Zack Snipes reports, “We had a heavy downpour of rain last week surpassing 2.5 inches in some spots. I am seeing downy mildew in cucumbers and lots of gummy stem blight in winter squash and pumpkins. The worm pressure has lessened in the past few weeks. I am seeing lots and lots of black rot in transplanted brassicas. Inspect your plants before planting them to make sure the disease is not coming from the nursery. Once a brassica is planted in the field, there is not much we can do to slow the spread except hope that environmental conditions (rain, humidity) are not conducive to spread the disease. I am also seeing lots of early weed pressure in fall planted crops on both bare-ground and plastic. We have some very good herbicide options to apply preplant. Once you plant the crop, we have very few herbicides that can be used over the top of the crop. Right now is the time to get down strawberry herbicides before the season starts. As the old proverb goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Justin Ballew reports, “We received about an inch of rain (at my house), which we really needed. The temperatures over the last week have been very mild and it has started to feel like fall. Fall crops are doing well. We’re still planting brassicas and keeping an eye on caterpillars. Muscadines are being harvested now. Growers are reporting good fruit quality, but lower yields than last year. This is most likely due to the late cold weather that affected muscadine growers across the state. On pecans, black aphid populations and scab incidence are both high. It appears both of these pests are going to significantly reduce yield on sensitive varieties if growers didn’t stay on top of sprays.”
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.”
If you haven’t already filled out the Clemson Agribusiness Team’s COVID-19 Ag Impacts Survey, please take a minute to do so now. Click the graphic below or scan the QR code with your iPhone to access the survey. If you have any questions about the survey or the results, please reach out to Kevin Burkett, Kburke5@clemson.edu, 540-239-4602.
Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops in the area are developing well with good fruit set. I am seeing a little gray mold around, so sanitation is going to be key as well as fungicide applications. There are also a few thrips in some crops, so scouting for these pests will be very important. Peaches and blueberries are blooming with little evidence of any chill injury from last weeks overnight lows in the upper 20’s. Asparagus crops are beginning to come to market with some chill affected spears early last week. With the dry weather conditions, field work and land prep is going well with plastic being laid for melon crops.”
Zack Snipes reports, “Great week of weather in the Lowcountry which has really improved the way things are looking. Greens, lettuces, root crops, and strawberries are looking good. The strawberries are absolutely loaded up with blossoms right now and are still putting on crowns. Fall planted cover crops are finishing up and being turned under. A bit of sad news this week as Author “Ikee” Freeman passed away. Ikee was a huge supporter of Clemson Extension and the farming traditions in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. His friendship, mentorship, leadership, and sense of humor will be missed by many.”
Justin Ballew reports, “We had another beautiful week of weather last week that really pushed plants along. Strawberries have a ton of blooms on them now. The weather has been pretty dry the last two weeks, but with a few days of rain in the forecast for this week, now would be a good time to throw one of the site specific fungicides into your fungicide rotation. Temperatures are still in the perfect range for Botrytis spore development (60-70 degrees F) and with moisture returning, we could see a lot of Botrytis in the next week or two.
Sarah Scott reports, “Last week’s warm temperatures have pushed peaches into bloom. There was a significant increase in open buds from the beginning to end of the week. Early varieties are near 90% bloom. Temperatures look like they will level out in the next 7 days which is good as temperatures that are way above normal can lead to developmental damage for fruit set. Some pruning is still underway, as well as bloom sprays for blossom blight using products like Captan or chlorothalonil.”
Andy Rollins reports, “So far peach season is off to great start. We got all of our chill hours in and are between pink and 5% blooms on all large scale varieties, with a few oddballs further along. Plum growers are even further along and many are preparing for bloom fungicide applications with primarily Bravo (Chlorothalonil). I will be repeating last years testing of new biological, Ecoswing, in bloom this week compared with Bravo. Strawberry production is progressing nicely. This week looks good as far as frost but things change quickly, so all growers will be intimately aware of every weather change at this point. I was very happy to help with a new 10 acre pecan orchard planted last week. It encouraged me because several local growers, University of Georgia specialist, a retired NRCS conservationist, and myself all worked together to help a widow in need. Her planning and execution was impeccable and diligent.”
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, “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.”
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.”
Downy mildew looks a little different on zucchini and pumpkin than it does on cukes. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Flea beetle feeding damage on blackberry foliage. Photo from Zack Snipes.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Bacterial speck on a tomato leaf from the upstate. Photo from Andy Rollins.
Zack Snipes reports, “Things are looking good in the Lowcountry. We are harvesting lots of produce right now just in time for the holidays. I have seen some cold damage on some brassicas but other than that very few issues to report.”
Freshly harvested tumeric. Photo from Zack Snipes
Cold damage on brassica. Photo from Zack Snipes
Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has been pretty mild over the last week and we have had some rains. We’re picking some really good looking collards and kale right now. Caterpillar populations remain low in most places, though there are some hot spots around. Lots of folks have been asking about necrotic lower leaves on brassicas that have appeared since the temperature dipped into the 20’s the week before last. In most cases this is only cold damage. We can see some secondary fungal development on the damaged tissue, but its not really concerning. Just pick those leaves off, the new growth will be fine.
Lower collard leaf damaged by the cold. New growth will be unaffected. Photo from Justin Ballew
Sarah Scott reports, “Peach fields are being prepped for new plantings. A levee plow is used to create berms to plant the trees on top of. Growers have adapted this technique to increase tree life due to soil borne disease issues.”
Planting peach trees on a berm reduces the risk of soil borne diseases. Photo from Sarah Scott
Pee Dee Region
Tony Melton reports, “Still digging processing sweet potatoes even though tops are dead. A good portion of fresh market collards were sold over weekend. All processing turnips, mustard, and collards have been harvested at least once and some twice. For a summary of vegetable research conducted at the Pee Dee Rec in 2019, see this PDF: 2019 PDREC Farm Research19.”
Mark Arena reports seeing some premature pecan germination. “We can see this when the trees do not receive enough water to complete shuck splitting and the nuts remain lodged in the husk for an extended period. Combine this with warm late season temperatures after nut ripening is complete and the addition of rainwater accumulating in the shuck, which provides ample moisture to innate rooting. Affected nuts are considered inedible. Proper irrigation and shaking the trees in the easiest remedy for this condition.”
Premature pecan germination. Photo from Mark Arena