association is offering a new grant opportunity, the Enhancing Crop Packaging Cost-share Program. With this new cost-share program, growers can receive reimbursement up to $1,800 per grower for packaging needs. All that is required in addition to the application are copies of receipts used for purchasing packaging materials. You will also be required to fill out two surveys, one initially and one 12 months after submitting the application. All information is confidential. For more information, contact LauraKate McAllister. The application can be downloaded below.

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “We are in a summer weather pattern with warm, muggy days and occasional thunderstorms. Most crops have finished up or are in the process. Now is a great time to sit down and do some crop planning and field rotation planning. I collected many soil and root tissue samples lately and had them analyzed for nematodes. I was surprised at how many nematodes were present in the fields. Nematodes can interfere with growth, cause stunting, and lower overall yields. Sometimes the symptoms of nematodes can be very discrete so sampling right now is the best way to get a baseline of your populations and how to properly manage and rotate fields. If left unchecked, thousands of dollars are wasted before the first seed is planted into a field.”

Significant galling from root knot nematodes on a cucumber seedling. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was another fairly mild week with high humidity and some pretty decent rain. Not much has changed on the disease front. We’re still seeing plenty. Growers are still prepping fields for planting fall crops. Some fall cucurbits and brassicas have been planted already. More are on the way. As soon as brassicas go in the ground, start scouting for worms. Remember, we can perform bioassays to screen for insecticide resistance in diamondback moths populations. Reach out to your local fruit and vegetable agent when you start seeing worms to schedule one.”

Bacterial spot is common on tomatoes right now. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Recently planted kale is growing well. Start scouting for worms as soon as you plant brassica crops. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Vegetable crops are harvesting well, with good volumes of squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, butterbeans, peas, tomatoes and okra. Sweet corn is beginning to wrap up. Late season blueberries are still being harvested in some volume, but will be finishing soon. Muscadines are sizing well. Vineyards that were only slightly affected by the Easter freeze are looking good and should have a good crop. Vineyards that were more significantly affected by the freeze are very short on crop this year. Grape root borer traps in muscadine vineyards are starting to catch moths in all locations. Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) trap captures (in blueberries) have dramatically increased over the past few weeks, showing that even in late season when fruit is becoming less and less plentiful, the fly is still very active and must be managed.”

Bucket trap baited with the Grape root borer (GRB) pheromone lure in muscadines. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Where we did not see significant damage from the Easter freeze, there is a good looking crop of muscadines. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “I identified a major scale problem on peaches. A grower from middle part of state called about red spots on peaches. Earlier in the year across the whole state we had red spots on leaves. We found prunus necrotic ring spot on all of those samples last year but we are still unsure of the origin. In this case, it is something much different. This is an insect that feeds on the fruit and the tree itself. The adult stage of this insect doesn’t move but the crawlers do. After consulting with Dr. Brett Blaauw, regional entomologist for Clemson, the grower decided to go ahead and treat now. On Friday, he sprayed Movento at the label rate. There is great concern because with this high of a population, the life of the entire trees at risk. The plan is to follow that application with chlorpyrifos and oil at low rates after the leaves drop. You have to be careful when doing this as the oil can damage the next years bud crop if temperatures are too hot. We will be trapping using black electrical tape wrapped around the limbs then double sided scotch tape around that. We will then look for the crawlers on the scotch tape. This ensures money isn’t wasted killing a pest that has already been controlled.”

Red spots have been common on peaches this year. Photo from Andy Rollins.
In this close up of the bark on a peach tree, you can see the tiny, black and grey colored scales. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Weekly Field Update – 4/19/21

Coastal

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.”

Discolored, damaged, and unmarketable strawberries. Photo from Zack Snipes.
The berries were clean on the inside and had no bad odors or flavor. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Solar radiation measurement from a weather station at Coastal REC in Charleston. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

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.”

Two-spotted spider mites on the underside of a strawberry leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.
If a treatment is needed for mites, use a dedicated miticide. Using broad spectrum insecticides kills beneficials, like this lacewing, which can lead to explosive mite population growth. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach producers are continuing thinning fruit since we feel that we have a good assessment of what was damaged by cold. Growers who have varieties with significant losses may want to take a look at a reduced spray schedule to ensure adequate disease and pesticide coverage for the season. It’s important to maintain orchards even if they are not going to produce a crop to maintain the health of the trees.”

Pee Dee

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.”

Upstate

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.”

Weekly Field Update 11/30/20

Coastal

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.”   

A healthy and a diseased plant side-by-side.  Perhaps a positive identification of the pathogen can help with management to protect the healthy plant. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Determining the pathogen responsible for plant collapse can be tricky in the field.  Send in a plant pathology sample to our lab.  Is this anthracnose, phytophthora, or another pathogen? Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

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.”

Lacinato kale is growing well and looking good. Cropping has already started in this field. Photo from Justin Ballew
Keep up with scouting for caterpillars as the weather gets cooler. Winters in SC don’t get cold enough to wipe out diamondback moth populations. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

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.”

Upstate

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!”

