Field Update – 9/16/19

Coastal

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Watermelons with symptoms resembling cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) were found at the Coastal REC after Hurricane Dorian. Whiteflies were present before the hurricane, so they did not arrive with the hurricane. Laboratory confirmation is in progress. Preventative applications of insecticides to manage whiteflies is the best management option. CuLCrV also affects squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

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Small watermelon leaves caused by CuLCrV. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was hot and dry early in the week, but we got some rain Thursday and Friday and temperatures are a little cooler now. Irrigation was running a lot in the first part of the week and some crops wilted in between waterings.  Keep an eye out for diseases now that moisture and humidity has returned. Diamonback moth caterpillar numbers seem up be picking up in places as well.”

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Collards wilting in between waterings. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Diamondback moth caterpillar feeding on the underside of a collard leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sara Scott reports, “It’s been hot and dry along the Ridge with no significant rainfall this past week. Fall fertilizer applications are going out in the peach orchards.”

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Here we are in mid-September waiting for cooler temps, but having to endure some persisting summer heat. Luckily, the forecast is for some cooler weather about mid week. Muscadine harvest is coming to a close. Carlos and Noble grapes had good yields, this year. Doreen muscadines harvest should be just about to wrap up. Sweetpotato harvest is just getting geared up. Okra is still being harvested in good volumes. Cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini are a little light right now, but should be more plentiful in a few days. Peas and butterbeans are still available in limited supply. Fall planting of collards, cabbage, and other cole crops are being done now. Strawberry planting should be starting shortly.

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Okra still blooming and bearing heavily. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Field of zucchini soon to be ready for harvest. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Processing sweet potato harvest has begun.  Pickling cucumber harvest continues.  Brassicas have been slowed in growth and lost some stand due to the excessive heat – hope it cools down.  Processing spinach was delayed by heat, but planting has now begun.

 

 

Field Update – 9/9/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Hurricane Dorian caused some damage, but it could have been a lot worse.  There are some trees down and some fields are flooded.  We’re still figuring out the extent of the damage.  Be sure to take lots of pictures for insurance.  Remember, all produce that was flooded cannot legally be sold and should be destroyed.  I’ll send out damage paperwork to growers in the low country soon.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Areas west of Columbia got just a little bit of wind and almost no rain from Hurricane Dorian.  We’re still picking muscadines and summer planted squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  The cooler temperatures and recent rain has greatly increased disease pressure.  We’re seeing lots of bacterial spot and speck in tomatoes, black rot and ripe rot in muscadines, and various leaf spots in hemp.  Stick to your disease programs.  Fall brassica planting continues as does strawberry land prep.

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Leaf spots on hemp foliage.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

 

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A field of kale for fall harvest growing well in the midlands.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Too wet to harvest sweet potatoes or pickling cucumbers.  Water is standing in some fields.  The closer the beach, the worse it is.  It’s time to plant spinach.  Much of the collards, turnips, kale, and mustard were planted and up before rain started.  If not up before the rain, seed could be washed away.  Many waited until after the rain to finish planting.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Apples are in full swing. Growers are picking ‘Gala’, ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Early Fuji’, ‘Mutsu’, and ‘Granny Smith’ varieties. Croploads look better than expected thus far, and seem to be about 2 weeks ahead of typical ripening due to the heat and drought. Muscadines are starting to come in to the markets along with the last bit of summer crops. Many of the smaller farmers markets are slim with produce right now because of the transition to fall crops.”

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Apples are in full swing in the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Andy Rollins reports finding some severe cases of anthracnose in late peppers. “The bright orange colored powdery substance are 1000’s of spores of the fungus Colletotrichum.  Leaf symptoms are not evident, just the obvious fruit lesions.   Hot rainy weather has persisted in the mountains and lack of good airflow caused this to be a major problem for some growers.  Even under the best spray program these problems can still exist if conditions for the disease are favorable enough.  Although some variety differences have been noted none are highly resistant to this problem.  A good spray program and good sanitation in keeping fruit picked is essential for the best control possible.

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Anthracnose lesions on pepper.  Photo from Andy Rollins.

 

Field Update – 9/2/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Fall peppers and eggplant are looking nice this week due to cooler temperatures.  We received lots of brassica transplants this week including broccoli, kale, collards and rutabagas from plant nurseries.  Planting on these crops has begun and will continue for the next couple months.  Overall, these transplants look weak and have some disease in them.  Some of our fall watermelons, cantaloupe, and hard squash are starting to come in strong.”

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Black rot already showing up on transplants. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Butternut squash almost ready to pick. Photo from Zack Snipes.

