Field Update – 3/9/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Finally we have a break from the rain!  I lost count of how many inches of rain we had.  In fields with clean ditches and water furrows, water drained off pretty quickly, however, some fields suffered from all the rain.  If your fields are wet, try to stay out of them until they dry.  One of the worst things that can happen is when fields are entered when wet and soggy, causing compaction issues in the soil.  I am seeing lots and lots of disease in strawberry and blueberry.  The cold weather a few weeks ago killed many developing fruit and blossoms leaving them vulnerable to fungal infection. With over a week of consistent rain/cloudy weather and mild temperatures, the fungal pathogens have exploded.  If you can get into your fruit fields then both protectant and systemic fungicides should be applied.

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Freeze damage on early blueberry varieties is a perfect place for fungal pathogens to attack. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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It will be a while before this field can be worked again.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had lots of rain last week, but a very nice weekend and I saw the first bit of pollen on my windshield Saturday afternoon.  Despite the rain, spider mites are starting to build up in strawberries in several places, requiring treatment.  This is probably a result of having the row covers on for so long.  Conditions are still perfect for disease development and we are seeing lots of Botrytis as well as some anthracnose fruit rot.  More rain is coming this week, so be timely with fungicide applications and be sure to sanitize dead leaves, flowers, and fruit from the plants.  These become sources of inoculum as disease develops, so get that material out of the field.

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Two-spotted spider mites can appear red in the winter.  Leaving row covers on for long periods of time can create the perfect conditions for spider mites. Photo from Justin Ballew

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This strawberry has anthracnose spores (orange mass on the left) as well as Botrytis (grey mass) developing on it. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Fields are rapidly drying – hopefully, it doesn’t rain until later this week so we can finally get some greens planted. We have got some acres planted but there are thousands left to be planted.  Peaches are still up in the air.  Some varieties are totally lost but others are fine.  Growers are running wind machines and burning hay bales most nights to protect blooms from the cold.  Covering and watering to protect strawberries and some growers have been picking for weeks, though others want to wait until they have enough fruit to open. With all the rain, Botrytis is tough on strawberries. Some growers are spraying twice a week, while others are letting it go and will pick-off bad fruit with the good fruit and sell what they can.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Last week was the annual ‘Upstate Fruit Grower Meeting’ in Oconee County. Extension Agent, Kerrie Roach, along with Extension specialists from Clemson and NC State presented on topics to more than 30 attendees. Topics covered included apple diseases, PGRs, peach disease management, insect & disease ID, fungicide resistance, blackberry PGR research, the MyIPM app. along with much more. Lots of great networking and conversations were had over lunch and continued after the meeting. The Upstate is looking forward to a great growing season!”

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Last week’s Upstate Fruit Grower Meeting was a success.  Photo from Cory Tanner.

Field Update – 3/2/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “The horticulture team got the opportunity to tour some really nice greenhouse/transplant providers last week.  One point I’d like to bring up is transplant quality.  Yes, quality transplants cost more upfront but healthy, quick-growing plants will help you recoup your investment.  I see lots and lots of subpar transplants going into fields that come from transplant providers with disease and insect issues from the start.  The plants will require more attention and cost more to fertilize and spray than healthy plants from the start.  We also got to see some grafted tomato and melon plants.  If you have been having trouble with a particular disease, cultivar, or area within your farm then grafted transplants may be an option for you.  I have seen several farms in the past few years switch to using grafted plants and they are loving the results.  Again they cost more but they are less likely to die with a full fruit load in late May.”

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Grafted tomatoes with the appropriate rootstock can help battle diseases such as bacterial wilt and southern blight. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Mixed variety of very healthy and clean transplants ready to be picked up. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a little break in the rain over the weekend.  Hopefully, strawberry growers have taken advantage of that to sanitize the fields and get a fungicide application out.  Conditions have been perfect for Botrytis development (lots of moisture and temps in the 60’s) and we are seeing a ton of it.  The MyIPM app is a great resource for determining which fungicides to include in your rotation.  There are a few fruit out there that are ripening up, but they’re ugly and don’t taste great yet.  This will improve with time as long as pollination is good and we get some sunny days. Keep in mind it’s still very early in the season.  Start taking tissue samples now to make sure we get the fertigation right.”

