Clemson Extension agents provide updates in the The South Carolina Grower this week about the status of various crops being produced throughout the state.
Weekly Field Update
Rob Last reports, “Vegetable crops are growing out of the impacts of frost well. There is active Alternaria in places on brassica crops. Insect activity in vegetable crops in the area remains low. Strawberry crops are moving well with a few spider mites and aphids being observed. Remember if mite treatment is needed, use a specific miticide to target the pest to avoid flaring populations. If you need a second pair of eyes to help scout then please give me a shout.”
Zack Snipes reports, “I’ve been getting a good many calls about strawberries in recent weeks. The warm weather has really pushed our berries, perhaps too far along for this time of year. I know of a couple of farms that are already harvesting which I’m not sure is a great thing this early in the season. Most fields look good with great growth but we only have a few crowns for each plant. Hopefully some cool weather will come in and slow them down. Make sure to sanitize the plants by removing all dead tissue and put out a preventative spray once you are done sanitizing. Good preventative sanitation right now can do wonders for disease management later in the season. Now is a good time to manage weeds before they get too large. And while I am at it…now is the perfect time to get ready for the season by checking sprayers, getting fertigation systems set up and calibrated, and purchasing pesticides you know you will need for the season.”
Justin Ballew reports, “The weather has remained cool, so everything is growing pretty slowly. We had another very rainy day last week, and we got a little over 2 inches at my house. That’s over 6 inches for me so far in 2021, and I’ve had some folks tell me they’ve gotten over 8. We are seeing some cold damage to strawberry foliage, but nothing to worry about long term. Just make sure to sanitize any dead leaves and flowers as the temperatures warm in the spring. I’ve already seen some Botrytis develop on dead flowers, so we definitely need to remove these sources of disease inoculum. I’m counting 2 to 3 crowns per plant right now. If you’re behind that, it may be helpful to put row covers on for a couple weeks. Just scout for spider mites carefully first.”
Tony Melton reports, “Cold hurt green winter strawberries more than ripe ones due to increased sugar in ripe ones. Still got some squash producing in high tunnels if covered inside tunnel with row covers. We’re bedding green fields to allow weeds to germinate so they can be killed using stale-bed culture.”