Weekly Field Update – 5/3/21

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Botrytis (gray mold) is evident in places following rainfall. Sanitation and removal of the infected berries are critical to reducing inoculum loading. Fungicide applications will also be required to prevent spore germination and further spread of the disease. Where spider mite treatments have been applied, they have effectively reduced the populations but will still require scouting and monitoring.  Yields achieved are very good. Cucurbit crops continue to develop well with a low incidence of chill injury from the cooler temperatures observed on April 21/22. Crops are running well, with some flowering being observed. Cucumber beetles are being monitored, and a few aphids are present in places. Cucumber beetles observed are currently below the threshold of 5 beetles per plant. Squash bugs are also being found on some sites. Careful monitoring will be required because numbers can increase rapidly. Crops are free from disease; however, protectant fungicides are still a critical input. Blueberries are swelling well and beginning to blush.  Blackberries are flowering with excellent fruit set and bud formation. Spider mites have been evident in these crops too; however miticide applications are proving very effective.

Squash bugs are showing up in the coastal region. Photo from Rob Last.

Zack Snipes reports, “We had another nice week of weather in the Lowcountry. We are starting to dry out again so some rain would be nice. All of our crops look really great right now with no huge issues. The biggest issue I see right now is spider mites on all crops which makes sense with the warm dry weather. I’ve gotten a few calls about some strawberry plants putting out runners. We need to get in the fields and pinch those off while we are cleaning up dead berries, blossoms, and tissue. I have been in several vegetable fields lately and seen some inconsistencies in plant growth and vigor. Upon further inspection of some tomato and squash crops, I found galling on the roots which is an indicator of root-knot nematodes. If this is the case on your farm, pull up a few plants and look at the roots. We need to keep good notes on where these areas or fields are and practice good crop rotation for next season or use resistant cultivars. There are some cover crops that help with suppression as well. If you want to pull a soil sample to check for nematodes, give your local agent a call. We are doing a statewide survey looking for the guava root-knot nematode and can assist with sampling. In case you missed the “Update from the Tomato Fields” talk last Wednesday, here is the link.

Smaller squash plants in a large field made me question root-knot nematode damage.  Upon inspection of the roots, I found galling which is an indicator of nematode pressure. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather last week was mild and it is very dry again. The inch of rain we got last weekend didn’t go very far. Strawberries are still yielding well, though in some fields, we’re starting to see berry size decrease, like we frequently see towards the end of picking. Folks had to remove water-damaged berries from their fields following the rain this past weekend. I guess the silver lining in this dry spell is we haven’t had many water-damaged berries yet this year. We’re still seeing some mites here and there, but disease pressure remains low. I found a berry last week with an anthracnose fruit rot lesion for the first time this season. So even though disease pressure is low, we still need to keep up with fungicide programs. There is some rain in the forecast for this week, so now would be a good time to throw in one of the site specific fungicides.”

Fungicides with the best efficacy on gray mold (left) and anthracnose (right) Photo from MyIPM app.
Cabbage with some cold damage from the cold a little over a week ago. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Along the Ridge, crews are still finishing up thinning in peach orchards to ensure good sizing on fruit. We are well into our summer cover spray programs for the season. During pit hardening it is critical to do preventative treatment for bacterial spot. Growers should be watching for plum circulio activity as well as scale crawlers in the next week as well. Sime powdery mildew has been found on foliage. Refer the the 2021 SE Peach, Nectarine, and Plum Management Guide for specific treatment recommendations. Strawberries are performing well. Some spider mite activity as well as some botrytis in the fields, which could worsen with several days of wet weather in the forecast. Transplanting of summer crops continues, including tomatoes and peppers. Curcurbits are becoming established and harvest will begin soon. 