Weekly Field Update – 11/23/20

We have added a new resource under the “Resources” section. On the right side of the page, you will find a link labeled “Plant and Seed Supplier List.” This is a list of reputable nurseries and seed suppliers that growers in SC regularly work with. If you know of a good nursery or seed supplier you would like to suggest adding, just let us know.

We would also like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops continue to develop well with minimal pest and disease pressure so far.  Fall vegetables are progressing towards market.  We are continuing to see pest pressure from caterpillars and a few isolated aphids have been spotted during scouting. As we progress towards the holiday season, scouting of crops remains of vital importance to catch insect infestation and disease progression early for treatments to be effective.”

Zack Snipes reports, “The week of wet weather two weeks prior prevented folks from getting out in the fields to spray for insects. I am seeing lots and lots of worm damage, particularly the diamond back moth.  We need to get ahead of this pest so that we have good looking greens for the New Years Market. There are some very good products that we can use but knowing which ones to use and when to use them is where Clemson Extension can help. If you have swiss cheese plants, then give us a call to help out. The strawberry crops looks ok so far this season. The warm weather has really helped later seeded/transplanted crops. I am seeing some die off/rot in root crops in lower lying areas of fields.”

Don’t forget about your strawberries while eating turkey this year (No those are not chocolate covered raisins). Photo from Zack Snipes.
Graffiti cauliflower almost ready to harvest. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Temperatures got a little cooler last week, with frost showing up in some low lying areas, mostly north of Columbia. Early season growth of strawberries has been impressive so far. As warm as it’s been this fall, early season row covers probably will not be necessary this year unless plants were transplanted late. Caterpillar population size and damage seems to be on the rise in brassicas. I saw some fields this past week where insecticide applications weren’t made in a timely manner nor were materials rotated properly and the caterpillar populations have really gotten out of hand. Call us if you have questions about controlling caterpillars and never use broad spectrum insecticides when caterpillars are your primary pest!”

We’ve had good early season strawberry growth so far. Photo from Justin Ballew.
How many diamondback moth caterpillars and pupae can you count on this leaf? This is a key reason why weekly scouting, timely spraying, proper insecticide rotation, and avoiding broad spectrum insecticides for caterpillar control are so important. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Still a lot of sweetpotatoes in the ground.  The bacterial diseases (Xanthomonas and Pseudomonas) on greens are raging havoc.  Rotation is the best control I have found.  I hate swinecress when it comes to greens -it takes over.  Yellow margined beetle is getting worse in  greens and spreading all over the state – Imidacloprid is a good control without killing beneficials.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Things have certainly slowed down in the field the last few weeks. Apples are mostly finished for the season with ‘Arkansas Black’ being the last variety to be picked. Most growers will keep roadside markets open until Thanksgiving and then call it a quits for the season. Now begins the prep for next year with educational meetings, pesticide certification credits, soil testing, land prep and more. Make sure you are checking the events page for the upcoming trainings.”

Weekly Field Update – 11/9/20

Coastal

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.

White mold symptoms on Brussel sprout. Photo from Zack Snipes.
I love seeing cover crops like buckwheat incorporated into crop rotation plans.  Buckwheat outcompetes weeds, mines potassium, and is a safe haven for our beneficial insects. Photo From Zack Snipes.

Midlands

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.

All the strawberry plants in this small area were J-rooted and subsequently died. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Brassicas are looking good in the midlands. These collards were just recently cropped for the first time. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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.”

Caterpillar populations have been high around the ridge this fall. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

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.” 

Weekly Field Update – 10/19/20

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “As we approach the time where strawberry plants will be delivered I would urge all growers to inspect plants before planting.  Whiteflies continue to be numerous along with caterpillars in fall brassica crops.  Scouting as always will remain very important.”

Zack Snipes reports, “Hide ya collards, hide ya tomatoes, they eatin’ everything! The Southern Armyworm is wreaking havoc on crops in the Lowcountry.  The Southern Armyworm is a heavy feeder on a wide range of crops.  They are dark in color, with yellow to cream colored horizontal lines and a reddish/orange head.  If inspected closely, one will find a yellow “Y” shape on their head.  I see this pest in fields with a variety of crops as well as weedy field borders.  We have a full offering of insecticides to battle this pest but remember to rotate insecticides each time you spray.  We are also finding some Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLC) in tomato.  This virus is transmitted via the whitefly.  Strawberry cut-offs and plugs are going in.  Be sure to inspect roots and crown before planting.  Give me a shout if you need an extra pair of eyes to check them out.”

Two Southern Armyworm larvae that are just about large enough to pupate. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus is showing up in Lowcountry tomatoes. This virus is vectored by the whitefly with the transmission happening a few weeks ago. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a welcome light rain towards the end of last week and the temperatures cooled off nicely. Strawberry planting has begun and is progressing well. Remember to supervise planting crews closely to make sure plants are being set at the proper depth. Now is also the time to get deer fences up. Once the plants develop new leaves, it won’t take the deer long to find them. We’re still seeing a fair amount of powdery mildew and downy mildew in cucurbits and anthracnose in pepper. Caterpillar populations remain high in brassicas as well.

