Field Update – 8/12/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are in the middle of muscadine and scuppernong harvest right now. Okra and mixed peppers are still pushing out despite the heat. We had a great Strawberry Production Meeting in Charleston last week. If you have any questions on strawberry production now is the time to ask before planting.”

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Muscadines and scuppernongs from Ravenel, SC. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Great strawberry production meeting in Charleston (8/6/19). Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a storm come through Saturday night that brought a little rain to some parts of the midlands, but overall we are still quite dry. More fall brassicas are going in the ground and there is already some caterpillar pressure on those that are up. Downy mildew is showing up on cucumbers and pumpkins on a more widespread scale now.  Stick to fungicide programs if you’re growing fall cucurbits.”

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Fall collards in Lexington County are already seeing diamond back moth caterpillar pressure. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Downy mildew in fall cucumbers. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Sarah Scott reports, “We have had hot and dry conditions along the Ridge with hit and miss showers. Running irrigation heavily.  Late cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and broccoli are being planted.  Leaf footed bugs on late season tomatoes causing minimal damage.  Peaches still producing through late August, possibly into early September. Field work is still being done to prepare for fall planting of new orchards.”

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September Sun peaches are nearing harvest. Photo from Sarah Scott.

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Leaf footed bugs causing minor damage to late tomatoes. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Upstate

Mark Arena reports fall webworms and tent caterpillars are showing up on pecans. “This is truly a nuisance pest and generally does not influence nut production. Proper control may be challenging since the webbing should be broken apart prior to spraying. Once the webbing is broken apart, the insecticide can make contact with the caterpillars and offer effective control. Any insecticides labeled for caterpillars will work.”

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Fall webworm in the canopy of a pecan tree. Photo from Mark Arena.

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Temps have been soaring and rain has been scarce across the Pee Dee Region. Most crops are looking good though. Watermelon, cantaloupe, canary melons, cucumber, zucchini and yellow squash volumes are still up and quality is good. Okra volumes are really starting to pick up and the quality is very good. Okra is flowering heavy, so volumes should be good for the foreseeable future. Muscadines are continuing to ripen. Muscadine brix levels (sugars) are rather high for this time of the season. Harvest should be very good this year. Fresh market muscadines should be available starting this week.

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“Noble” muscadines are getting close to harvest. Photo from Bruce McClean.

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Okra is rolling along in the summer heat. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Tony Melton reports, “Fall pickling cucumbers are being planted.  Pythium is still prevalent on pickling cucumbers and may need to be controlled.  Fall peas and snap-beans are up and growing and need thrips control, but I have found thrips are in low numbers this fall and they may grow out of damage. I have found some beet armyworms on peas in some locations – scout.  Also, lesser cornstalk borers are bad on both peas and snap-beans mainly due to the dry conditions; therefore, irrigate if possible or apply Coragen or similar systemic product.  Loopers are present on sweet potatoes but doing mostly very little economic damage.  I have found some striped armyworms in certain locations which need to be controlled.  Starting to plant fall processing greens.

Field Update – 8/5/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Summer cover crops are looking good in the Lowcountry.  Cowpeas are one of my favorite cover crops for their ability to shade out weeds, particularly nutsedge, and provide the land with nitrogen for the next crop planted. We have had some timely rains to keep everything green and prepare fields for the fall.  Some fields are being laid out and prepared for the fall season now.  One technique used for weed management is called the stale bed technique.  This involves working the soil and bedding up a few weeks to a month before growers plan to transplant. An herbicide or a flame is used once weeds germinate on the bed tops.  This process is repeated 1-3 more times before the crop is planted.  Because the soil is not disturbed after the initial bedding process, weeds are less likely to germinate once a crop is seeded or transplanted.”

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Cowpeas taking off with warm weather and timely rains.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Field being prepared by using the stale bed technique.  Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a few isolated showers throughout the week, but overall we’re still pretty dry in the midlands. Muscadines are ripening and some of the earliest varieties should be ready to pick this week. The first of the fall brassicas are up and growing now. Fall tomato, eggplant, and peppers are looking good. We are seeing some spidermites in tomatoes, so scout closely. If treatments are needed, remember to use high spray volumes to get good coverage and rotate IRAC groups.”

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Muscadines are ripening and will be ready to pick very soon.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Kale planted for fall harvest is growing well.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Fall bell peppers and Broccoli are being planted. We are continuing to pick string beans, processing tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Field preparations are underway for fall planting for Brassicas. We finally got some rain over the weekend, which will help with the new plantings.