Peach tree after thinning. Notice all of the green fruit on the ground surrounding it. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and sweet potato slips are really growing since it has warmed up. Getting ready to sidedress and plow cucumbers. Fresh market cabbage will be ready to harvest soon. Processing collards are almost ready to harvest- some downy mildew has been seen. Asparagus suffered from excessive rains last year. Saw some sunscald and chemical burn on strawberries, so watch what products you are applying foliar, especially fertilizers. With the small amount of rain we had last week many acres of peas have been planted; however, it is awfully dry again.”

Weekly Field Update – 4/26/21

Join us this Wednesday (3/24/21) at 12:30 pm for an update from the tomato fields with Zack Snipes. It will be a relatively short meeting, lasting 30-45 minutes, so tune in while you eat your lunch. Click here to register.

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Crops in the area continue to develop well, and I expect this to continue after some welcome rainfall over the weekend.  Following the rain over the weekend and returning to warm temperatures, keep scouting for diseases in crops and ensure fungicide applications are made promptly. Spider mites show activity in a range of crops from strawberries to peppers, tomatoes, and blackberries. Always remember to use a specific miticide for spider mite control to avoid flaring populations. Cucumber beetles are beginning to be found in sticky traps. Currently, no damage is being seen to crops. Treatment options include neonicotinoid insecticides applied as a foliar spray or through the drip system.  When treatments are made, it is possible feeding damage will be seen as the pests need to ingest the pesticide.”

Zack Snipes reports, “We finally got some rain last week that I think will benefit all of our crops. Spider mites were the talk of the community last week. I saw high populations on strawberries as well as blackberries. On farms with mixed produce, you will want to scout all crops, even if they are at a stage where they normally wouldn’t have mites. I found mites on tomatoes last week because they were adjacent to a strawberry crop. We need to get on top of this pest before its too late. There are plenty of IPM techniques and strategies for this pest. Also, if you have sprayed a product in strawberry and are considering treating other crops nearby, you may want to rotate products/chemistries from what you sprayed on strawberry. Chances are those are the same genetically similar spider mites so if you had any resistance in strawberry, or another crop, then you may see it on tomato or watermelon.”

Taking good photos of spider mites is tough but on this leaf you can see several two-spotted spider mites. Don’t wait until you see symptomatic damage to manage this pest.    

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a cold event in the midlands that seems like it got around 5 degrees colder in most areas than what the forecast called for. It got to 35 at my house Wednesday night/Thursday morning. South of Columbia and Lake Murray, I only heard a couple reports of light frost, but north of Columbia, I heard reports of the temperatures reaching 31. We’re certainly going to see some damage in those areas to spring crops that weren’t covered. On another note, strawberries are yielding really well right now. Growers are reporting that yields are at times outpacing sales. We finally got some rain this weekend (just under an inch at my house), so we’re going to see some water-damaged berries and the moisture will give grey mold an opportunity to increase. The rain was good news for spider mite management, as their populations had been thriving in the dry conditions. Diamondback moth populations are increasing in brassicas, so keep up with scouting.”

Strawberries have been yielding well and berry size has been quite large on some cultivars. Photo from Justin Ballew
We haven’t seen much grey mold lately, but the rain we had over the weekend may allow it to make a comeback. Photo from Justin Ballew

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Last week’s brief kiss of frost doesn’t appear to have caused any significant problems on the crops. But, it is starting to get a bit dry. Sweet corn and pea emergence has been looking good, with most locations having an excellent stand. Cucurbit crops are starting to emerge, as well. Transplant tomatoes are looking very good. Everyone is taking advantage of this beautiful weather to plant vegetable crops and blueberries… just don’t forget to irrigate. Strawberry harvest is peaking right now and the fruit looks really good. Disease pressure is pretty low, but spider mite activity is high in many locations. In blueberries, much of the damaged fruit (from the Easter freeze) is beginning to shed off of the plant. Hopefully, this will continue… so lingering damaged fruit will not slow down harvest (starting in a few weeks). Muscadines are starting to show some early flower bud development.”

