Field Update – 7/27/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “It has been a hot week in the Lowcountry. Most spring and summer crops have finished up. Ground is being prepared and planted for fall crops. I have received a few texts from growers that have yellow dots on their zucchini plants, which is downy mildew. Even in this heat downy can still be an issue. I have also had some reports of green-colored squash in fields which is an indication of a viral pathogen. The crop handbook has recommendations for cultivars that are resistant to these viruses that cause this discoloring. Fall is notoriously bad for cucurbit viruses so plan accordingly.  I have also seen some flea beetle damage on crops as of late.”

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Downy mildew looks a little different on zucchini and pumpkin than it does on cukes. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Flea beetle feeding damage on blackberry foliage. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s been hot in the midlands and we’ve gotten to the point where there isn’t much relief at night. We had some scattered rain throughout the week, but overall we’re still quite dry. Lots of land is still being prepped for fall crops. We’ve had some fall brassicas and cucurbits planted already and they’re looking good so far. Last week I got to watch a pecan grower in Lexington thin some pecan trees. Without thinning, he would have seen a massive yield this year, which would result in a significantly diminished yield next year. Pecan growers aim for nuts on just 70% of the terminal buds.”

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Fall squash seedlings just beginning to emerge. Photo from Justin Ballew

Thinning pecans with a mechanical shaker. You can see the nuts fall as the tree vibrates.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Pickles are still being harvested and planted. We still have hundreds of thousands of bushels in contract to be planted and harvested.  Peas for processing are being rapidly harvested and replanted, some seed is short.  Sweet potatoes are starting to swell and size.  Processing peppers are being harvested but we have a shortage of labor and multi-millions of lbs. left to harvest.  Processing tomatoes will be finished harvest this coming week.  Spring planted fresh market butterbeans and peas are mostly harvested but seed is short to plant the fall crop. Still have some flooded fields and drowned crop.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Spotty rain across the county again last week has led to continued issues for growers without irrigation. Fall planting for vegetables is in full force. Peaches are looking good, and apples are coming along. Most growers will be putting on a fungicide cover spray this week before significant rains are forecasted.”

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Reverted apple rootstock (believed to be M7) volunteer tree with aborted fruitlet. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Andy Rollins reports, “Bacterial speck and bacterial spot of tomato are major problems in plum tomato varieties in the upstate right now.  They were not able to control this disease even with a vigorous spray program using mancozeb + copper on several farms.  In nearby plantings of large fruit varieties, the disease is present but not a problem.  Samples have been sent to researchers at Auburn University where the have confirmed the presence of copper resistant isolates from other farms.  Call on your extension agent for assistance with identifying and controlling this problem.”

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Bacterial speck on a tomato leaf from the upstate. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 7/20/20

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “It is always good to control goosegrass even if it is past the critical period for competition with the crop. Lack of late-season control made hand-harvesting tomatoes difficult in the field pictured below. Also, there will be a huge deposit of goosegrass seeds into the soil seed bank for next year unless the seeds are destroyed after the harvest.”

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Late season goosegrass growth can make harvest difficult and contribute lots of seed to the seed bank, which will have to be dealt with in future crops. Photo from Dr. Matt Cutulle.

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “We experienced a nice hot week of weather in the Lowcountry.  Most crops are finishing up with the heat and recent rains.  On later season tomato I have seen bacterial leaf spot on the fruit which makes fruit unmarketable.  I am seeing this on the second cluster of fruit set and not on the first or third clusters.  Hemp seems to be off to the races and looking pretty good so far.  There are within every hemp field occasional wilted, stunted, and yellowed plants.  These plants always have a weak root system and most of the time have girdling and interveinal discoloration.  Peppers and eggplants are loving this heat and are producing in high volumes.”

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Bacterial leaf spot showing up on the second set of fruit on the tomato plant. Photo from Zack Snipes. 

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Wilting of hemp is very common and often sporadic throughout fields. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was hot and mostly dry, though we did have some scattered thunderstorms come through over the weekend. Field prep for fall crops continues. We’ve had some fall tomatoes, peppers, and brassicas transplanted already and more to come this week. Everything is growing pretty fast right now and we’re still picking spring crops. Keep an eye out for spider mites, as they love the hot, dry weather we’ve had lately.”

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Fall tomatoes transplanted in Lexington this past week. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “We are still ahead of schedule on peach varieties being harvested.  Early August Prince and August Prince are being picked now which is over a week earlier than usual. The fruit quality is still good with slightly smaller than ideal fruit.  With the extreme heat and lack of rain in the past week, summer crops like tomatoes and cucumbers are looking rough. Bell peppers are doing well.”

