Clemson Extension agents provide updates in The South Carolina Grower this week about the status of various crops being produced throughout the state.
Zack Snipes reports, “Wet, wet, wet, with a side of rain for us on the coast. The fields are saturated, and it’s almost impossible to spray or get into the fields to work them right now. I have seen growers trying to bed up right now in very mucky soils. If you can all but help it, do not work the soil when it is wet and saturated. You will cause issues for yourself down the road. I had a few calls last week about downy mildew on cucurbits. I am not surprised by the amount of moisture hanging around. Other than that, it has been pretty quiet. I guess everyone has been curling up with their favorite edition of the Southeast Vegetable Crop Handbook, catching up on the newest management practices going into the fall.”
Phillip Carnley reports, “Everything is about the same as last week, as we are humid and overcast which makes for great fungal weather. The last plantings of cucumbers were either planted last week or will be planted this week. Yields have been a little bit odd in that some fields/plantings have been high while others have been low. But when averaged the total yield has been surprisingly good. Fall greens are going in left and right. As transplants are becoming well established, there have been increased occurrences of cross stripped cabbage worm as well as diamond back caterpillar. I did get to witness an unusual crop of bananas in Orangeburg with less-than-ideal pollination. Also, if you have peas or beans planted now, be on the lookout for loopers as well as armyworms. If you are treating for cowpea curculio you will also be treating for these pests.”
Bruce McLean reports, “Well, it’s starting to smell like muscadine harvest is getting close. Muscadines have really jumped over the last week and a half. Noble muscadines are averaging about 60% ripe, with brix in the 16% range on the high end. Carlos muscadines are a little behind, averaging about 30% ripe and showing brix on the high end of 16% to 16.5%. Doreen muscadines are just starting to color… probably less than 3%. Fruit (for the most part) appears to be smaller than usual. This is likely due to the drier weather that we had earlier in the season. With the onset of a rainier weather pattern, fruit size should improve some. If you are not getting some of these showers (from now until harvest), run your irrigation. Along with improving fruit size, the increase in soil moisture will help to concentrate ripening. In Noble, it will allow the fruit to hang a little longer on the vine and be less susceptible to shatter during machine harvesting. Be sure to keep an eye out for fruit rot as well. After harvest, most growers might want to consider an application of potassium in the vineyard (as KMag, Potassium sulfate or sul-po-mag), especially if your soil reports are showing anything other than a high rating for potassium in your soil.
Around the Pee Dee… many summer vegetables are still being harvested in good volume – okra, tomatoes, peas, beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, melons and watermelons. Cool season crops are going in at a steady pace. Strawberry growers are starting to get ground ready for planting. Peaches are starting to wind down some. Late peaches are still available – Sunny J and Autumn Prince. Pecans are starting to show some scab development. Pecan weevils are also on the move. Spray if possible.
Kerrie Roach reports, “Growers are reaching the end of peach season, but kicking off the beginning of apples and muscadines in the far corner of the Upstate. In apples, they are picking Ginger Gold and Gala varieties. All things continue to point to a great season ahead. Pecans are starting to show scab lesions, but nothing compared to last year. When it comes to market vegetable production, we continue to see high insect and disease populations with it being late into the season with areas experiencing heavy afternoon rains.”
Andy Rollins reports, “This past week I identified a tomato pest that discolors the outermost stem tissue, leaving a dingy darkened appearance. Smaller stems near blooms were collapsing and the grower was very concerned. At first, I wasn’t able to identify in the field with a 10x hand lens. After bringing it back to the office and observing under a dissecting microscope at 35-45x, I was able to see 1000s of very small odd cigar shaped mites all along all of the stem tissue. After looking online, I was able to identify because of picture posted by Utah State University (https://pestadvisories.usu.edu/2021/07/21/tomato-russet-mites-spider-mites-tomato-spotted-wilt-virus-and-melon-aphids/). The hot dry weather has played a part in contributing to this problem. Tom Bilbo, Clemson entomologist, assisted with recommendations for control. The grower sprayed one of the recommended labeled miticides “Reaper” containing abamectin. Plants may need second application which can be made after seven days and that will be assessed today for possible application tomorrow.
Muscadine/grape harvest is going well. Peach growers are treating for greater peach tree borers and finishing up late varieties. Strawberry growers are getting soil ready and fumigating.”