By Clint Thompson
A wet winter in South Carolina has presented challenges to the state’s strawberry producers. But South Carolina’s strawberry production is looking good this year despite the rainy winter, according to Bruce McLean, Jr., Clemson (S.C.) Extension area commercial horticulture agent for Dillon County, Horry County, Marion County and Malboro County.
He said production this season is starting to pick up despite some disease issues associated with excessive moisture.
“The quality looks really good,” McLean said. “Because of the wet weather that we’ve had; we’ve had some (disease) issues with botrytis (gray mold); angular leaf spot, we’ve seen in a couple of different areas; and also some anthracnose. For the most part, it seems like we were able to control it pretty well.”
McLean said in his four-county area located in the northeastern part of the state, strawberry acreage is limited to smaller scale operations. He said there are approximately 10 to 12 strawberry farmers who tailor their crop to the retail market. All have had to deal with weather-related issues with this year’s crop. McLean said the rainfall totals have been “above normal.”
“We’ve just had an excess of water and it’s really flared up the gray mold and anthracnose and angular leaf spot,” said McLean. He pointed out his area in South Carolina is not alone with production challenges.
“Seems like everybody’s had very similar problems. The only other problem that we’ve really seen to any degree has been spider mites. It’s always kind of a perennial issue with strawberry production. It’s something that we are scouting for. Every time it seems like we have a hot spot, we identify it and make some recommendations and it quells it down a little bit,” McLean said.