By Clint Thompson
Increased rainfall the past couple of weeks in South Carolina means more potential for disease development in crops that are just getting ready for harvest. That is a concern for growers, says Clemson Extension agent Zack Snipes.
“We got a bunch (of rain) here in Charleston for sure. We got a bunch the previous week, too. It’s a little sloppy out there,” Snipes said. “Most of our crops down here on the island are coming in; tomatoes, cucumbers, squash. Plants are already stressed because they’ve got such a fruit load on them. Then you add six to eight inches of rain a week and you can’t get into the fields to spray fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, whatever. It makes for a perfect storm for disease especially if you had any there to begin with.”
What a difference a couple of weeks have made for producers in the Palmetto State. Up until about a week and a half ago, it hadn’t rained much, if at all. It contributed to abnormally dry conditions for much of the east and northeast parts of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
But the state is starting to get more rain during June. Snipes said portions of Charleston County received between 3.3 inches and 3.7 inches last week. It came down quick which is another concern with the added moisture.
“If we could have spread it out over a week we would have been all right but when you get two inches at once, it’s tough,” Snipes said.
Fortunately, there are a lot of sandy soils in South Carolina, which decreases the likelihood of standing water.
It has been a good spring for producers if they were able to keep their crop irrigated. There was good fruit set and good growth. Disease pressure was low amid dry conditions.
Planting for the fall crop will begin in August and early September.