Clemson Extension Agents Provide Crop Updates

Clint Thompson South Carolina, Top Posts

Clemson Extension agents provided updates in The South Carolina Grower this week about the status of various crops being produced throughout the state.


Rob Last reports, “Strawberry planting is mostly complete in the area.  Plants received from nurseries have been very good this year, and establishment is progressing well. In fall vegetable crops, Southern army worms continue to be present and numerous. Whiteflies in fall vegetables are beginning to reduce. Disease pressure remains relatively low.”

Zack Snipes reports, “Strawberry planting continued last week. Bare root plants look good going into the ground. Stay on top of workers to plant them correctly. I saw some patches with “J” roots or long roots that went to the bottom of the hole and back out. Those plants will die or produce considerably less yield than properly planted plants. Also, I have seen and heard reports of spider mites on plug transplants. Check your fields and get out miticide this week if you need it. Fall growth is very important as well as knocking out the existing spider mite populations. Remember that the threshold for spider mites is 4% to 5% of the leaves with a population. And lastly, I have seen AWFUL disease on purchased transplants. If you purchase transplants and they have disease on them, DO NOT plant them. The plants will never produce like they should and you are inoculating the rest of your crops and land with that disease.

Clean bareroot cutoff plants.  Notice how white or cream colored the crown is and how clean the roots are. Photo from Zack Snipes.


Justin Ballew reports, “Young strawberries are growing well so far in the midlands. We’ve had good weather for getting the plants established. We are starting to see some spider mites already, so don’t forget that we need to be scouting regularly as soon as the plants are in the ground. If you plan to cover your strawberries for a couple weeks in the fall, getting rid of mites should be priority #1. Other crops are doing well also, though we are seeing high numbers of caterpillars and diseases like black rot, and Alternaria on brassicas have really been ramping up.”

Discoloration on young plants from spider mite feeding damage. Once populations reach the threshold of 4% infestation, treatments need to be made in a timely manner to keep spider mites from hanging around throughout the winter and into the spring. Photo from Justin Ballew.

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “First time I have seen large numbers of yellow-margined beetle in Orangeburg County – we had to treat 1 out of 10 fields for them. If possible do not use a pyrethroid on young greens; it will encourage worm and aphid problems. Still seeing a lot of boron and magnesium deficiency in greens, mostly because farmers are not liming properly, using sul-pho-mag, or using premium fertilizers with minor elements. Spray with boron and many applications of Epsom salts, and the greens will eventually grow out of the problem. Like always, swine cress and corn spurry are awful weeds in greens – to control, I recommend using a stale-bed culture technique before planting. We still have butterbeans, peas and cucurbits in the ground – hope frost stays away until after Thanksgiving.


Kerrie Roach reports, “High winds, heavy rains and now cold overnight temperatures have laid down a gauntlet for growers in the Upstate over the last week. Many growers in Oconee County lost power from the remnants of Hurricane Zeta for anywhere from 1 to 4 days. Apples are just about finished with mainly Yates and Arkansas Blacks left to pick. Apple growers concerned with fungicide resistance should contact Kerrie to pull Bitter Rot samples now to be sent to the shared lab at N.C. State.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Finishing up strawberry planting in the upstate. I’ve been inspecting farms and assisting some growers with planting different types of plants they weren’t used to planting. Unlike the pictured transplants some are a little smaller than normal but appear to be healthy at this point. Colder weather is a slight concern as we need decent growing conditions to get them rooted in well. Some may need to use row covers to keep strawberry plants growing during the first 30 days in the ground if temperatures stay low. Peach growers are putting down fall herbicides, and some are preparing to do delay blooming. This involves waiting till at least 50% of the leaves are off of the trees before applying a liquid form of ethylene. Other stipulations are also important regarding temperatures after application. If it is your first time trying this, speak with your county agent to get the correct method.

Healthy strawberry plug ready to be planted. Photo from Andy Rollins.