Weekly Field Update
Clemson Extension agents provide updates in The South Carolina Grower this week about the status of various crops being produced throughout the state.
Rob Last reports, “Crops are benefiting from the recent warmer weather, with new leaves pushing out on strawberries and buds beginning to break in other crops. Following the rainfall over the weekend, the disease may start to be an issue, particularly in frost affected plants. The key will be to continue to scout often to monitor any changes to the crops.
Sarah Scott reports, “Growers are busy along the Ridge, pruning peach trees and applying oil sprays. We are a little behind on chill hours, compared to last year at this time, but hopefully, we will catch up in the next week or so with some colder nights expected. Trees are still being planted at this time, as some shipments of trees were delayed earlier in the season. With some heavy rainfall over the weekend, field conditions will be soggy for a while. Some areas saw two or more inches of rainfall which was much needed. Disease pressure will increase in strawberry and vegetable plantings, so growers should scout often to monitor crop conditions.”
Bruce McClean reports, “Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries… that has been the primary focus for the last few weeks. Diseases are the biggest issue. You name the disease, and I have seen it. Neopestalotiopsis has been identified in the region. Crown rot, root rot and gray mold have been observed in the field. Much of the root rot is found on improperly planted plants – planted too deep and or J-rooted. Some root rot is found in beds incorrectly bedded – sunken beds holding water. Much of the gray mold being seen is coming from cold injury (and dead tissue) from the December cold spell. Other diseases observed include various fungal leaf spots. So far, insects and mites have not been a big issue. So, word of advice, know your diseases (or get assistance from your Extension Agent); know your appropriate fungicides, and be ready to have a sample submitted (for lab identification) if it cannot easily be identified in the field.
In other fruit crops – from now until March is an excellent time to take care of your winter pruning.”