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 – 9/28/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler temperatures have really helped out the direct seeded fall crops.  Carrots, beets, and arugula are looking great around the Lowcountry.  We had about 2 inches of rain so many fields are soggy.  I am still seeing high numbers of whiteflies on just about every crop.  Whitefly feeding will lower yields so make sure to scout the underside of leaves. I expect to see an increase of disease, particularly downy mildew on cucurbits and black rot on brassicas with the cooler temperatures and abundance of moisture.”

Arugula is looking great in this cooler weather. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Whitefiles on the underside of a cucumber leaf which will cause yield drags. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s been cooler this week and we got a little rain from the remnants of Beta. Its been several days since we’ve seen the sun, also. Lots of brassicas are being harvested now and more are being planted. There is a little black rot out there and plenty of caterpillars still. Strawberry plastic has been laid in a number of places and planting is just right around the corner.”

Strawberry plastic being laid in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Too wet to plant greens or harvest sweet potatoes & peas.  Peas are falling down reducing yield due to the inability to combine harvest.  Sweet potatoes are beginning to rot due to the wet soils reducing yields and quality.  Farmers are having to mud through fields to harvest pickles.  Downy Mildew, Pythium leak, and belly rot are bad!”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “With the end of September, most all the local farmers markets are finishing up for the season. Online markets and specialty/holiday markets will continue, but many produce growers have finished production until spring. Apples are continuing to be about 2 weeks ahead of schedule with decent crops across the board. Some growers have experienced high rates of fungal pathogens just because of the high rain incidence.” 

‘Brooks Spot’ preliminarily identified on Granny Smith apples. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

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.

Field Update: 6/22/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “A week of unseasonably mild temperatures and damp conditions slowed things down a bit. The warmer weather this past weekend and this week should put things in gear again. Starting to find some armyworms on smaller farms particularly the southern armyworm. Tomato spotted wilt virus has been showing up on tomato fruit in the Lowcountry. The disease is vectored by thrips. Early and mid-season symptoms include stunted plants that will never make fruit and brown/purple mottling on the leaves. Some plants are asymptomatic, meaning that they show no symptoms of the disease. I have been finding plants that are asymptomatic until they fruit and then symptoms appear on the fruit. Using tomato varieties that are resistant to the disease is the best management technique. The Crop Handbook has a list of varieties that have resistance. Using silver reflective mulch will also help with disease management as the mulch will repel thrips which vector the disease.”

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Characteristic symptoms of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on tomato fruit. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was very cool and cloudy. Though there was a decent chance of rain most days, we got very little and it remains dry in the midlands. The cool, cloudy weather really slowed things down and growers weren’t able to harvest crops as often as usual. Since there was little sunlight to dry up the dew each morning, powdery mildew really started showing up in cucurbits. It warmed back up over the weekend and plants seem to be growing faster already. Downy mildew still has not shown up here. Keep scouting and applying protective fungicides.”

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Powdery mildew growing on acorn squash foliage. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Squash bugs are active and laying eggs. Please scout for eggs on the underside of leaves and spray as soon as signs are visible. Squash bug nymphs, are gray and have black legs. Refer to the vegetable handbook for proper chemical control. Downy Mildew has been diagnosed in Orangeburg County. Please refer to the vegetable handbook regarding fungicide applications. It’s recommended to stay on a fungicide schedule and to apply protectants even before we start seeing symptoms.”

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Squash bug eggs laid on the underside of a squash leaf. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Cool temperatures making everything late especially peas and okra. Most sweet potatoes are planted. Things are drying out quickly with the heat.”

Field Update – 5/11/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “We have had some weird weather for May touching 90 one day to in the 40s at night.  Despite the fluctuating temperatures, crops like squash, zucchini, snap beans, and cukes are all coming in and looking pretty good. Melons and tomatoes are looking ok but cooler temperatures and persistent winds with sandblasting is common this spring.  Those wind-stressed and sandblasted plants will be more susceptible to disease so make sure to follow fungicide programs closely.

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Provider green beans are loaded up. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week started out quite warm, which had crops developing quickly. Spring planted brassicas grew fast and Squash seedlings really jumped out of the ground. Diamondback moth caterpillar populations are still high in places and we’re starting to see cabbage loopers as well. Strawberry growers are still reporting good sales. Thankfully, it’s cooled down again (at least for a few days) and that will help strawberry plants develop more blooms before it warms back up. As the weather becomes warm and dry this week, scout closely for spider mites.”

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Great looking broccoli head ready to be harvested. Heads developed very quickly in the warm weather last week. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Cabbage loopers are showing up in brassicas. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We are picking early variety peaches along the Ridge. Strawberries are still being harvested in the area as cooler nighttime temperatures have slowed ripening. Imported cabbageworm and diamondback moth caterpillars can be found in slightly higher numbers on broccoli and cabbage plants. Windy weather has made spraying in the fields and orchards challenging.

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Bacterial canker on a peach tree. Lesions with distinct lines between healthy and diseased wood found under bark on declining trees. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Temperatures in the Upstate were in the mid to low 30’s this weekend causing many growers to take precautions. Strawberry growers who had put their row covers away for the season, brought them back out. At this point, the low temperatures do not appear to have caused much damage. The weather is projected to even out this week, and nighttime temperatures are coming up. We are hoping for a great week of growing!