 

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “This past week felt a little like fall.  We had some scattered showers and the temperatures cooled down a bit, especially in the mornings.  Hemp is blooming well and we are seeing some caterpillars feeding on the buds in some areas.  Fall brassicas are still being planted and the young plants are looking good so far. Beans, squash, zucchini, muscadines, eggplant, and tomatoes are being harvested.”

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Corn earworm feeding on hemp buds. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Great crop of muscadines in the midlands this year. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are wrapping up throughout the Ridge. Late summer plantings of squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cole crops have been planted and are starting to take off. Plastic is going down in many fields for fall plantings of strawberries. We’ve had slightly cooler temperatures and varying amounts of rain throughout the week.”

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Broccoli transplants taking off.  Photo from Sara Scott.

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Late season tomatoes with a good bloom load. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “On most years, the beginning of muscadine harvest occurs right around the Labor Day weekend. This year was no different. A few weeks ago, there were some concerns that a few vineyards may have been experiencing early ripening due to this summer’s heat. Luckily, the heat broke a bit, and the grapes were able to hold on for a timely harvest. So, harvest of juice/wine grapes began earlier this week. Carlos and Noble varieties’ volume looks very good. Doreen is still a little ways out, and needs a few more days of ripening. Harvest will likely be pretty steady for the next couple of weeks. Fresh market muscadines are still coming off in good volumes. Strawberry growers are busy putting down plastic and getting beds ready for planting. Strawberry planting is just a few weeks away. Other produce available in good volumes are: late peas and butterbeans, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and canary melons. The start of sweetpotato harvest is not too far away.

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Harvesting muscadines mechanically in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Muscadine harvester emptying a load.  Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Fall butterbeans, snapbeans, and peas are flowering and starting to set pods.  Land prep (laying plastic) for strawberries has started.  Fall pickling cucumbers are setting fruit and some will be harvested this week.  Sweet potato harvest has begun.”

Field Update – 8/26/19

Coastal Region

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Phytophthora crown rot was observed on bronze fennel in a home landscape (mine) in Charleston. Fennel apparently is a new host for Phytophthora  (species not identified). Foliar symptoms include a progressive yellowing, starting with the older leaves. Symptoms on the lower stem and leaf sheath are a water-soaked, “greasy” rot. It is very likely that Florence (green, edible) fennel also is susceptible. Potassium phosphite products are the only fungicides registered for post-transplant applications on the leafy vegetables crop group that includes fennel.”

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Yellowing of fennel foliage from Phytophthora crown rot. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

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Water-soaked, greasy rot symptom on the lower sheaths. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We got some much-needed rain over most of the midlands this week and temperatures have been a little cooler over the last few days.  Planting continues with fall brassicas and diamond back moth caterpillars are showing up already.  We need to be scouting weekly for those and using the treatment threshold of 5 worms per 10 plants at this stage of the season.  The recent moisture is causing an increase in disease pressure, so stay on your regular spray schedules.”

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Diamondback moth pupa on the underside of a collard leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Diseases like anthracnose could increase following with past week’s rain. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Peaches are wrapping up around the ridge. Broccoli plants are still going in for fall harvest. We have had rain in the last week which has been a nice break on irrigation systems.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Last of pickling cucumbers have been planted.  Collard, kale, turnips, mustard, etc. planting in full swing with both transplants and direct seeding.  Bed prep for strawberries has begun.  Getting late to order strawberry plants. Fall blackberry harvest is continuing.   Sweet potato harvest will begin soon.  Double cropped processing peas are starting to flower.  Butterbeans planted for fall production are starting to flower.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “The last few peaches are being picked this week in Oconee County. The apple harvest is coming along nicely, ‘Early Fuji’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apples will start to be picked this week. A spotty hail storm in Long Creek last week has caused some damage across the orchards, but is very localized. Summer market vegetable growers are wrapping things up with some of the Farmers Markets closing at the end of August. With rain & cooler weather forecasted, disease and weed management will be a continued battle for growers.”

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Early Fuji apples from the Upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update – 8/12/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are in the middle of muscadine and scuppernong harvest right now. Okra and mixed peppers are still pushing out despite the heat. We had a great Strawberry Production Meeting in Charleston last week. If you have any questions on strawberry production now is the time to ask before planting.”

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Muscadines and scuppernongs from Ravenel, SC. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Great strawberry production meeting in Charleston (8/6/19). Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a storm come through Saturday night that brought a little rain to some parts of the midlands, but overall we are still quite dry. More fall brassicas are going in the ground and there is already some caterpillar pressure on those that are up. Downy mildew is showing up on cucumbers and pumpkins on a more widespread scale now.  Stick to fungicide programs if you’re growing fall cucurbits.”