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An Edgefield County grower assessing his Early August Prince orchard. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Sweet potatoes are looking good. Establishment seems to be very good for the most part. Long green cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, peas, okra, and sweet corn are harvesting well. Condition is good to very good. Sweet corn will be wrapping up shortly. Blueberries are pretty much finished, with only a few remaining fruit on Powderblue. Fruit condtion is fair to good. Muscadines are coming along nicely and appear to have an excellent crop. Fresh muscadines should be beginning harvest soon, with wine/juice grapes still a few weeks from harvest. Be on the lookout for Grape root borer moths. They are starting to emerge. They were being caught in traps placed in vineyards in Marion and Horry counties.

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Grape root borer moths being caught in a bucket-style trap. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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No, this is not a paper wasp. It is a grape root borer moth. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Harvested first crop of processing peppers. Continuing to pick and plant pickles. Processing greens are over for the spring crop. Harvesting the first crop of processing and seed peas and planting fall crop.  Getting processing tomatoes out of the field as quickly as the plant can take them.  Things are drying out, hope we don’t go into drought with the heat.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Spotty rain and high temperatures have left many small growers scrambling for irrigation options throughout the Upstate. Peaches and nectarines are still being harvested. Blueberries are just about finished, and farmers’ market produce is starting to wind down with the heat. Apples should begin next week with early varieties like ‘Ginger Gold’  and ‘Golden Supreme’.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Plenty of early blight, bacterial spot/speck on tomatoes this season, but some of the more troublesome problems have been various tomato virus problems. When diagnosing virus problems it is important to get lab verification because herbicide injury can look very similar when just going by visual symptoms. If you suspect herbicide drift from a neighboring farm. Look for damage to other broadleaf plants in the area in between the suspected source and the damaged plants. Follow the wind direction.  You should have more severe damage on the leading edge. Also, herbicide residual from a previous crop like sunflowers can also give you herbicide damage that you did to yourself. Read and follow all pesticide label directions. There are plant back restrictions on some herbicides so be careful. If this is the case the damage should be fairly consistent/uniform throughout the area that was planted in the other crop.

Unlike both of these other situations, virus problems may come from your seed source, the greenhouse where plants were grown, or from weeds in the field. Pokeweed is commonly a source, as are many other broadleaf weeds. Thrips, aphids, and whiteflies are all known to vector viruses into plants. Symptoms are what you see below with “shoestring” looking leaves, leaves with distorted veins, and mosaic yellow and green coloration. There are many viruses that infect plants. Each of them can show different symptoms and also they can each look different on other plants as well. It’s even possible for a healthy-looking plant with no symptoms to be infected with several viruses.”

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“Shoestring” type leaf distortion may be a symptom of a virus or herbicide damage. Get confirmation from the plant disease lab. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Field Update – 10/14/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “A new technical bulletin published online by Clemson University’s Land-Grant Press will help watermelon growers choose tactics to manage Fusarium  wilt. Options include partially resistant varieties, delaying transplanting until soil has warmed, grafting, applying fungicides at transplanting, and winter cover cropping with vetch.  See: Keinath AP. Integrated Management for Fusarium Wilt of Watermelon. Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension. 2019; LGP 1022.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberries are going in or will be going in very shortly here in the Lowcountry.  I want to remind everyone how important it is that deer fencing is put up.  Ideally the fencing should be put up BEFORE the strawberries go in the ground.  I see hundreds of plants each year destroyed by deer.  Assuming the value of that plant is around $3 (1.5 lbs berries per plant and $2 lb), it doesn’t take losing a lot of plants to really feel the financial loss. Please read an article I wrote about setting up and maintaining an inexpensive deer fence here.

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Deer feeding damage can cause significant yield loses to strawberries.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather felt more like fall this past week, but still no significant rain.  The very first strawberries have been planted in the midlands with a lot more planting expected this week.  The first plants were set just before the weather cooled down and the heat really took a toll on them.  95 degrees just isn’t good for strawberry transplants.  The current weather should be much more favorable for planting.  Be sure to set plants at the proper depth and overhead water transplants adequately.  Take a look at this Strawberry Growers Checklist for some good tips for fall strawberry management.”

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The 95 degree heat really took a toll on these strawberry plugs.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Field Update – 10/7/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Growers who have “slacked off” on fungicide applications during the dry spell should resume biweekly or weekly fungicide sprays in areas that are or have received rain. For most fungal diseases, the amount of rain determines how severe the disease becomes. The more rain, the more fungicide sprays are needed. Note that many fungicide labels now state that the product may only be applied once every 7 days; 5-day spray schedules are going away.