Early flower bud development in Carlos muscadine. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Crimson clover cover crop in a muscadine vineyard is a beautiful sight to see. It serves as a great habitat for beneficial insects. Photo from Bruce McLean.
Blueberries planted on plastic mulch covered beds. The plastic reduces the development of weeds, thereby reducing competition for the newly planted blueberry plants. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Peppers, cucumber, and tomatoes are just sitting and not growing. Extra fertilizer will do little for growth in these cool conditions. Cabbage needs to be sprayed for thrips, sclerotinia, and caterpillars. Cabbage, collards, and greens are loving the cool weather and hauling butt, so side-dress to keep growing. Strawberries are loving these cool conditions and are really producing. We are having an overabundance of local strawberries making them hard to sell – many are being discarded. Just a small amount of wind damage. Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber plants were not big enough to act like a sail and be blown (twisted-off) in the wind. Got just enough rain to start planting dryland peas. I know I will regret saying this – “but I hope it warms up soon.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Every day brings us a little closer to May in the Upstate, and with that brings a little less chance of a frost or freeze event. Last week Thursday brought on lows of 30-32 degrees F in many places causing damage to warm season crops as well as landscapes across the upstate. Strawberry growers have slowed since the cool weather, but production will start to pick back up with warmer days and nights this week.”

Weekly Field Update – 2/1/21

Don’t forget to check out the Upcoming Meetings page for all the meetings coming up over the next couple months. The next one is this Thursday evening (2/4/21) from 6 to 8:30 and will be about cucurbit production. We hope to see you there!

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops are developing well however we are seeing gray mold and Phomopsis blight in some crops. Sanitation can really help prevent botrytis spread as we move forward when allied to fungicide applications. Keep scouting for spider mites as there are active populations in some crops. Now is a great time of year to think about maintenance of equipment be that for bed formation, cultivation for spring crops, and most important application equipment.” 

Zachary Boone Snipes reports, “I feel like Forrest Gump describing the weather as of late.  “One day it starting raining and it didn’t stop for four months.”  We are extremely wet in the Lowcountry which is delaying a lot of ground prep for the upcoming season.  Stay out of the fields if they are wet as equipment will compact soil and make matters worse than they already are.  This is the perfect time of year to order and stock up on pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, calibrate sprayers, clean ditches, sharpen tools, clean packing sheds, etc.  Preventative maintenance and getting prepared for the upcoming season will lead to less stress and better management decisions down the road.  This would also be a great time to explore all the links that lead to resources on SCGrower.com as well as to curl up with your Southeast Vegetable Crop Handbook.” 

French drains are being installed in lower lying areas of some fields. Photo from Zachary Boone Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little warmer for most of the past week and we received a little more rain. The strawberry fields I’ve looked at in the past week averaged 3-4 crowns. Growers have been working on sanitizing dead leaves and flower buds from their fields to keep botrytis inoculum down. I’ve gotten a couple calls recently about whether it’s time to start protecting blooms. It’s still a little early in my opinion. Remember, there is about a 4 week time span from bloom to ripe berry, so saving blooms now would have people picking around the first of March. I’m not seeing enough blooms out there right now to make saving them worthwhile. I would rather let the plants grow for a few more weeks.”

These plants were recently sanitized and are looking good. It would be best give them a few more weeks to grow before protecting blooms. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “As of this morning at Musser Farm we are reporting 850 chilling hours and 50 chill portions. In Johnston we are sitting at 788 chilling hours and 46 chill portions. Chilling hours are measured between temperatures of 32-45 for this calculation.” 

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Heavy rains over the last week have put a significant damper on any field prep and planting for early season vegetables in the upstate. Pruning tree fruits is in full swing, and chilling hours are on track.”

Weekly Field Update – 1/19/21

Remember to check out the “Upcoming Events” tab for upcoming meetings. The next one is this Wednesday (1/21/21) at 6pm. Dr. Brian Ward will be discussing fertility for organic crops.