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Fall collards in Lexington County are already seeing diamond back moth caterpillar pressure. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Downy mildew in fall cucumbers. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had hot and dry conditions along the Ridge with hit and miss showers. Running irrigation heavily.  Late cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and broccoli are being planted.  Leaf footed bugs on late season tomatoes causing minimal damage.  Peaches still producing through late August, possibly into early September. Field work is still being done to prepare for fall planting of new orchards.”

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September Sun peaches are nearing harvest. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Leaf footed bugs causing minor damage to late tomatoes. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Mark Arena reports fall webworms and tent caterpillars are showing up on pecans. “This is truly a nuisance pest and generally does not influence nut production. Proper control may be challenging since the webbing should be broken apart prior to spraying. Once the webbing is broken apart, the insecticide can make contact with the caterpillars and offer effective control. Any insecticides labeled for caterpillars will work.”

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Fall webworm in the canopy of a pecan tree. Photo from Mark Arena.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Temps have been soaring and rain has been scarce across the Pee Dee Region. Most crops are looking good though. Watermelon, cantaloupe, canary melons, cucumber, zucchini and yellow squash volumes are still up and quality is good. Okra volumes are really starting to pick up and the quality is very good. Okra is flowering heavy, so volumes should be good for the foreseeable future. Muscadines are continuing to ripen. Muscadine brix levels (sugars) are rather high for this time of the season. Harvest should be very good this year. Fresh market muscadines should be available starting this week.

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“Noble” muscadines are getting close to harvest. Photo from Bruce McClean.

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Okra is rolling along in the summer heat. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Fall pickling cucumbers are being planted.  Pythium is still prevalent on pickling cucumbers and may need to be controlled.  Fall peas and snap-beans are up and growing and need thrips control, but I have found thrips are in low numbers this fall and they may grow out of damage. I have found some beet armyworms on peas in some locations – scout.  Also, lesser cornstalk borers are bad on both peas and snap-beans mainly due to the dry conditions; therefore, irrigate if possible or apply Coragen or similar systemic product.  Loopers are present on sweet potatoes but doing mostly very little economic damage.  I have found some striped armyworms in certain locations which need to be controlled.  Starting to plant fall processing greens.

Field Update – 8/5/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Summer cover crops are looking good in the Lowcountry.  Cowpeas are one of my favorite cover crops for their ability to shade out weeds, particularly nutsedge, and provide the land with nitrogen for the next crop planted. We have had some timely rains to keep everything green and prepare fields for the fall.  Some fields are being laid out and prepared for the fall season now.  One technique used for weed management is called the stale bed technique.  This involves working the soil and bedding up a few weeks to a month before growers plan to transplant. An herbicide or a flame is used once weeds germinate on the bed tops.  This process is repeated 1-3 more times before the crop is planted.  Because the soil is not disturbed after the initial bedding process, weeds are less likely to germinate once a crop is seeded or transplanted.”

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Cowpeas taking off with warm weather and timely rains.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Field being prepared by using the stale bed technique.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a few isolated showers throughout the week, but overall we’re still pretty dry in the midlands. Muscadines are ripening and some of the earliest varieties should be ready to pick this week. The first of the fall brassicas are up and growing now. Fall tomato, eggplant, and peppers are looking good. We are seeing some spidermites in tomatoes, so scout closely. If treatments are needed, remember to use high spray volumes to get good coverage and rotate IRAC groups.”

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Muscadines are ripening and will be ready to pick very soon.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Kale planted for fall harvest is growing well.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Fall bell peppers and Broccoli are being planted. We are continuing to pick string beans, processing tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Field preparations are underway for fall planting for Brassicas. We finally got some rain over the weekend, which will help with the new plantings.

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Still picking beans and peas in the midlands. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Upstate

Mark Arena reports, “Fall webworm or tent caterpillars are showing up on pecans.  Breaking the web apart and spraying with an appropriate insecticide is an option.”

Kerrie Roach reports, “Peaches are still coming in strong in the mountains, and the apples are continuing to build. The earliest ‘Ginger Gold’ apples (right photo) are just about finished. ‘Golden Supremes’ (left photo) are still a little low on the sugar (Brix) scale, but will sweeten up a little more this week. We should be picking ‘Galas’ within the next two weeks if the weather cooperates.”