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Botrytis growing on decaying tissue is plentiful right now.  It’s going to be a rough strawberry season if the rain doesn’t slow down.  Photo from Justin Ballew

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Misshaped fruit most likely caused by poor pollination.  Boron deficiency can cause this appearance also and would show up on a tissue sample.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Recent rains have caused a lot of erosion issues in orchards, especially those with trees planted on berms. With more heavy rain in this week’s forecast, farmers should focus on problem areas and consider erosion control methods such as coconut coir logs to help slow the movement of water through the orchard.  Peach trees are progressing quickly but it is still too early to make predictions about this year’s crop.”

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The recent rain has caused erosion issues in a number of orchards.  Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Farmers are hurrying to get greens/cabbage/collards planted before the rain this week.  Also, getting sweet potato beds in for transplant production.  Growers are fumigating fields for tomatoes, peppers, and other summer vegetables.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Last week several S.C. agents toured two different grafting/vegetable transplant production operations in WNC. Grafting can translate some great resistance/tolerance traits to otherwise susceptible varieties of tomatoes we commonly plant in small scale production. Check with your agent to see if grafted tomato plants might benefit your operation. Meanwhile, in the upstate, it didn’t rain for a few days and growers have finally been able to get into the field to prep and plant some early crops. Temperatures have been typical for this time of the year. Hang tight because more rain is forecasted for this week!

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Grafted tomatoes can be a good way to combat certain soil-borne diseases.  Be sure to get the correct resistance trait for the diseases you’re battling.  Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update 2/24/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “As probably guessed the topic of the day is the 2 nights of sub 32F temperatures.  Most folks were able to cover their strawberries and hopefully, the row covers did their jobs.  I know in some places temperatures lower than 25F were seen.  The blueberry crop took the biggest blow.  Many of our rabbiteye types were ahead of schedule with the warm weather and were almost in full bloom or close to it when the cold nights came in.  I have seen several pictures from several farms that have a good bit of damage.  It is important to get fungicides out sometime this week as we have the perfect storm for a disease outbreak (warmer temperatures, wet weather, dead plant tissue, disease inoculum).  Recently planted brassicas are showing some damage but should grow out of it.  Only time will tell the extent of the cold damage.

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Strawberries are in their most vulnerable state when they are in full bloom as seen here. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Small green fruit are a little more tolerant of cold temperatures although this fruit has some freeze damage and will decay if left on the plant.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had plenty of rain last week and two cold nights this weekend.  It got to 28 Saturday morning and 29 Sunday morning at my house.  Strawberries were all covered, so they were protected, but now we’re getting to where we need to get the row covers off to make a fungicide application.  The rain and the threat of near-freezing temperatures this week is holding us back from getting that done.  Bees won’t able to get to the flowers for pollination either until we get the row covers off.  As soon as we’re able, we need to remove dead flowers, leaves, and fruit from the plants also.

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Water pooling in a collard field during the rain Thursday (2/20).  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Strawberries split open to show cold damage.  The strawberry on the bottom is healthy and the two on top have varying degrees of discoloration and necrosis.  If not removed from the field, these two damaged berries will become a source of botrytis inoculum. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Wet weather is still prevalent and temperatures have dipped below freezing a couple of nights this past week. Warm weather earlier in the month began to push peach trees into a bit of an early bloom so we are watching for cold injury now. It is still too early to tell if the weather will affect the crop.

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The left photo shows a brown pistil, most likely damaged by below freezing temperatures while the bloom in the right photo had a pistil that is still green and probably undamaged. Photo from Sarah Scott

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Workers use flail mowers to grind up smaller pieces of pruned limbs in row middles throughout peach orchards. Breaking down the material is helpful in nutrient recycling as well as speeding decomposition to reduce spore production from fungal pathogens.  Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Rain won’t stop for us to get greens/cabbage/collards planted.  Transplants are having to be held back as much as possible so they won’t get too leggy.  Some growers got their sweet potato beds planted in real sandy fields.  Most strawberry growers have started covering to save fruit.  Remember that covering encourages spider mites and fruit rots.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “After a couple weeks with cooler temperatures, chill hours for the Upstate fruits crops (apples & peaches) are looking good. The dry weekend was too good to be true as we are getting more rain today. The forecast calls for dry weather the rest of this week. Hopefully, we can start getting into fields for prep work and early plantings for market growers.