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Still picking beans and peas in the midlands. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

Upstate

Mark Arena reports, “Fall webworm or tent caterpillars are showing up on pecans.  Breaking the web apart and spraying with an appropriate insecticide is an option.”

Kerrie Roach reports, “Peaches are still coming in strong in the mountains, and the apples are continuing to build. The earliest ‘Ginger Gold’ apples (right photo) are just about finished. ‘Golden Supremes’ (left photo) are still a little low on the sugar (Brix) scale, but will sweeten up a little more this week. We should be picking ‘Galas’ within the next two weeks if the weather cooperates.”

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Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Well, it’s starting to look a bit like harvest time for muscadines. We’re seeing some advanced ripening this year due to heat, primarily in Carlos. There’s still some ripening to do, but it won’t be long. The crop looks really good this year… just a bit early.  Watermelons, cantaloupe, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers and okra are being harvested in good volumes, and grading out well.

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‘Carlos’ muscadines really coloring up. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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Seeded watermelons harvested in good volume and condition. Photo from Bruce McLean.

Field Update – 7/29/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “We are harvesting the last remaining things in the fields, preparing fields for fall planting, and planting fall pepper and tomato.  I found an interesting disease in watermelon this week that is known as bacterial rind necrosis.  While it is not entirely known what factors and pathogens cause the disease, it is thought that environmental conditions could increase the presence of this disease.  If you have seen this disease, take precaution by rotating fields, staying away from varieties known to have had symptoms in the past, and stay on top of irrigation and nutrient management.  I have also seen some spongy squash this week.  The combination of heat, high humidity, and poor pollination can all lead to poor quality squash.”

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Watermelon with discolored rind from rind necrosis. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Soft squash as a result of poor environmental conditions. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather cooled down a few degrees towards the end of last week and felt nice.  Fall tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are in the ground now.  Downy mildew was found in the midlands in slicing cucumbers this past week, so folks growing fall cucurbits definitely need to maintain a good spray schedule.  Also, late last week, bacterial wilt was confirmed for the first time in hemp.  In the future, growers will need to practice good rotation between hemp, tobacco, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.”

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Peppers planted for a fall crop. Photo from Justin Ballew.

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Industrial hemp plant wilting from bacterial wilt infection.  Photo from Justin Ballew.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Bell peppers are being planted in Orangeburg and Clarendon counties. Hemp is growing well and is expected to make a good harvest. Worm damage was found on some hemp plants in Orangeburg county. Collards are also being planted.  Mole crickets have been found tunneling in many collard fields.

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Hemp is growing well in Orangeburg. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

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Mole cricket tunneling around collard seedlings can expose young roots to the sun, causing them to dry out. Photo from Lalo Toledo.

 

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “Last week was a welcomed reprieve from the heat and humidity. Many crops seemed to respond positively from the temperature break, as well. Watermelon, cantaloupe volumes looked very good. Yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers were well improved from the week before. Okra volume is on the rise, and should be coming off very well in a week or so. Peas and butterbeans, on the other hand, sustained significant damage from the heat and many plantings have dried up. The first of the week looks pretty dry with building temps. By the end of the week, some welcomed rain should be in the forecast.”

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Zucchini are doing well in the slightly lower temperatures. Photo from Bruce McLean.

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The volume of harvest of okra is rising in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean

Field Update – 7/22/19

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It was another fairly hot week with scattered afternoon showers. We’re about finished with the spring cucurbit and brassica crops and growers are planting some fall brassicas now.  Peas, green onions, tomatoes, peppers and some eggplant are being picked now.  Still seeing some cutworm damage showing up in hemp.  They feed at night, so growers having trouble with cutworms may benefit from night time applications of Dipel or Grandevo directed at the base of the plant.

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Peas are being picked in the midlands. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Cutworm damage on hemp stem. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “The fall crop of bell peppers are being planted. We are continuing to pick peaches and have started picking Asian pears. Field prep is underway for fall planting of new peach trees. Old orchards are pushed up and the trees burned when they are no longer productive, making way for new orchards for the coming seasons.

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Fall peppers are going in the ground in the Ridge Spring area. Photo from Sarah Scott.

Lalo Toledo reports, “Tomatoes have been suffering from many pest and diseases. Most prevalent Southern Blight (White Mold) and Bacterial wilt. Make sure to properly diagnose your pest and/or diseases. Improper identification has led to improper control.”