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Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Well, it’s starting to look a bit like harvest time for muscadines. We’re seeing some advanced ripening this year due to heat, primarily in Carlos. There’s still some ripening to do, but it won’t be long. The crop looks really good this year… just a bit early.  Watermelons, cantaloupe, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers and okra are being harvested in good volumes, and grading out well.

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‘Carlos’ muscadines really coloring up. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Seeded watermelons harvested in good volume and condition. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Field Update – 7/29/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are harvesting the last remaining things in the fields, preparing fields for fall planting, and planting fall pepper and tomato.  I found an interesting disease in watermelon this week that is known as bacterial rind necrosis.  While it is not entirely known what factors and pathogens cause the disease, it is thought that environmental conditions could increase the presence of this disease.  If you have seen this disease, take precaution by rotating fields, staying away from varieties known to have had symptoms in the past, and stay on top of irrigation and nutrient management.  I have also seen some spongy squash this week.  The combination of heat, high humidity, and poor pollination can all lead to poor quality squash.”

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Watermelon with discolored rind from rind necrosis. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Soft squash as a result of poor environmental conditions. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather cooled down a few degrees towards the end of last week and felt nice.  Fall tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are in the ground now.  Downy mildew was found in the midlands in slicing cucumbers this past week, so folks growing fall cucurbits definitely need to maintain a good spray schedule.  Also, late last week, bacterial wilt was confirmed for the first time in hemp.  In the future, growers will need to practice good rotation between hemp, tobacco, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.”

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Peppers planted for a fall crop. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Industrial hemp plant wilting from bacterial wilt infection.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Bell peppers are being planted in Orangeburg and Clarendon counties. Hemp is growing well and is expected to make a good harvest. Worm damage was found on some hemp plants in Orangeburg county. Collards are also being planted.  Mole crickets have been found tunneling in many collard fields.

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Hemp is growing well in Orangeburg. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

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Mole cricket tunneling around collard seedlings can expose young roots to the sun, causing them to dry out. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

 

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Last week was a welcomed reprieve from the heat and humidity. Many crops seemed to respond positively from the temperature break, as well. Watermelon, cantaloupe volumes looked very good. Yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers were well improved from the week before. Okra volume is on the rise, and should be coming off very well in a week or so. Peas and butterbeans, on the other hand, sustained significant damage from the heat and many plantings have dried up. The first of the week looks pretty dry with building temps. By the end of the week, some welcomed rain should be in the forecast.”

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Zucchini are doing well in the slightly lower temperatures. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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The volume of harvest of okra is rising in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean

Field Update – 7/22/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was another fairly hot week with scattered afternoon showers. We’re about finished with the spring cucurbit and brassica crops and growers are planting some fall brassicas now.  Peas, green onions, tomatoes, peppers and some eggplant are being picked now.  Still seeing some cutworm damage showing up in hemp.  They feed at night, so growers having trouble with cutworms may benefit from night time applications of Dipel or Grandevo directed at the base of the plant.

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Peas are being picked in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Cutworm damage on hemp stem. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “The fall crop of bell peppers are being planted. We are continuing to pick peaches and have started picking Asian pears. Field prep is underway for fall planting of new peach trees. Old orchards are pushed up and the trees burned when they are no longer productive, making way for new orchards for the coming seasons.

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Fall peppers are going in the ground in the Ridge Spring area. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Tomatoes have been suffering from many pest and diseases. Most prevalent Southern Blight (White Mold) and Bacterial wilt. Make sure to properly diagnose your pest and/or diseases. Improper identification has led to improper control.”

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Tomato plant wilting rapidly from bacterial wilt. Photo from Lalo Toledo

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White fungal growth from Southern blight on a tomato stem. Photo from Lalo Toledo

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “This last week’s hot weather has taken a bit of a toll on some crops in the Pee Dee Region. Volumes on cantaloupe, cucumber and peppers were off a bit due to heat related damage. But, cooler weather looks to be in the forecast for this upcoming week. Be on the look out for Downy Mildew in cucurbits. I found some in a field of cucumbers last week. Some fall crops have been planted. The remaining acreage will likely be planted after the temperature break.

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Peppers are slowing down from the heat in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Downy mildew symptoms on a cucumber leaf. Photo from Bruce McLean

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Many upstate apple growers are having to do some late thinning on orchards hit by hail from one of the many late afternoon summer storms. Picking early varieties like ‘Wolf River’ and some of the Golden Delicious sports. Peaches are in full swing as are all our major summer vegetable crops. As in other areas of the state we have seen many instances of southern stem blight on tomatoes.”

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Early apple varieties are being harvested in the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach