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Also, tomorrow (11/30), Bruce McLean will be giving a short, virtual presentation about the progress of the heat-tolerant butterbean breeding project going on at the Pee Dee REC. The presentation starts at 12:30. Click here to register.
Rob Last reports, “In our area, pest and disease pressure have reduced in response to cooler dryer conditions. Keep an eye on soil moisture and continue to regularly scout crops.”
Justin Ballew reports, “We had a couple good freezes over the past week that took out the remaining fall cucurbits, tomatoes, and peppers. Strawberries are doing well considering we were late planting and we haven’t accumulated many growing degree days (GDD) over the last few weeks. I’m not seeing any spider mites yet and it has been quite dry, so I’m not seeing any disease either. For anyone using row covers right now, this week looks to be a little warmer, so it would be a good time to take the covers off and let the plants get more light. Research from NC State suggests we only want to keep row covers on for about two weeks in the fall.”
Sarah Scott reports, “We had some really cold temperatures last week and Tuesday night finally froze out any remaining warm-weather crops. Land has been fumigated and plowed for new peach crop plantings. Strawberries are coming along nicely.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Fall vegetable crops are continuing to look good with few problems. Stink bugs are still lingering around, and diamondback moths are just starting to become prevalent. Be sure to scout weekly and spray accordingly. Strawberries are a little behind where they should be. This is due to a somewhat late planting for much of the crop and the onset of somewhat cooler temperatures. Some growers are trying to push the strawberry crop by managing them with row covers. Other than that, the strawberry crop seems to be well established and starting to grow. Perennial fruit crops (blueberries, blackberries, muscadines, peaches, etc.) seem to be defoliating well and going into dormancy. Be sure not to begin winter pruning until the plants have reached full dormancy. Looking at the long-range weather forecast, sometime after the first of the year will likely be a good time to begin.”
Don’t forget to sign up for the Virtual Strawberry Production Meeting we will have this Thursday (9/2) at 6 PM. We will have speakers from Clemson, UGA, and NC State and we expect it to be a great program. Visit the Upcoming Events page to see a list of topics and click here to register.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, please take a few minutes to fill out a survey to share your thoughts with us on Extension meetings. We’ll be using the information collected to help plan meetings over the next year. It will take less than 10 minutes and is anonymous. Click here to get started. Thanks!
Justin Ballew reports, “We had a chance to dry out some this past week, though it really doesn’t take long with our sandy soil. Fields are still being prepped and planted for fall crops and what has been planted is doing well. We’ve been getting reports of high armyworm counts in pastures and row crops and we’ve been seeing some in vegetables also. Stay vigilant.”
Bruce McLean reports, “It’s getting into a transitional period for vegetable production. Cool season crops are starting to be planted (in volume), and warm season crops, like squash, zucchini, okra and peas, are still being harvested in some good volume. Fumigation for strawberries is getting ready to get started. Blueberry propagation (green-tip, semi-hardwood cuttings) is going on. Fresh market muscadines are busy being harvested. Wine and juice varieties of muscadines are getting close to harvest. Carlos and Noble are really coloring quickly. Doreen is just starting to color. Testing for sugar content (Brix) will begin this week to identify the correct harvest date for wine and juice muscadines.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “Dry weather this last week was much needed after the significant rains from the week before. As many other areas across the state, armyworms reports and calls are coming in more and more each day. Stay vigilant with your scouting. As with many of our tree fruit and nut crops, the pecan harvest is looking to be pretty slim after the April 22nd cold event that affected many areas of the Upstate. Continue to monitor and treat for disease and insect populations so that next year the are not even more problematic. For bearing trees, now is the time to be monitoring and treating pecan weevil populations. Several specialists have also recommended monitoring and potentially treating non-bearing trees as well, if populations detected are high. While ideally, no pecans means the life-cycle for the pecan weevils would be incomplete, there are most likely enough pecans present in the tree to support some of the population. Check out the Pecan Management Guide for more information.”
Andy Rollins reports, “Bigred peaches are in the upstate and quality is amazing. Use of pheremone ties Isomate OFM to exclude males from being able to find mates has been a huge success for late season peach. Insecticides alone previous years even with adequate rotation did not prove successful. We have fall collard, broccoli and other brassicas being planted. Both hot and other peppers are being harvested in quantity despite excessive rains earlier in the year. Squash and zucchini production is slowing with only limited late season plantings. Nematode survey work is being done this week.”
Zack Snipes reports, “Its hot and humid in the Lowcountry. Fall tomato and watermelons are in the ground and enjoyed a week of mostly dry weather. Okra and sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes, are loving this heat. With the exception of those crops, there aren’t too many crops in the ground right now. I am seeing lots of summer cover crops. I love the idea of using a mixed species of cover crop. One reason is, it spreads out the risk that one of the species in the mix won’t germinate or will be eaten by deer. So by using multiple species, you can almost guarantee that something will be there covering the soil. Multi-species mixes also provide different benefits to the farm. Cowpeas may fix nitrogen while sorghum X Sudan hybrids may be a deer deterrent and shade out weeds.”
Justin Ballew reports, “Not much has changed here in the midlands over the last week. Its been warm and humid and we got a little rain a couple times throughout the week. Recently planted fall brassica and cucurbit crops have gotten off to a good start. We are seeing some caterpillar activity already. We are seeing increased amounts of scab in pecans this year, thanks to the rain and humid weather. I’m seeing some black pecan aphids causing damage as well. For insect and disease management in pecans, take a look at the UGA Commercial Pecan Spray Guide.”
Phillip Carnley reports, “It’s that time of year to be on the look out for Southern stem blight (Athelia rolfsii) in hemp. To avoid possible infections of this pathogen, avoid planting in fields that have previously had tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, or peanuts. Crop rotation is your best avenue for mitigation as there are no fungicides labeled for control of Southern blight in hemp at this time. Also be on the lookout for plant stunting from girdling roots. For information on chemicals labeled for hemp checkout the EPA website.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “Late summer season crops are still producing in the upstate, but many market producers are starting to lose the disease battle. When something is finished for the season, make sure to remove all parts of the crop. Do not leave diseased plant material in the field. Dispose of the diseased crop in an area far away from your fields or garden. Do not use diseased plant material for compost. Most home compost piles do not reach consistent and uniform temperatures at which pathogens will be killed. Dead plant material harbors insects and pathogens that can and will cause issues for fall season crops as well as next year’s crop.”
Gummy stem blight is more common and more severe on fall cucurbit crops than crops grown in the spring. The cooler weather and longer dew periods in the fall provide an ideal environment for the fungal pathogen to grow and spread. Gummy stem blight is most common on watermelon and may also be seen on cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin, and winter squash foliage. Butternut squash fruit are susceptible to black rot, the fruit rot phase.
All growers—conventional and organic—should follow two proven steps to eradicate (eliminate) the gummy stem blight fungus from infested fields.
Rotate away from all cucurbit crops for 2 years to allow time for the gummy stem blight fungus to die out in infested crop debris. The timeline starts when the first (diseased) crop is disked. It takes a full 24 months for 90% of the debris to decay under South Carolina weather conditions.
Promptly disk cucurbit crop debris after harvest to stop the spread of airborne ascospores from fruiting bodies that form on vines, stems, crowns, petioles, tendrils, and leaves. Burying crop debris helps it decay faster.
Four fungicides provide good control of gummy stem blight on watermelon, the most susceptible cucurbit grown in the fall: Miravis Prime (FRAC Codes 7 + 12), Switch (FRAC Codes 9 + 12), Inspire Super (FRAC Codes 3 + 9), and Luna Experience (FRAC Codes 7 + 3). Note that because these fungicides share active ingredients in FRAC groups 3, 7, 9, and 12, the only products that can be rotated with each other are Miravis Prime and Inspire Super. Another option is to rotate a generic formulation of tebuconazole (FRAC Code 3) with Miravis Prime or Switch. None of these fungicides controls downy mildew or anthracnose. See Watermelon Fungicide Guide for 2021 for a sample spray program for fall watermelon that covers all major foliar diseases.
