What’s Happening? Clemson Extension Agents Provide Crop Updates

Jim Rogers South Carolina

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

Clemson Extension

Coastal Region

Rob Last reports, “We received some welcomed rainfall during last weekend’s storm system; amounts were variable across the area, with an inch being the most common. The precipitation allowed for bed formation operations to continue in excellent conditions. Thankfully, there is very little in the way of damage from the storm. Scouting of all crops is going to be key moving forward. Disease pressure remains low. However, I am picking up increasing numbers of diamondback moths, imported cabbage moths and fall armyworms. Managing resistance in these pest populations, particularly diamondback moth, is crucial. Successful management relies on rotating the mode of action of the chemistries. If in doubt, Extension agents are here to help.”

Zack Snipes reports, “We have had some beautiful growing weather this past week. Growers are frantically getting fields ready, seeding crops and planting greens. Strawberry starts should be arriving in the next few weeks. Now is the time to put up deer fencing. Deer love strawberries, and they will eat your crop. If you put up a fence now before you plant, then the deer have not established a feeding pattern and won’t associate your food with the Golden Corral buffet. If you wait or don’t put up a fence at all, expect to lose thousands of dollars in potential revenue. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE put up deer fencing. We have had a very long growing season this year, and some odd coastal crops look really great this year including bananas, citrus, ginger and turmeric.”

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We’ve been enjoying beautiful weather over the last week in the Midlands. All the rain we received from Hurricane Ian dried up pretty quickly, and folks are irrigating again. We didn’t receive a whole lot of wind damage, but it is evident that younger plants were whipped around by the winds. Strawberry growers are ready to plant. We are just waiting on transplants to arrive. While some folks are getting their plants this week, I’m getting reports that some shipments will be late. One report indicated the grower may not get all their plants until the 28th. Let’s hope we don’t end up waiting that long. That would really put us behind where we want to be by the end of October.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “This will be my last update as I start a new position with Clemson as a Nursery inspector in the Upstate beginning Monday (10/17). We have seen a significant increase in disease pressure on apples this year. I suspect that it is a result of a lower-scale IPM program from last year‘s crop loss. As I stated before, we have also seen increased pressure from San Jose scale with damage showing up on apples. Dormant oil applications can help reduce the population for the following year. Much cooler nighttime temperatures over the last few days have significantly slowed growth on most everything. The leaves are changing, and fall has officially arrived in the upstate. Not only are we facing cooler night temperatures, but we’ve also been almost a month with only 0.1 inches of rain in the Seneca area. Any fall crops in the ground must be irrigated. Our next potential rain event looks like Thursday, but the chances are getting lower.”

Andy Rollins reports, “Strawberry planting is in full swing. Almost all are at some stage of receiving plants, inspecting, planting, hooking up water, or other chores in preparation for planting soon. Most plants look to be in excellent condition. Some are really long and leggy from extra nitrogen applied, while some are short and squatty. Growers will have to take extra care when planting to make sure plants are planted properly. The depth should be only slightly deeper than the depth of the plug. When finished planting, the crown growing tip should be visible, and dirt around plugs should be slightly compacted. We are irrigating beds ahead of planting, and many are dipping plants with Switch fungicide as per the label and planting that day as specified. We are also in full sweet potato harvest mode, and some fall peppers are being picked. Pumpkin patches and fall school public tours are in gear as muscadine harvests will not last much longer. It will probably end this week.”