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Tomato plant wilting rapidly from bacterial wilt. Photo from Lalo Toledo

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White fungal growth from Southern blight on a tomato stem. Photo from Lalo Toledo

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “This last week’s hot weather has taken a bit of a toll on some crops in the Pee Dee Region. Volumes on cantaloupe, cucumber and peppers were off a bit due to heat related damage. But, cooler weather looks to be in the forecast for this upcoming week. Be on the look out for Downy Mildew in cucurbits. I found some in a field of cucumbers last week. Some fall crops have been planted. The remaining acreage will likely be planted after the temperature break.

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Peppers are slowing down from the heat in the Pee Dee. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Downy mildew symptoms on a cucumber leaf. Photo from Bruce McLean

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Many upstate apple growers are having to do some late thinning on orchards hit by hail from one of the many late afternoon summer storms. Picking early varieties like ‘Wolf River’ and some of the Golden Delicious sports. Peaches are in full swing as are all our major summer vegetable crops. As in other areas of the state we have seen many instances of southern stem blight on tomatoes.”

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Early apple varieties are being harvested in the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach

Field Update – 7/15/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Most crops are finished here in the Lowcountry.  There are a few crops that are being harvested for the final time this week.  Fall watermelon and tomato are in the ground already.  I saw some interesting cucumber beetle larvae damage on watermelons this past week. This type of damage will result in loads of melons being rejected by buyers.  Crop rotation is a vital component to managing this pest.  If you have seen this type of damage, please reach out so we can develop a plan of attack for next season.  I attended the Edisto REC Watermelon Field Day this past week and learned about the future of robotics in agricultural production and had the opportunity to taste over 30 varieties of watermelons.

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Cucumber beetle larvae damage to watermelon rind. Photo from Zack Snipes

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Robotics demo at the Watermelon Field Day at Edisto REC, 7/11/19. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had some scattered rain over the last week.  Some folks are still needing some.  We’re winding down on the spring brassicas and cucurbits.  This is good because foliar diseases like anthracnose and powdery mildew are really increasing with the humidity.  We’re still picking tomatoes and have started picking peas.  Spider mites are picking up, so scout closely for those.  Hemp is growing well, though we’ve seen some seedling disease and cutworm damage in spots.”

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Anthracnose lesions on a cucumber leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Hot and dry weather along the Ridge. Conditions have been favorable for increased spider mite and stink bug activity.

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Stippling from spider mite feeding damage on peach leaves. Photo from Sarah Scott

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports seeing some blackberry tips wilting from raspberry cane borers. “If you see this, they need to be cut off 6 inches below the 2 girdled lines you see below.  This material can be composted or you can just squish them.  Insecticide sprays can be helpful but only when applied before symptoms appear.  It is a type of beetle larvae that is feeding on the stem before becoming an adult.  Commercially, there would have to be a major infestation to warrant the extra labor.  Normally this won’t be present in a regularly sprayed crop.”

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Stem girdling from raspberry cane borer. Photo from Andy Rollins

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Raspberry cane borer larva inside of blackberry stem. Photo from Andy Rollins

Kerrie Roach reports Ginger Gold apples are being harvested in the upstate.

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Ginger Gold apples from the upstate. Photo from Kerrie Roach

Pee Dee

Bruce Mclean reports, “Well, it looks like another hot week is on tap for us this week. Squash, watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, peas and peppers are coming off in good volumes.  Quality looks especially good on these crops.  Blueberries and sweet corn are finishing up.  Starting to see some disease in muscadines.  If you are seeing leaf spots in them, it may be time to evaluate and adjust your spray program. Also, starting to see early ripening of fruit.  Be on the look out for fruit rot.

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Muscadines ripening. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Black rot lesions on muscadine leaf. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Cucumbers having hard time setting fruit in the heat – getting many nubbins (crooked fruit).  Parthenocarpic varieties seem to handle the heat better than regular pollinated varieties.   Processing tomato harvest is progressing quickly and about ½ complete.  Processing pea harvest will begin this week – thousands of acres ahead to harvest.  Processing hot pepper harvest has begun and will continue for a month.

Field Update – 7/8/19

Don’t forget to check out the “Upcoming Events” tab for events around the state. 

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “It’s hot in the Lowcountry! We are just about finished on all summer crops. Bell peppers and rabbiteye blueberries should finish up this week. We are still picking some okra and hot peppers. Keep an eye out for worms in the coming weeks. I am seeing some basil downy mildew on basil. I have seen lots of ant and cricket damage on recently planted hemp.”

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Basil downy mildew. Photo from Zack Snipes.