Statewide

Dr. Matt Cutulle reports, “Burndown herbicide efficacy can be reduced in colder weather, especially systemic products such as glyphosate (Reduced translocation in the cold means herbicide does not move through the plant as much). A contact herbicide like Gamoxone is not significantly impacted by cold weather, thus it might be a good option to use on medium to small weeds. If you have to use glyphosate make sure that the formulation is loaded with a non-ionic surfactant (NIS) and then add 2.5% Ammonium Sulfate (AMS).  If the glyphosate formulation is not loaded with NIS, added an NIS product (should contain at last 90% active ingredient) such as Induce at 0.25% (quarter of 1%) in the tank mix.”

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Now is the perfect time to gear up for the upcoming season with preventative maintenance on sprayers and tractors.  Proper spray coverage is absolutely essential when spraying expensive pesticides and nutrients.  Why would you buy a jug of pesticide for $800 and not have it properly applied?  I was at a farm last week working on a spray trial and we took a few hours to clean out screens, filters, and orifices in the sprayer.  The sprayer I was working on had 5 out of 10 nozzles completely clogged and corroded.  We would only get half or less coverage since the nozzles were so clogged.  Once we cleaned everything, we needed to recalibrate our sprayer since we were actually putting out product through all of the nozzles.  Take the time and get things ready for the year.”

Proper spray coverage on a nice looking crop of strawberries.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week stayed pretty cool (high temps in the 50s), wet, and cloudy. Crops aren’t growing very fast right now. We still have a few greens being harvested, but we’ve slowed down from the New Years rush. Most of the strawberries I’ve looked at are still around the 2-3 crown stage. We’re seeing some aphids here and there, but those are rarely anything to be concerned about. Instead, keep checking for mites. Spider mites are active when daytime temperatures are over 50 degrees, so even though it’s chilly to us, they’re active for most of the winter. Fields planted adjacent to tomatoes back in the fall need to be scouted especially well.”

Great stand of rye between the rows of this strawberry field. This will help tremendously with weed suppression. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Be sure to get out and scout your strawberries. Starting to see a fair amount of Phomopsis in the fields. Captan will give some control, but Rally is a better option. Also, starting to see some Botrytis showing up on ripening fruit… that fruit that has been able to escape frost events and develop. Removal of infected fruit and dead leaves will help reduce pathogen when it comes time to flower and fruit. Across the northern portion of the Pee Dee the strawberry crop is pretty varied in development and appearance. Some plantings are well behind others. This is primarily due to the frequent and heavy rains since planting. Any plants that may have been set (even the least bit) low, experienced loose soil to be washed down around the crown, burying the crown too deep. With the crown being buried, the plants were either stunted or killed. Stunted plants can recover, but likely will not develop and yield properly come spring. Now is the time to begin winter pruning of blueberries, blackberries and muscadines… as well as many fruit trees. Proper winter pruning will go a long way towards improving yield, plant health, overall plant architecture and size management. Ideally, winter pruning for perennial fruiting plants should be performed between early January through early March.”

Botrytis already showing up on strawberries. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Wet, wet, wet.  Badly need to start bedding for stale-bed-culture.  Putting off bedding sweet potatoes until March.  I have seen a lot of spider mites on strawberries and started to spray to get them under control.  However, too wet to get tractor in fields so many farmers are using backpack mist sprayers to get job done.”

Weekly Field Update – 1/4/21

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a great holiday season and is off to a good start in 2021. We have several virtual grower meetings coming up over the next two months, so keep an eye on the “Upcoming Events” page for info. Also, don’t forget the Southeastern Regional Fruit and Vegetable conference kicks off virtually this week and it’s not too late to register.

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Firstly I would like to wish everyone a happy ,and successful 2021.   Crops in the area have slowed down with the cooler weather and we are seeing a reduction in caterpillar activity. Strawberries look good however it would be advisable in advanced crops to remove any flowers to reduce the botrytis pressure later in the season. Winter vegetables are looking very good with low levels of Alternaria leaf spot in some crops. If in doubt scout.