Dr. Tony Keinath’s remarks on fungicide stewardship:
Growers who are applying newer fungicides that are pre-mixes of two active ingredients do not need to add another fungicide to the tank mix. Pre-mixes can easily be identified by the two FRAC Codes on the label in the top right corner. Please consider the following points:
Many newer fungicides are sold as pre-mixes to reduce the risks of fungicide resistance in fungal and water mold pathogens. Mixing two active ingredients often is a way to prevent or slow resistance development, as long as both active ingredients work against the same disease.
Sometimes two active ingredients are mixed to expand the range of diseases controlled. For example, Quadris Top controls both anthracnose (the Quadris part) and gummy stem blight (the “Top” part, which is Inspire).
Mixing more than 2 pesticides, whether they are 3 fungicides or 2 fungicides plus an insecticide, increases the risk of pesticide injury (burn). Risks may be greater if a spreader-sticker is added, or when air temperatures are above 90 F.
Adding another fungicide to a pre-mix fungicide increases fungicide costs, often without increasing disease control.
Growers should contact their Extension agent before adding another fungicide, even a protectant, to a pre-mix fungicide to be sure it’s really necessary.
Justin Ballew reports, “Not much has changed in the midlands over the last week. We’ve received some scattered rain and it has been warm and humid. As a result, we are still seeing disease issues. We’re still picking tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet corn, and a few greens. We’re at an in-between stage in several fields where the spring crops have been finished and folks are preparing to plant fall crops. Some have already started fall cucurbit plantings. For anyone planting strawberries this fall, if you are still deciding which varieties to try, take a look at the NCSU’s 2020/2021 variety comparison data (pages 9 and 10).
Bruce McLean reports, “Vegetable crops are looking pretty good across the Pee Dee. Fields that have received rain or are irrigated look very good. Fields that have missed the rain are a bit drought-stressed. Sweet corn, peas, butterbeans, tomatoes, squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, and cucumbers are all being harvested in good volume. Okra is just beginning to be harvested well. Growers are still fighting cucurbit downy mildew (CDM) on cucumbers. Fields that have been sprayed with fungicides for CDM (Orondis Opti, Gavel, Ranman, and Omega) are relatively clean and producing well. Fields that have not received those products are in severe decline. Cowpea curculio is still being a challenge. Some growers have asked about adding PBO8 (Piperonyl Butoxide) synergist to their insecticide application. Research has shown some efficacy, so it does help. But, it is not the silver bullet that everyone is looking for. There really is no alternative to having a robust spray program, spraying every three to five days starting prior to bloom.
Many varieties of blueberries have already finished up, with only mid-late and late rabbiteye blueberries going now. Blackberries have finished up, as well. Summer primocane tipping and floricane removal has begun. Be sure to apply a broad-based fungicide to all open wounds/pruning cuts to prevent disease development (I.e. cane blight, etc). Muscadines are sizing up pretty well. Grape root borer traps have been placed in vineyards, but no moths captured yet.
Kerrie Roach reports, “Things in the Upstate were a little wet the last few days and it looks like showers will continue into the middle part of the week at least. Continue preventative measures for disease control and if/when a plant seems too far involved, remove and dispose of the entire plant to prevent further spread. Squash vine borer has been one of the continued problems in market garden production in the last 2 weeks. At this late point in the season and lifecycle, monitor plants closely and as soon as frass is seen, carefully cut the stem longitudinally and remove/kill the larval stage of the borer. You can mound soil on the cut part of the stem to help encourage new root growth. If done early enough, plants can continue to thrive despite the slice in the stem. New plantings of cucurbits set out in the last week or so should mature after the adults have finished laying eggs, but monitor closely for any wilting. Crop rotation, row covers, traps (yellow bowl of water), and pesticide applications can also be used as a part of a good IPM program. Check out the crop handbook for more specifics.