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Another hot and dry week in the Lowcountry. Non irrigated crops are really starting to suffer.  Many farms are waiting on rain to plant fall crops.  We are beginning to prepare for strawberry season but dry conditions are making it hard to lay plastic. Festivals, corn mazes, pumpkins, and haunted trails are in full gear in the Lowcountry.”

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Sunflowers can add extra income to the farm during the summer and fall seasons. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was hot, but temperatures finally dropped over the weekend. It finally feels like fall.  Dry weather remains, though.  A few areas got some light showers, but it didn’t amount to much.  Growers have laid their plastic for strawberries and planting is approaching quickly.  Caterpillars are still very active in brassica crops and we are seeing some whiteflies as well.  Keep scouting and stay on top of the insects.”

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Plastic laid for strawberries. Planting will start soon. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Whiteflies are showing up on brassica crops in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had spotty rain throughout the Ridge but conditions are still very dry. Cooler night temperatures are bringing some relief. Field preparation for new peach tree plantings are underway including soil fumigation.  With the recent discovery of the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne floridensis, in fields in Edgefield County, growers can request a PCR test if nematode samples test positive for root knot nematodes.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Phytophthora blight on bell peppers has been found in Clarendon and Orangeburg County. Phytophthora blight on peppers is extremely damaging and can result in total loss of the crop prior to the first harvest. Proper fungicide applications and resistant cultivars can be used to suppress this disease. Sweet potatoes are being harvested, as well as eggplants. White-fly populations have been found in broccoli and mustard.

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Phytophthora blight on pepper. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Field Update – 9/30/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It has been very dry here in the Lowcountry.  Our dry land crops are struggling and even irrigated crops are in need of more water.  I found a good number of melonworms this week in cucumber so keep an eye out if you have any cucurbits planted.  I scouted many collard and cabbage fields this past week and found very few caterpillars.  I saw a few isolated areas of harlequin bug damage so scout regularly to stay on top of those.  Our cowpeas are filling out pods right now and unfortunately I found some cowpea curculio in some of the peas.  The good news is that with our dry weather there are very few diseases right now.”

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Worms feeding on cucumber leaves. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Cowpea curculio grub that was inside of a pea pod. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “No changes in the weather from last week. It’s still hot and very dry. Growers are working on bedding fields in preparation for strawberry planting, though it’s difficult to form beds without any soil moisture. Hemp is budding nicely and harvest will probably start in another couple weeks. Caterpillars are still building in a number of crops. We’re seeing diamond back moth, cabbage loopers, and corn earworms mainly.”

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Field being prepped for strawberries. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Hemp buds that will be harvested for CBD extraction. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We continue to have hot, dry conditions with rainfall in scattered areas. Bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, sweet potatoes and eggplant being harvested. Hot, sunny conditions cause some sun scald on bell peppers (photo). Peach growers are still keeping an eye out for San Jose scale. Although many growers do not do a post-harvest spray, scale are still active and if a grower has a particularly high population or an area where scale was bad this season, apply a summer oil, diluted dormant oil or a light oil like TriTek which could reduce populations for next year. Growers should be mindful that a full rate dormant spray may defoliate the trees, so scale down.”

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Sun scald on pepper. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry plugs are going through extreme transplant shock due to excessive dry heat.  Smaller sized plugs are more susceptible even in well watered fields.  Early morning overhead waterings of 30 min to 1 hour are recommended to help during first week to two weeks.  Other problems are being investigated, but are unlikely the main problem on these farms.”

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Newly transplanted strawberry plug experiencing transplant shock.  Photo from Andy Rollins.

 

 

Field Update – 9/23/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler days and nights have really helped out our crops as of late.  Fall planted brassicas are taking off and looking good.  Fall watermelons are being harvested this week and look good overall. I have seen more cucumber beetle damage on the rind of watermelons lately.  While there is nothing wrong with these melons, this damage can impact the marketability of melons.”

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Adult striped cucumber beetle causing damage to the rind of watermelon. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has been nice and cool, but it is real dry. We’re still picking squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, and planting brassicas. Caterpillar numbers are building in brassicas.”

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Fall cucumbers planted behind tomatoes so they can utilize the existing trellis. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sara Scott reports, “We are harvesting zucchini,  squash,  cherry tomatoes and beginning bell pepper harvest. Conditions remain dry with little to no measurable rainfall.”