Zack Snipes reports, “One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to be more proactive rather than reactive.  I would like to extend that mentality to my field work as well.  This year I really want to help growers nip problems in the bud before they become problems.  Weekly calls, texts, check-ups, and regular visits can help both of us achieve our goals.  Give me a shout in 2021.”

Let’s work together before this happens. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We’ve had a lot of rain to start off the new year. A day or so after Christmas we saw temperatures down in the low 20’s and ended up with some cold damage on greens. They should grow out of it just fine. Strawberries are coming along. We are seeing spider mites build up in places, requiring treatment. Keep scouting regularly, even though it’s cool outside. Let me know if you need a second pair of eyes. On another note, I noticed daffodils starting to come up in my yard a few days before Christmas. Can’t ever remember seeing them emerge that early.”

Cold damage on mustard greens from the recent dip into the low 20s. Photo from Justin Ballew.
The view of spider mites on the underside of strawberry leaf through a 10X hand lens. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “Field preparation for new peach tree plantings is underway along the Ridge. Some growers are using a plow to make berms to plant trees on to aid in disease management issues such as armillaria root rot. Lots of rain in the past week has made for muddy conditions.”

Freshly plowed peach field with berms for planting. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Very few greens undamaged after the cold if they weren’t either covered or protected in some way.  Strawberries are doing well. I hope there is not and I have not seen any cold damage of the crowns in the Pee Dee. I had 1 account where coyotes were biting through the row-covers to eat ripe strawberries.”

Weekly Field Update – 11/23/20

We have added a new resource under the “Resources” section. On the right side of the page, you will find a link labeled “Plant and Seed Supplier List.” This is a list of reputable nurseries and seed suppliers that growers in SC regularly work with. If you know of a good nursery or seed supplier you would like to suggest adding, just let us know.

We would also like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Strawberry crops continue to develop well with minimal pest and disease pressure so far.  Fall vegetables are progressing towards market.  We are continuing to see pest pressure from caterpillars and a few isolated aphids have been spotted during scouting. As we progress towards the holiday season, scouting of crops remains of vital importance to catch insect infestation and disease progression early for treatments to be effective.”

Zack Snipes reports, “The week of wet weather two weeks prior prevented folks from getting out in the fields to spray for insects. I am seeing lots and lots of worm damage, particularly the diamond back moth.  We need to get ahead of this pest so that we have good looking greens for the New Years Market. There are some very good products that we can use but knowing which ones to use and when to use them is where Clemson Extension can help. If you have swiss cheese plants, then give us a call to help out. The strawberry crops looks ok so far this season. The warm weather has really helped later seeded/transplanted crops. I am seeing some die off/rot in root crops in lower lying areas of fields.”

Don’t forget about your strawberries while eating turkey this year (No those are not chocolate covered raisins). Photo from Zack Snipes.
Graffiti cauliflower almost ready to harvest. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Temperatures got a little cooler last week, with frost showing up in some low lying areas, mostly north of Columbia. Early season growth of strawberries has been impressive so far. As warm as it’s been this fall, early season row covers probably will not be necessary this year unless plants were transplanted late. Caterpillar population size and damage seems to be on the rise in brassicas. I saw some fields this past week where insecticide applications weren’t made in a timely manner nor were materials rotated properly and the caterpillar populations have really gotten out of hand. Call us if you have questions about controlling caterpillars and never use broad spectrum insecticides when caterpillars are your primary pest!”

We’ve had good early season strawberry growth so far. Photo from Justin Ballew.
How many diamondback moth caterpillars and pupae can you count on this leaf? This is a key reason why weekly scouting, timely spraying, proper insecticide rotation, and avoiding broad spectrum insecticides for caterpillar control are so important. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Still a lot of sweetpotatoes in the ground.  The bacterial diseases (Xanthomonas and Pseudomonas) on greens are raging havoc.  Rotation is the best control I have found.  I hate swinecress when it comes to greens -it takes over.  Yellow margined beetle is getting worse in  greens and spreading all over the state – Imidacloprid is a good control without killing beneficials.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Things have certainly slowed down in the field the last few weeks. Apples are mostly finished for the season with ‘Arkansas Black’ being the last variety to be picked. Most growers will keep roadside markets open until Thanksgiving and then call it a quits for the season. Now begins the prep for next year with educational meetings, pesticide certification credits, soil testing, land prep and more. Make sure you are checking the events page for the upcoming trainings.”