Field Update – 2/17/20

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “Love is in the air, and your crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) PRE herbicides should be on the ground if you are in the Low Country.  When soil temperatures reach 55 F for 2 to 3 days, which will usually occur before March 1st in the Low Country, March 15th in the Midlands and March 30th for the upstate crabgrass germination is possible and can continue throughout the spring and summer. No matter how well crabgrass has been controlled in previous years, there is still a tremendous seed bank in the soil and open spots in crop canopy will allow this fast-growing summer annual to invade. Crabgrass’ rapid emergence and extremely fast growth rate make it a problematic weed in early spring to summer.  One study by NC State showed that for every week large crabgrass emergence was delayed an increase in 373 watermelon fruit was observed. This relatively small grassy weed can cause a big problem in early season cucurbit crop plantings.”

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Crabgrass seedlings. Photo from Virginia Tech

 

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “A wet week is coming to the Lowcountry.  Most farms are discing up land and pressing beds in preparation for the season.  I saw some potatoes going in last week on a farm or two.  If you have strawberries and have started spraying, then keep spraying.  Protectant fungicides applied before a weather event are the best measure at preventing disease.  The weather coming is perfect for gray mold and Anthracnose to develop.  If you have a smartphone download the MYIPM app (make sure to use WiFi) to key you in on diseases and preventative measures for small fruits.

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Land being prepped for spring vegetables. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “More rain on the horizon.  Lots of collards are bolting and fall brassicas, in general, are wrapping up.  Some spring brassicas have already been planted.  Black rot is showing up in some fields following the storms and warm weather, so if, you’re done with a field, get rid of it!  It never got cold enough Friday to kill strawberry blooms, but lots of growers had their row covers on just in case.  Growers are protecting blooms from now on. This will have us picking around mid-March.  Make sure to sanitize the fields as soon as it stops raining and it’s safe to pull off the row covers and start your fungicide programs and fertigation now.

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Black rot showing up in collards after the recent storms.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Workers busy putting row covers on strawberries.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Bruce McClean reports, “We have been on a bit of a roller coaster for the last couple of weeks… warm temps separated by brief periods of cool, windy conditions. The cool weather has not been that severe or persistent, and the warmer weather has been much more dominant. This has caused crops like blueberries and strawberries to really start to push. Heavy flowering in both crops is very evident now. With strawberries, we’re not too worried about losing early blooms… the plant will make more. But with blueberries, persistent early warm temps can ruin the upcoming season’s crop quickly. Some growers have asked about frost protecting this early. The challenge is “do you have enough water to protect until all risk of frost is gone”… likely not. The only thing worse than losing a crop because you didn’t frost protect is frost protecting all winter only to run out of water on the last night of freezing temps. Try to assess how much water supply you have and try to make decisions based on that. If you need help, please reach out to Clemson Extension for assistance.

Some chores to be doing now – finish up pruning your vineyards and orchards over the next week, or so. Look closely for dead wood in your vineyard, especially on the cordons. Now is the best time to identify it and remove it. Also, if you are planning to do some hardwood propagation on blueberries, now is the time to select one-year-old canes for cuttings. Be sure to keep them bagged (with moist peat moss or pine bark) and refrigerated until you are ready to sprig in the spring.

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Unhealthy muscadine condon that needs to be pruned out. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Hardwood blueberry cutting. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Farmers wish the rain would stop so they can get greens planted.  One way to keep plants from growing too tall in the greenhouse is blowing with a leaf blower every day it will harden them off and cause them to be shorter.  Time to bed sweet potatoes for slips if not to wet.  If you’ve started to save/protect strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc. (some already in full bloom) get ready for Friday night.

Field Update – 1/13/20

Spring fruit and vegetable meetings are being announced daily, so keep an eye on the “Upcoming Events” tab over the next several weeks.