Strawberry cutoffs are being watered in after being transplanted. Following transplanting, cutoffs need to be overhead watered for at least a week to keep the plants from drying out while new roots get established. Photo from Justin Ballew
We’re seeing a fair amount of anthracnose fruit rot on pepper in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Greens are loving cool weather and growing well.  Very little disease or insect problems.  Large numbers of armyworm moths in some green fields but they are not feeding on greens but on the purslane, pigweed, and other weeds – control the weeds.  Sweet potatoes are being harvested as quickly as possible.  Many strawberries are planted – already seen some deer damage.  I have seen large fields of peas without a pea left on top of the plants – from deer damage.  Pickle harvest is finished for the year.  Cool weather is slowing bean and pea growth and production.  Agri-tourism is flourishing because people want to get out of the house.”

Weekly Field Update – 10/5/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “The cooler weather and lots of rain have brought out the diseases. I saw some watermelon diseases last week including gummy stem blight. We need to protect our foliage just a few more weeks to finish off those melons so keep at the spray programs if you can.  Whiteflies continue to hammer us in all crops this fall. Strawberry planting is just about upon us. Rains and wet ground have slowed some farms from laying plastic. Remember that preplant fertility and herbicides are critical to spring success. Spartan and Devrinol  are the only two preplant herbicide options this late in the season. Other products require a 30-day wait period. Let me know if you want me to come check your strawberry plugs before you plant them.”

Gummy stem blight on watermelon foliage. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Rob Last reports, “Fall crops are looking good in this area with good development in brassicas and beets.  Insect and disease activity remain moderate however with cooler weathers and rainfall scouting will be critical to success for these crops.  Adult moths are very active at present so be on the lookout for eggs and caterpillars. Plastic is down and awaiting strawberry planting in the next week.”

Growers are ready for strawberry planting. Photo from Rob Last.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has been pretty fall-like and enjoyable over the last week. The cooler temperatures and high amounts of recent moisture have diseases like powdery mildew, downy mildew, and anthracnose increasing. Caterpillar activity has increased in the last week as well. Be sure to rotate modes of action when spraying for caterpillars. Strawberry growers are ready to plant and will probably start within the next week.”

Powdery mildew has been picking up on fall cucurbit crops. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Adult diamondback moth that just finished pupating on a collard leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Daytime temperatures have been mild with cooler night temps. Early last week areas saw anywhere from trace amounts to 2 inches of rain. Low spots in fields may remain wet and this could lead to potential problems.  Peppers are looking good as well as eggplant and late squash. Brassica crops are having some issues with aphids causing leaf curling.  Pecans are beginning to fall as well. Scab seems to be particularly bad this year,  most likely because of wet weather during critical spray times for fungal management in late June and July. 

Pecan scab has been rough this season. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Greens are growing fast with cool temperatures; however, beans, peas, pickles, and sweet potatoes have slowed down with these temperatures.  Most sweet potatoes need to find a home.  We are using a lot of potassium phosphide to keep down root rot especially on greens.  Most growers also use it as a dip for strawberries transplants or put through drip system as soon as they plant.  Getting ready to plant strawberries as soon as the transplants get here.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Clear skies since Tuesday with cool fall temperatures at night and warm days has consumers looking for all things fall. Growers with pumpkins, gourds, mums, corns stalks, and/or anything fall related have been busy keeping up with demand. Agritourism demand/opportunities has picked up significantly in the last few weeks. Apples are in peak season with Stayman being one of the current varieties available.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Upstate peaches are finished up for the year but muscadines are still being harvested although slowing some and strawberry planting is in full swing. I was called to examine poorly growing peach trees at an upstate farm. The majority of trees were dying from the most devastating disease of peach ‘Oak Root Rot.’  There was gumming at the base and I was fully expecting a greater peach tree borer problem but closer examination and cutting of the below ground bark revealed the Oak Root Rot fungus growing at the base of the trees.  When pushing your older peach trees up be sure to examine the main roots for the sign of this disease which is the white to yellowish fungal growth deep inside of the bark below the soil level.  There are a few other fungi that can have a similar symptom but they tend to grow just on dead tissue and don’t grow as deep into the wood of the tree.  There are some things you can do about it, but proper identification comes first.”

Gumming and yellowish white fungal growth at the base of a peach tree from oak root rot. Photo from Andy Rollins.
Poor tree growth as the result of oak root rot. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Weekly Field Update – 9/21/20

Coastal

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.

Silverleaf of squash is a symptom of whitefly feeding. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Whitefly feeding damage on collards. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Midlands

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.”

Cabbage loopers are showing up. Loopers frequently rear up like a cobra when disturbed. Photo from Justin Ballew

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.”

Eggplant is looking good. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

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. 

Upstate

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.

‘Traminette’ with leaf scorch symptom of Pierce’s Disease. Photo from Kerrie Roach.
‘Traminette’ with a dead leaf petiole still attached to the vine. Another symptom of Pierce’s Disease. Photo from Kerrie Roach.
‘Traminette” with Pierce’s disease showing islands of green tissue surrounded by brown. This specific grower has already disposed of the affected vines, and will be replacing with newer more resistant cultivars. Photo from Kerrie Roach.