Weekly Field Update – 11/16/20

Statewide

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.

Coastal

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.”

Yellow stippling appearance on strawberry leaflets from spider mite feeding damage. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

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.”

Heavy rains on Wednesday (11/11) saturated fields in the midlands. Luckily excess water doesn’t stick around long in sandy soil. Photo from Justin Ballew.
Pecan nut quality hasn’t been quite where we want it. The halves on the left filled out nicely while the ones on the right didn’t quite fill out. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

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.”

Upstate

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.”

Uneven growth possibly from drip tape not being centered under the plastic. Photo from Andy Rollins.
Dead tissue such as stems and leaves are the first to be colonized by Botrytis. Photo from Andy Rollins.

Weekly Field Update – 10/12/20

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Crops are generally looking very well to press with some welcome rain benefiting fall crops.  Whitefly and caterpillar numbers are increasing.  With a few foggy mornings happening over the last week be on the look out for foliar disease pressure to increase given the increase in leaf “wetness”. Plastic and, where applicable, fumigants are applied, ready to begin strawberry planting.  Just a reminder to check plants carefully before planting for crown rots and early foliar pest and disease activity.”

Zack Snipes reports, “We had another wet week in the Lowcountry with 2.5 inches of rain collected at the Coastal Research Station in Charleston.  Things are looking great for strawberry planting in the next few weeks. Be sure to check your plants and roots before you plant them.  Many issues can be solved before plants go into the field. Fall brassicas, squash, lettuce mixes, and root crops are growing and looking great.  We still have whiteflies on many farms.  On most of these farms, spring fields were not terminated once the crop was done which could have led to the explosion of whiteflies we have been seeing this fall.”

Many strawberry growers are putting up fencing BEFORE they plant which drastically enhances the efficacy of the fencing. This fence is about to be baited with a metal tab and peanut butter. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “Last week was warm and we saw a heavy dew most mornings. We also had some pretty decent rain come through over the weekend. This warm, moist weather has disease increasing fairly aggressively on some crops. Powdery mildew and downy mildew on cucurbits are pretty rough right now. Pecan shucks are opening and nuts are falling from the earlier varieties like Pawnee and Excel. Strawberry planting should begin this week.”

The shuck has opened on this Excel pecan . Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Still planting processing greens mostly kale and collards because they are a little more resistant to winter cold.  Greens are rapidly growing.  I have already seen some Reflex damage from carryover from last year.  Personally I think it affects roots and keeps them from taking up nutrients and the damage is very similar to magnesium and boron deficiency – so I always recommend applying Epsom salts and boron to combat the problem and it usually works.  Strawberries are going into the beds. Since many are using vapam or k-pam, make sure that enough time is allowed for the fumigate to escape before planting.  Many do not fumigate anymore so don’t forget velum, nimitiz, and majestine are available for nematode control.”

Upstate

Weekly Field Update – 9/28/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler temperatures have really helped out the direct seeded fall crops.  Carrots, beets, and arugula are looking great around the Lowcountry.  We had about 2 inches of rain so many fields are soggy.  I am still seeing high numbers of whiteflies on just about every crop.  Whitefly feeding will lower yields so make sure to scout the underside of leaves. I expect to see an increase of disease, particularly downy mildew on cucurbits and black rot on brassicas with the cooler temperatures and abundance of moisture.”

