Here is a great segment that aired on SC Public Radio this past week. It features upstate Clemson Extension Agent Andy Rollins discussing the SC peach crop and how to pick out the perfect peach. Check it out at the link below.
Statewide: Dr. Guido Schnabel reports, “Green fruit rot is starting to show up in commercial peach orchards. This disease is caused by the fungus Monilinia fructicola. In spring we had an extended period of bloom with lots of rain. That led to blossom blight caused by the same fungal pathogen. Growers must take this disease very seriously as it can cause significant preharvest and postharvest fruit rot. Many take advantage of our lab service to determine potential weaknesses in fungicide spray programs. For more information contact your local county agent or Dr. Schnabel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Coast: Zack Snipes reports, “We have had nice warm weather that is helping the development of irrigated crops. We are starting to get dry and could use some rain for dry land crops and to settle dust. We are in the middle of squash and cucumber harvest. We are starting to see powdery mildew show up on cucurbit crops. The tomato crop looks promising this year despite the usual bacterial wilt common in fields. To test for bacterial wilt, select a wilting plant, cut it through the stem, and put into a jar of water. If the pathogen responsible for bacterial wilt is present (Ralstonia solanacearum), you will get what’s known as bacterial streaming which is a milky white stream coming from the cut end of the plant.
Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “The weather this past week was pretty mild, but dry. Thrips have become a problem in strawberries in some areas, but we are so close to the end of picking that most growers would not benefit from a treatment. Production has really decreased and some growers have already begun redirecting picking labor to other crops. Spring planted squash and peppers are starting to come into production and everything is looking pretty good. Keep an eye out for spider mites on tomatoes as it gets hot and stays dry this week.
Sarah Scott reports, “We have begun picking early varieties of peaches across the Ridge. Things are looking good for a nice crop this year. Green fruit rot (Monilinia fructicola), also known as brown rot, has shown up in a few spots around the Ridge. We are continuing to monitor stink bug populations in orchards. Traps have shown high numbers of insects but damage has been scattered in this area.
Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Another great week of weather has things right on track. For the most part we are finished with strawberries and have maybe one more cutting of broccoli left in the field. We are in the middle of squash and zucchini harvest. The tomato crop looks great as plants have small green fruit with little to no disease. The blackberry crop is loading up. Diamondback moths continue to be an issue on late planted greens. Watch out for spider mites on tomato, melon, and blackberry crops this week.”
Midlands: Justin Ballew reports,”We had great weather last week. A storm came through Saturday evening and brought around an inch of rain. Strawberries are decreasing in size and we probably only have a couple weeks of harvest left. Once again, the rain caused a lot of damage to developing fruit. First planted sweet corn is now tasseling and is looking great. Tomatoes are blooming and fruit is starting to develop. Most other crops are doing well.”
Upstate: Kerrie Roach reports,”Things are coming along well in the Upstate with market producers just starting to see the beginning fruits of their labor. We should be ready to roll into farmers markets for Memorial Day weekend! Peach growers are finishing up hand thinning. Overall, they are a few weeks out still and have about 40% overall loss on some varieties from freeze damage. Early apple varieties such as the goldens and galas are showing about 25% loss, but later varieties like Mutsu, Pink Lady, and Arkansas Black look to be a full crop load!
Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Beautiful sunny weather has really pushed our spring crops this week. We received some spotty thunderstorms this weekend that will help dryland crops as well as settle some dust. We are approaching the end of strawberry season as berries are getting smaller. Be sure to keep plants clean these next few weeks as berries develop quicker. When berries develop quicker it is harder to keep them picked thus allowing pests such as spotted wing drosophila and botrytis to settle in. We are seeing beautiful tomato, eggplant, and cucurbit crops growing off throughout the region. We began squash and zucchini harvest this past week and are in the middle of highbush blueberry harvest.”
Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “It was very sunny and warm last week. Storms came in Saturday afternoon and brought around 1.5 inches of rain. This was good for just about everything except for the strawberries. We are seeing a ton of water damage on berries now and grey mold has also picked up. Spider mite populations were building last week as well, so keep scouting for those. Spring and summer crops are looking great and growing fast. Stringing has started in tomatoes, heading brassicas are developing well, and leafy brassicas are being harvested daily.
Sarah Scott reports peach picking in the Ridge will begin this week with early varieties. “The season is on track for 2019 with a good crop load of early variety peaches. Bacteriosis is visible on some peaches once color begins to develop. Copper applications are critical to maintain best fruit quality. Refer to the 2019 Peach and Nectarine and Plum Pest Management and Culture Guide for recommendations.
Upstate: Kerrie Roach reports, “It’s been a great week for growers in the Upstate. Peaches are coming along nicely and apples are not far behind at about thumb size. Spring vegetables are in the ground with many producers projected to start picking squash in just a week or two. Farmers Markets have slowly started opening with mainly cool season crops. We are hoping for another great week of growing weather!”
Dr. Guido Schnabel: Peach season has officially started and it is not even May yet!!!. This Florida variety was picked today (4/30) near Ridge Spring, SC. I tasted it and it actually was a pretty good peach for an early variety.
Statewide: Dr. Tony Keinath reports finding powdery mildew on Hale’s Best Jumbo cantaloupe in Charleston last week. “Anyone growing heirloom varieties of cucurbits should spray for powdery mildew, because open-pollinated varieties do not have the resistance found in hybrid varieties. All cucurbit growers should be on the lookout for powdery mildew starting now and be ready to spray when it shows up on their farms.”
Dr. Guido Schnabel reports, “2019 promises to be a great peach season despite the one late freeze we had late March. Still, some remnants of this late freeze can still be observed on many cultivars. They include peach buttons next to well developing fruit. The embryo of those button peaches are often damaged. These buttons will soon fall off the tree. Most cultivars do have enough normal fruit, however, for a full or nearly full crop.”
Coastal: Zack Snipes reports, “Beautiful weather last week really helped the progress of spring crops like tomato, pepper, and squash. We should be harvesting the first flush of squash this week. Spring onions, broccoli, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, and greens are continuing to be harvested. Have seen some major issues with the diamond back moth this spring on greens.”
Midlands: Justin Ballew reports, “Strawberry harvest has picked up this week and disease is very low since the weather has been dry. Spring and Summer crops are growing fast. A few spidermites have been seen and could increase quickly if it stays dry. Keep an eye out for those.”
Sarah Scott reports finding high numbers of brown marmorated stink bugs in traps along the Ridge. “While scouting the orchards I saw a few peaches that had some stink bug damage as well. Not wide spread but it is showing up so be mindful when you’re scouting in the coming week.”
Upstate: Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry production is finally in full swing after a very delayed start to our year. Early picking resulted in some knotty fruit but fruit quality and flavor are excellent now across all of the upstate. Slug problems show up when we have high moisture conditions as in the below picture from a neighboring state. Deadline pellets are a very effective control should they show up here, but caution is needed to keep the pellets from directly contacting fruit when applying.”