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 – 5/20/19

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 schnabe@clemson.edu.”

Green fruit(Monolinia fructicola) rot on a peach. Photo from Dr. Guido Schnabel.

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.

Bacterial wilt ( Ralstonia solanacearum) on tomato. Photo from Zack Snipes
Powdery mildew on squash leaf. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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.

Thrips damage on developing strawberry.
Peppers are developing well in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

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.

Peaches are looking great on the Ridge. Photo from Sarah Scott.
Stink bug trap on the edge of a peach orchard. Photo from Sarah Scott.