Andy Rollins reports, “We are having thrips issues on 3 crops peaches, pepper and cucumber. Thrips as seen in the picture cause surface damage to the outside make it aesthetically less appealing and marketable. On pepper they damage the leaves and can transmit viruses to the plant (on cucumber also). They are much worse in greenhouse and high-tunnel settings. I have been recently concerned about presence of chili thrips and I am waiting on definite identification. This is a good website about this new pest. I also found a rare disease called foot rot of squash in the upstate. It was identified by Dr. Tony Keinath. Rotation is very important with all of our vegetable crops. We are picking some excellent quality peaches in the upstate. Cold damage has limited our wholesale picking.”
Join us this Wednesday (3/24/21) at 12:30 pm for a discussion on diamondback moth management in Brassica crops. It will be a relatively short meeting, lasting around 45 minutes, so tune in while you eat your lunch. Click here to register.
Zack Snipes reports, “We got some needed rain but we got a lot of it in a short amount of time. Winter peas and spring planted brassicas are looking good. Tomato and squash are in the ground on some farms but because of the cooler weather and soil temperatures, really haven’t taken off yet. I see a lot of brassica fields leftover from the fall. These fields are harboring all of our insects and diseases that we will have to fight this coming season. Mow these fields down and turn them under. Do not leave them. I am seeing lots and lots of diamondback moths and black rot in these leftover fields. Some more sad news this week from the Lowcounty as Mr. Adair McKoy, Sr. passed away this past week. Mr. McKoy was full of wisdom and had years and years of practical farming knowledge that he loved sharing with others. Never did I visit him when I didn’t learn something new. His love and care for the land was truly inspirational.”
Justin Ballew reports, “We had some cooler, wetter weather last week that slowed things down a bit in the fields. Several brassica fields that were planted in the fall and grew through the winter are right on the verge of bolting. If harvest is finished in these field, they need to be bush hogged and disked in as soon as possible to keep diamondback moths and any other caterpillars from breeding and making their way into spring planted fields. Strawberries are still coming along. There are lots of green fruit and a few are ripening here and there. I heard of the first few being picked in Lexington County last week. The weather conditions this week are going to be perfect again for Botrytis spore development, so don’t let up on spray programs.”
This will be the final update of 2020. We will pick back up on 1/4/21. Be sure to keep an eye on the upcoming events tab give us a call if you need anything. Happy Holidays from the SC Grower team! We hope everyone takes some time to enjoy the season, and may 2021 bring you good health, great family time, and as always…prosperous fields!
Zack Snipes reports, “A chilly week in the Lowcountry took out or really slowed down some of our fruiting crops like pepper, tomato, and cukes. The brassicas and strawberries are loving this weather. One thing I have noticed lately is lots of worm damage on brassica. After talking to many growers, I hear that many are not using adjuvants in their spray tanks. Adjuvants can help your pesticides work better. A common one I would recommend on brassica crops is the use of a spreader-sticker. Brassica crops have a waxy leaf which repels water. The use of a spreader-sticker will help stick the pesticide droplet to your leaf and the spreader will help reduce surface tension so that the droplets spreads out on your leaf. You will be amazed at how much better coverage you will get with a spreader-sticker and how much better your pesticide will work (organic or conventional pesticide). Adjuvants are cheap so consider adding some to your tank today. For more on adjuvants and spray tips, join us on Tuesday night from 6-8 pm for the Organic/Sustainable Farm Meeting via Zoom. The registration link can be found here.“
Justin Ballew reports, “We had two nights last week where temperatures dipped below freezing. After a long fall growing season, the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash are done. Now growers will be focusing on strawberries, greens, and herbs. Strawberries in some fields had developed blooms as a result of the late warm weather. Now that the cold has killed them, it will be important to sanitize them before the spring, as dead blooms can become a significant source of grey mold inoculum. As always, don’t let up on scouting for caterpillars in greens.”