Arugula is looking great in this cooler weather. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Whitefiles on the underside of a cucumber leaf which will cause yield drags. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s been cooler this week and we got a little rain from the remnants of Beta. Its been several days since we’ve seen the sun, also. Lots of brassicas are being harvested now and more are being planted. There is a little black rot out there and plenty of caterpillars still. Strawberry plastic has been laid in a number of places and planting is just right around the corner.”

Strawberry plastic being laid in the Midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Too wet to plant greens or harvest sweet potatoes & peas.  Peas are falling down reducing yield due to the inability to combine harvest.  Sweet potatoes are beginning to rot due to the wet soils reducing yields and quality.  Farmers are having to mud through fields to harvest pickles.  Downy Mildew, Pythium leak, and belly rot are bad!”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “With the end of September, most all the local farmers markets are finishing up for the season. Online markets and specialty/holiday markets will continue, but many produce growers have finished production until spring. Apples are continuing to be about 2 weeks ahead of schedule with decent crops across the board. Some growers have experienced high rates of fungal pathogens just because of the high rain incidence.” 

‘Brooks Spot’ preliminarily identified on Granny Smith apples. Photo from Kerrie Roach.

Weekly Field Update – 9/21/20

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “Cooler temperatures have finally arrived in the Lowcountry!  We had a good bit of rain in certain areas last week and some fields are soggy.  I saw lots and lots of silverleaf disorder in squash this past week.  Silverleaf disorder is caused by whiteflies.  The nymphs of the whitefly feed on the newly developing tissue which causes the upper epidermis of the leaf to separate thus giving the plant a silver appearance.  I am still seeing heavy whitefly pressure in most crops throughout the Lowcountry so keep up with spray programs and remember to ROTATE chemistries. For more information on the whitefly, click here.

Silverleaf of squash is a symptom of whitefly feeding. Photo from Zack Snipes.
Whitefly feeding damage on collards. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “These cooler temperatures that have arrived following the rain feel great, but they are going to slow crop development some. Folks are already picking fall brassicas, though some may be a little small. Just trying to keep up with demand. There are plenty of caterpillars out there. I’m seeing diamondback moths (of course) as well as cabbage loopers and a few corn earworms. Be sure to rotate your insecticides when spraying for caterpillars. Folks are continuing to prep fields for the rapidly approaching strawberry season.”

Cabbage loopers are showing up. Loopers frequently rear up like a cobra when disturbed. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Heavy rains, in some areas totaling near 6 inches, fell around Aiken and Edgefield Counties last week. Rain was definitely welcome, however, the downpours led to some erosion issues as well as waterlogged soils in low spots. Brassica crops are benefitting from the cooler temperatures. Peach season has ended and post-season cleanup has begun. Plastic has been laid for fall plantings of strawberries.”

Eggplant is looking good. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Rain, rain, rain. It came quickly, so most drained off quickly, if drainage was adequate.  Need to dig sweet potatoes as quickly as possible to keep down the amount of rot.  Greens, pickles, and peas are struggling to survive the rain – some are drowned.  Ponds are back in the fields.  Some strawberry plastic is already down but the rest of the folks are just beginning this week.  Transplants are scarce and most likely will be late getting here this year. 

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “There has been a significant rise in wine grape production interest over the last month or two in the Upstate. Each week seems to bring another caller asking for recommendations. While climates here are relatively good for grape production overall, high humidity and heat make disease control difficult. Pierce’s Disease is one of the deadliest to deal with; prevention requires intense insect vector control and control means the complete removal of the affected plant. Recent studies have brought new cultivars to the forefront which are helping southern growers become more successful in this niche industry.

‘Traminette’ with leaf scorch symptom of Pierce’s Disease. Photo from Kerrie Roach.
‘Traminette’ with a dead leaf petiole still attached to the vine. Another symptom of Pierce’s Disease. Photo from Kerrie Roach.
‘Traminette” with Pierce’s disease showing islands of green tissue surrounded by brown. This specific grower has already disposed of the affected vines, and will be replacing with newer more resistant cultivars. Photo from Kerrie Roach.