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Cricket chewing damage on hemp stem. Photo from Zack Snipes.

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “It’s been hot and humid.  Some lucky folks have gotten some isolated showers, but overall, we need rain badly.  The humidity is allowing powdery mildew to pick up on cucurbits and pickleworms are showing up heavy in some fields.  Hemp is doing well so far.  We are seeing some mite, caterpillar, and cutworm activity.”

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Powdery mildew on a squash leaf. Photo from Justin Ballew

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Pickleworm in the middle of a squash.  Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “The peach crop in the Ridge is looking good.  Varieties are getting ready a couple weeks early and there is an abundance of  fruit being picked.”

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Peaches are coming in early on the Ridge, but are looking good. Photo from Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Bruce McLean reports, “The recent rain showers have really helped the area crops. Cantaloupe and watermelons are seeing some good volumes coming out of the field.  Mid season cucumbers are looking good as well.  A consistent volume of peas are being picked and looking great.  Sweet corn volumes are starting to fall off as the season is winding down.  Muscadines are starting to size pretty well, and are looking very good.”

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Cucumbers are looking good. Photo from Bruce McLean

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Muscadines are sizing up. Photo from Bruce McLean

Tony Melton reports, “Butterbean harvest will be in full swing this week and it seems this week and next maybe our total spring harvest.  Processing peas will begin harvest this week if rains hold off.  Processing peppers are being harvested and will continue for next 4 weeks.  Also, processing tomatoes are being harvested and will continue for 4 weeks.  Harvest of second planting of pickles for processing will begin this week.   Last of the collards for processing will be harvested this week.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “In apple news, we are about 2 weeks from picking the early golden varieties and about 4 weeks out from Galas. Hail damage is wreaking havoc at many orchards, and we are hoping for some clear weather for a few weeks to finish out the prime growing season. Peaches have finally come in and are looking good right now. Later varieties of peaches  at many orchards in the upstate are seeing between a 70-80 percent crop loss.”

Field Update – 6/24/19

Coastal Region

Zack Snipes reports, “Summer crops are looking good and we are continuing with harvests. It seems like every crop is coming in right now from basil to zucchini. We have had mild temperatures and just the right amount of rain.

Freshly harvested melons in the Coastal region. Photo from Zack Snipes
Shishito peppers. Photo from Zack Snipes

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a few storms last week that brought rain to most of the midlands. Everything is growing well and we are really benefiting from the timely rain and mild temperatures. Growers are harvesting collards, kale, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet corn.”

Bacterial soft rot on a collard stalk that was severely stressed by the hot, dry weather back in May.  The inner stalk has turned to mush and has a strong odor. Photo from Justin Ballew

Sarah Scott reports, “Potatoes are being dug around Aiken. Conditions have been favorable for blackberry leaf rust. Plants that are affected will show small orange colored spots, or pustules on the undersides of leaves and on shoots. Pustules can appear on undersides of leaves as well. In severe cases defoliation can occur and a lack of vigor in canes. Refer the Small Fruit Consortium website for information on control and management.”

Leaf rust pustules on the upper side of a blackberry leaf. Photo from Sarah Scott
Freshly dug potatoes. Photo from Sarah Scott

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Tomatoes are ripening. Sweet potatoes are mostly planted and lay-by has begun. Some peas are ready for harvest and the last of the collards are being harvested.”

Upstate

Andy Rollins reports, “Orange isn’t a good color to be seeing in your blackberry plants!  Be on the look-out for leaf rust in Blackberry and get it properly identified.  Over the last 2 weeks I have found this on 3 farms in the upstate and one in the midlands with another agent.  This light orange colored leaf rust isn’t as destructive as the orange rust that can be found in the early spring on the ‘Navaho’ variety especially but it does deserve your attention.  Spores can be found on the top and bottom of leaves so look closely sometimes it’s hard to see.  There is a another leaf rust that has yellow colored spores.  If you are still picking fruit,  Rally or a generic product containing the same active ingredient ‘myclobutanil’ can be used but as always read and follow the label.  Tilt (propiconazole) is labeled also but has a 30 day PHI.  So, I would use Rally then follow with Tilt when I was finished picking.  Hopefully this will help keep your blackberry patches clean.  There maybe other options for organic growers also but I am not sure how effective they would be.  NARBA (North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association) has a good article on this here https://www.raspberryblackberry.com/is-it-blackberry-leaf-rust-or-orange-rust/ .

Leaf rust pustules on underside of blackberry leaf. Photo from Andy Rollins

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.