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Cabbage looper on a broccoli plant. Caterpillar populations seem to be high for the fall season. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Eggplant with symptoms resembling Cercospora leaf spot were found in Clarendon and Orangeburg county. A calendar-based protectant fungicide spray program combined with cultural practices can help reduce losses from Cercospora Leaf Spot. Cabbage whiteflies were also found in broccoli fields. Preventative application of insecticides to manage whiteflies is the best tactical management option. Refer to the vegetable handbook for recommendations.”

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Cercospora leaf spot on eggplant foliage. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Nighttime temperatures are finally indicating that fall might be on it’s way despite continued daytime highs in the 90’s. Currently listed in moderate drought with no rain in the extended forecast, the upstate is literally baking. The apple crop as a whole looks good, but red varieties are not coloring because of the heat, picking is about two weeks ahead of schedule, and with the lack of rainfall, moisture content is very low.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Muscadines are continuing to sell well in the upstate and are very high sugar compared to normal.  We are finishing with ‘Fry’ but still have ‘Supreme’ and ‘GrannyVal’ being harvested.  The crop will finish sooner this year because of higher than normal temperatures this month.  So if you wantem’ you better gettem’ because they’ll be gone soon.”

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Fresh muscadines ready to sell. Photo from Andy Rollins.

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 – 7/1/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Everyone is busy in the Low country harvesting summer crops.  This should be a big week for us in the field and at local markets and roadside stands as July 4 approaches.  The tomato crop is either finished or finishing up this week.”

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A variety of tomatoes from the coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s getting hot here in the midlands and it’s getting dry too.  Harvest is still going strong on a number of crops.  We have a reduced blueberry crop because of the hot, dry weather back in May, but picking is going on now. Lots of hemp has been planted in the last two weeks and is growing well.”

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Hemp going in the ground in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “We are picking several summer varieties of peaches along the Ridge, many varieties coming in early. Freestone peaches are beginning to ripen and become available. A second population of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs is near its peak based on high numbers found in traps across the Ridge. Be on the lookout for egg masses, generally in groups of 28 eggs. (picture) BMSB damage from earlier populations causes distortion as fruit ripens. Damage goes beyond skin into flesh.

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Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) eggs. Photos from Sarah Scott.

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BMSB damage within the peach flesh. Photo Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Harvest for many vegetable crops are rolling right along. Watermelons and cantaloupes are starting to see some volume.  Early season rabbiteye blueberries are starting to wrap up. Mid and late season rabbiteyes are looking good. Heat and dry weather is starting to have an impact on crops, even those with irrigation. Growers are adjusting irrigation schedules to compensate for the increased heat and the lack of rain.”

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Rabbiteye blueberries looking good. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Zucchini wilting in the heat. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Downy Mildew is showing up in later planted cantaloupes, cucumbers, and squash.  First planting of cantaloupes and watermelons are winding down.  Processing peas are drying and will be terminated soon for harvest.  Butterbeans that reset pods after heat at the beginning of June will begin harvest this week.  Sweet potato planting is winding down many of the first planted are laid-by.  Pepper and eggplant harvest has begun.”

Field Update – 5/28/19

Statewide

Dr. Tony Keinath reports, “Downy mildew has moved into south Georgia on cucumber and watermelon. Growers should have downy mildew fungicides on hand and be ready to spray cucumber, cantaloupe, and watermelon when rain starts in the lower half of the state. A preventative spray of mancozeb or chlorothalonil would be a good idea in the meantime. You can keep track of the spread of downy mildew here.

Despite the dry weather, anthracnose was found on watermelon in the Bamberg/Barnwell County area last week. All watermelons in the state should be sprayed with mancozeb as a preventative.”

Anthracnose lesions on watermelon leaf. Photo from Dr. Tony Keinath

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It has been unusually hot for the month of May.  The current heat wave coupled with the lack of rain is really starting to have an impact on crops, even irrigated crops.  The tomato and melon crops look good but are starting to feel the intense heat and lack of rain.  I have seen very little disease and insect pressure on all crops.

Irrigated watermelons are looking great on the Coast. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Irrigated peppers wilting in the heat of the day. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “This past week was hot and dry. It felt more like July than May. It’s been over two weeks now since we’ve had any rain and irrigation systems are running a lot. In larger fields with overhead irrigation, we are seeing some wilting where the pivots aren’t getting around fast enough. Drip irrigated crops are looking good. Silks are starting to brown on the earliest planted sweet corn. Blackberry picking will begin soon and muscadines have begun blooming.

Collards wilting in between watering. Photo from Justin Ballew
Silks are turning brown on earliest planted sweet corn. Photo from Justin Ballew