By Clint Thompson
Excessive rainfall in South Carolina has cut short strawberry season for parts of the state, says Bruce McLean, Clemson (S.C.) Extension area commercial horticulture agent for Dillon County, Horry County, Marion County and Malboro County in the Pee Dee Region.
“Last week, in certain spots was just torrential rains,” McLean said. “A lot of the fruit that I saw looked really good, but that rain, it wiped it out. There was just so much water damage on it. It really took out a lot of that late fruit that was coming on.
“There’s still some fruit coming on but it’s to the point now, everybody’s basically having conversations now as far as is it worthwhile and is it time to go ahead and terminate the crop and go ahead to try to plant something else?”
Rain is Everywhere
Rain has been persistent in other parts of South Carolina as well. According to the South Carolina Grower, Justin Ballew, Clemson Extension agent in the Midlands, reported that rainfall has slowed strawberry picking and there were plenty of fruit that experienced water damage.
“Botrytis is loving all the moisture. Most fields look like they will keep producing for a few more weeks. Just stay on top of fungicide programs. The moisture and warm temperatures have most other crops growing rapidly and looking good. Keep an eye out for disease,” Ballew said in the South Carolina Grower.
According to McLean, rain is becoming widespread.
“We’ve seen one place, even on some heavier ground, the grower was still able to go through and do a little plowing and run the cultivator a little bit and was having real good success trying to clean up some fields. But yet, you go a mile or two down the road and there would be water running out the ditches,” McLean said. “It’s one of those weird things that we’re having. It seems like the following day, the rain pattern shifts around a little bit and some of the areas that weren’t getting the heavy rains from the day before, all of a sudden they’re seeing heavier rains. It’s becoming more widespread.”