Coastal Region

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “I have been seeing a lot of Henbit in the coastal area this year (A big chunk of it in Dr. Brian Ward’s research fields). Don’t be deceived by the pretty flowers. We don’t really have any options for selectively controlling the weed POST in most vegetable crops. Mowing before viable seed head formation is a good way to reduce the weed seed bank deposit of this problematic winter annual. More description of the weed can be found at (https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/research/weeds/weed-id-bio/broadleaf-weeds-parent/broadleaf-pages/henbit.html)”

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Henbit flowers. Photo from Dr. Matt Cutulle.

Dr. Tony Keinath reports,”White mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) is active in the Charleston area. The two nights of freezing temperatures December 18-19 likely stimulated sclerotia to germinate and produce ascospores. Warm, overcast weather with mist and light rain is ideal for spread and germination of the airborne ascospores. Weather conditions likely will remain favorable for white mold over the next 3 months. Growers will need to rotate conventional white mold fungicides due to limits on the number of applications that can be made per crop.

For organic crops, Sonata at 8 pints per acre may offer some protection. See pages 185 and 222 in the 2020 Vegetable Crop Handbook for Southeastern United States.”

Zack Snipes reports, “Warm and muggy is the only way to describe the past week.  I was out in a blueberry patch and noticed some low chill hour varieties already blooming.  We have gotten very few chill hours to date in Charleston.  Chill hours are the number of hours below 45F and are required for proper fruiting of perennial fruits.  For a  normal year in Charleston we should get anywhere from 400-600 chill hours.  I have also seen strawberries pushing out some blooms.  Growers should not worry as that is normal for this time of year.  I think it is still too early to starting pushing strawberries for fruiting.  Remember that it takes 35 or so days to go from bloom to picking a strawberry.  It we let our plants grow and develop more crowns right now (rather than fruit), then we will have greater production this spring.”

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Low chill hour blueberries are already showing some blooms. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Strawberries starting to push out a few blooms. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was unseasonably warm this past week and we had a couple significant rain events over the weekend. I’ve seen a few daffodils and forsynthia blooming already.  Strawberries are growing a little faster right now and that’s good new for fields that are a little behind.  The weather conditions we have right now are very conducive to Phytophthora development, so now would be a good time for a Ridomil application through the drip, especially in fields with a history of Phytophthora. Winter weeds are really exploding now.  Make sure to pull any weeds coming up in the plant holes so they aren’t competing with the strawberries. We’re still harvesting brassicas and they look good other than a little Sclerotinia here and there.”

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A likely Pytophthora infection in a strawberry crown.  The tip of the crown near the roots has turned reddish/brown. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Cabbage in the midlands is looking nice. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Wet and overly warm temperatures have set in along the Ridge over the past week. 2.5 inches of rain have fallen but with soil already wet it is making for difficult working conditions. Fields are still being prepped for peach tree planting and pruning should begin this week. With temperatures reaching into the 70s there is a concern that higher chill varieties of peaches may not get adequate chilling requirements to produce optimum yields but we will have to wait and see what the weather continues to do. Cabbage, collards, and kale are still being harvested along with a few other late winter crops. Strawberries are putting on a lot of growth with the warm temperatures. Some spider mites in the field but very minimal observations.”

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Strawberries are growing fast in this warm weather. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Spider mite populations are begging to increase in our area. Most brassica producers are selling out. Remember to disk in remaining plant material as soon as possible, this reduces the chance of disease in your following crop year. Sclerotinia white mold has been very prevalent in our area.  Remember to rotate for a minimum of three years if disease emerges. Weather has not allowed for spring bedding to begin.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Last week, folks hurried before rain to get land bedded for greens to be planted the first of February.  This will allow weeds to emerge so they can be killed before planting in stale-bed-culture.  Strawberries are loving this warm weather.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “We have some growers who are finished pruning apples and peaches, some who have just started, and others who haven’t touched their orchards yet. We will see who fairs the best… I have concerns with what I would consider to be early pruning, combined with continued warm temperatures creating a perfect storm for when cold temperatures finally arrive. Heavy rains have plagued the area, with more than 13 inches recorded at the Oconee airport in January thus far.”

