Clemson Extension Agents Provide Updates on Various Crops

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

Coastal

Spider mites have been reported on beans, tomato and melon in the Coastal Region.

Zack Snipes reports, “It was a warm week with some sprinkled in showers along the coast. All crops are coming in right now with heavy watermelon volume. What’s left of the tomato crop is ripening fast. As far as pests go, I have seen a good amount of bacterial leaf spot in pepper, squash bugs and cucumber beetles in squash, and spider mites on beans, tomato, and melon.”

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We got a little more rain last week and the temperatures were a little warmer than previous weeks. We’re still harvesting tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, eggplant, peaches, squash, zucchini, beans, etc. Since the environment has been warm and wet, we’re starting to see diseases pick up. Seeing lots of powdery mildew and anthracnose on cucurbits and bacterial spot on tomatoes. Stay on your fungicide programs and rotate modes of action as much as possible. I’ve also been getting some reports of heavy spider mite activity on tomatoes.”

Sarah Scott reports, “We’ve had hot and, for the most part, somewhat dry conditions in the past week. Some areas received an inch of rain, but it was very spotty. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, cucumbers, and melons are all being harvested now.  Plums, peaches, and nectarines are also still being picked. The peach crop is about 10 days ahead of schedule.”

Pee Dee

File photo shows ripe peaches ready to pick on tree branches.

Bruce McLean reports, “Vegetable crops are maturing nicely, even though some are exhibiting heat stress from the recent hot weather. Cucurbit Downy Mildew (on cucumbers) has been reported throughout the Pee Dee Region. Powdery Mildew is widespread on zucchini and yellow squash. Sweet corn is looking good, with good volumes being produced. Tomatoes, other than being stressed from the heat and the humidity, look pretty good and are bearing well. Sweet potatoes are still being planted. Muscadines are beginning to size and look to be a very good crop. Blueberries are winding down, with only the latest varieties being harvested now.”

Tony Melton reports, “Processing peppers and tomatoes are beginning to be harvested and they look good.  With all the early winds and excessive rain, it was difficult but as my daddy would say ‘we made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.’ Second and third crop pickles are yielding much better than the weather-beaten first crop. Processing peas will begin harvest this next week, so we badly need some dry weather, but the forecast is not favorable.  Also, the amount of cowpea curculio is increasing rapidly, and an intense/timely spray program is needed to prevent what most call “stings (maggots) in the peas.” One grower got slack on his spray program and this week had to discard $6,000 worth of peas. Spray with a pyrethroid at or before the first flower, then every week until flowering is finished. The first spray is the most important because if you wait too late, the curculios are already in the field. Curculios are very hard to kill. When disturbed they ball up inside their protective coat, and your spray is repelled. My program repels them and attempts to keep them out of the field. Also, rotation is very important to keep down the population of curculios surrounding your fields.”

File photo shows a muscadine vineyard. Muscadines are beginning to size in the Pee Dee Region.

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Upstate peaches are beginning to ripen! While exciting, we have seen some physiological issues with sizing and softening that we attribute back to a late-season cold spell. While the peaches originally appeared to pull through without damage, we are now seeing peaches that are not sizing and those that do size up, only ripen on the very outer portion. It is a waiting game to see how each variety ends the season. In the meantime, market vegetable production is in full swing and the apple crop is looking fabulous.”