Sarah Scott reports, “Brassicas are being harvested. Pest pressure is relatively high this season including aphids and diamondback months. Peach fields are being prepped for new plantings. In areas where armillaria root rot has been an issue in past crops, growers will use a plow to create burms to plant trees on. Rain has slowed plowing down but there is a dry forecast for the next 7 days.”
Pestalotia leaf spot and fruit rot are emerging diseases that were discovered last season on strawberries in the southeast. This could potentially have an impact on SC strawberry production, though the extent is yet to be determined. Please see these two publications (UF and UGA) and be on the lookout. If you suspect you’ve found Pestalotia leaf spot or fruit rot, please let your local Clemson Extension Agent know.
Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberries are planted and for the most part looking good. I am seeing some spider mite damage on plug plants. Get out and scout and treat as needed. In some areas we had 4 or more inches of rain last week which made fields sloppy, unable to be harvested, and tough to spray. Get out and look for worms in brassica this week.”
Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was warm and wet, as expected. We had a good amount of rain Tuesday evening and Wednesday. I expect to see foliar diseases increase this week. Pecan harvest continues in the midlands. While yields have been very good, nut quality isn’t quite where we want it. This is most likely from the trees not getting enough water at certain times during the summer when the nuts were filling. The weather is forecast to get cool this week. It there should happen to be a frost, that would be the end of the fall squash and tomato crops.”
Tony Melton reports, “We have seen some flea beetles/larvae feeding on strawberry transplants and yellow-margined leaf beetle has been bad on brassicas. Some crops have been drowned by the rain. Harvest or row-cover warm season vegetables before the frost to avoid damage. Harvesting the last of the butterbeans and peas this week. A lot (500 or more acres) of sweet potatoes are still in the ground and harvest will begin again after the soil dries.”
Andy Rollins reports, “Still inspecting strawberry plantings across the upstate. Look for uneven growth on either side of the bed and also in the row. Placement of drip tape depth and distance from plants is very important as is proper planting. Uneven up and down growth can be indication of root rot or other problems too, so look carefully. Unusually wet weather from recent hurricanes has given us conditions very favorable for fungal Botrytis growth. Dead tissue is very susceptible to being colonized first. Use of Captan, a protectant fungicide would be advised as long as conditions remain favorable.”
Zack Snipes reports, “It seems like we experience fall and summer in the same day this time of year. I visited a few farms and saw residual damage from whiteflies (silver leaves, virus, and stunted plants). The good news is that overall populations of whiteflies are down this week. The armyworm numbers are still high in a lot of crops so keep an eye out for those. We have lots of good products for them so choose something other than a group 3 or 4 insecticide. I have seen some white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) in some brassica crops this week. I have some great reports from strawberry fields and other not so great reports. If you have issues, please call me so we can fix them before they get out of hand.
Justin Ballew reports, “We had some very warm afternoons this past week. The air has been much drier as well. Young strawberries are responding well and have put out a good amount of new growth. Weak plants caused by J-rooting and deep planting are making themselves evident now. The drier air has allowed some growers to get a handle on the disease issues that have plagued us for the last few weeks. However, there is lots of warm, wet weather in the forecast, so plan your fungicide applications accordingly and rotate modes of action. Other crops are still growing well and we have folks picking tomatoes, squash, beans, and various brassicas.
Sarah Scott reports, “Patchy frost brought an end to some fields of summer crops like squash and zucchini, however most areas did not see damage from cold temps. Cole crops are progressing nicely but insect populations are high this fall, including aphids and imported cabbage worms. Strawberry plants have gone in and are taking root and getting established.”
Tony Melton reports, “Getting dry. Hope get some rain later in the week. Greens are growing very fast with warm weather. Frost burned the very tops of some crops like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peas but did not really hurt them much. Very little grasshopper pressure for some reason this fall.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”