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Apple trees after pruning. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Field Update – 11/11/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler this week. The soil is cooling down also and is causing some purpling at the tips of the leaves of brassicas (a sign of phosphorus deficiency).  Roots have a hard time taking up nutrients in cold soil, so make sure your fertility is adequate. Caterpillar populations are still relatively low. We’re still seeing a few whiteflies, but their numbers seem a little lower this week also. Strawberries are looking great so far. We are about done with the fall crops.”

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Collards showing a slight purple tint on the tips of the leaves.  Photo from Justin Ballew

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The soil Monday morning (11/11) was just under 50 degrees.  This will cause root growth and nutrient uptake to slow.  Photos from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “There have been several nights where temperatures dipped into the low 30s and we have had a few frosty mornings along the Ridge. Pepper plants are beginning to come out and late summer/fall crops wrapping up. Broccoli continues to be harvested along with kale, spinach, sweet potatoes and collards. Peach growers are preparing their orchards for planting new trees.”

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Last week, I found Clubroot on collards in a home garden in Florence and the plant problem clinic confirmed.  This is clubroot an awful disease of brassicas (greens, cabbage, etc.).  It was first found in SC in 2015.  That farm has a voluntary quarantine to keep it from spreading.  Please do not move plants or soil and cause it to spread.  It will stay in the soil for a long time (almost forever) and has the capability to destroy the brassica industry in SC.  Brassica and sweet potato harvest are at full speed because of the possible cold damage this week.

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Swollen stem at the soil line on a collard plant from clubroot. Photo from Tony Melton.

 

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 – 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 – 8/19/19

Coastal Region

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Phomopsis blight is showing up on eggplant at the Coastal REC. On susceptible cultivars, like ‘Black Beauty,’ the disease starts as leaf spots; later in the season stem cankers and fruit rot appear. Although several fungicides are registered on eggplant, none are specifically labeled for Phomopsis blight. Aprovia Top and Priaxor might give some control; more testing is needed before a definite recommendation can be made.”

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Phomopsis blight on eggplant foliage. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week we had some scattered rains, but some areas remain bone dry.  Irrigation is running a lot in those areas.  Muscadine harvest has started and so far, this is the largest yield we’ve seen in recent years.  Squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes are also being harvested. Quality looks good, but volume is down a bit in some areas.  More fall brassicas are being planted and strawberry growers are just starting the process of prepping their fields.”

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

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Good looking eggplant harvested in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Much of the upper Pee Dee Region received beneficial rains late last week. This helped to drop temps back to about normal, following the excessive heat from a few days earlier. On most crops, the rain really helped to push production again. Late season cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and okra are looking good. Canary melons are looking excellent. Volumes on these crops are good. Last week’s heat did take a toll on watermelons, though. Volumes are significantly down from the prior week and are likely winding down for the season. Muscadines are a bit varied across the region. In some locations, ‘Carlos’ and ‘Noble’ (wine and juice varieties) are getting very close to harvest, while other vineyards are ripening a bit slower. Harvest on the most mature wine and juice muscadines could begin as soon as next week.

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Fall cucumbers were showing some downy mildew earlier on. Fungicide applications seem to have held down further development. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Canary melons are looking excellent. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Heavy rain in certain area but none in others.  Some fresh market sweet potatoes are ready for harvest.  Processing sweet potato harvest will begin end of August.  Pickling cucumbers for machine harvest are still being planted most growers are favoring the parthenocarpic varieties.  Brassica planting has begun – seeds and transplants.  Fall bearing blackberries are yielding well.”

Upstate

Mark Arena reports seeing pecan scab. “Pecan Scab fungus is a weather dependant disease. There are varieties/cultivars that exhibit tolerance to this disease as shown below in the photos. Observed in Picture #1, we see both the nuts and foliage are showing signs of infection (the brown lessions). Picture #2 shows no sign of disease on either the nuts and/or foliage at the present time. Pecan scab can go undetected for days before the lessions appear, therefore, it is imperaitive to use a preventitive fungicide program to insure nut production.

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Nuts and leaves infected by pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.

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Nuts and leaves appear free of pecan scab. Photo from Mark Arena.