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SC Fruit and Vegetable Field Report. – April 19, 2021

Coastal

Zack Snipes reports, “We had some nice weather last week. The tomato crop is looking great, as are most of our cucurbits and greens. I am seeing increased caterpillar pressure across the area. We had several calls from across the state early last week about sunburned strawberries. We went and visited the farms and tried to rule out disease, frost damage, etc. The only thing we came up with is some sort of sunburn damage. The damage was most prevalent on the southern facing sides of beds where there was poor canopy coverage. I also saw damaged tissue on tender lettuce, in my citrus plots at the CREC and on some new shoots of ornamentals at my house. I checked the solar radiation at the weather station at the CREC, and the units (W/m2) were 300-500 units higher on Monday compared to the prior 4 days. Perhaps we had intense UV levels and higher temperatures that led to this damage? Here is a really great article on the types of sunburn on plants and fruit.”

Discolored, damaged, and unmarketable strawberries. Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Discolored, damaged, and unmarketable strawberries.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

The berries were clean on the inside and had no bad odors or flavor. Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

The berries were clean on the inside and had no bad odors or flavor.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Solar radiation measurement from a weather station at Coastal REC in Charleston. Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Solar radiation measurement from a weather station at Coastal REC in Charleston.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “The weather was a little cooler last week, and we are really dry here in the midlands. I’ve had less than 4 tenths of an inch of rain so far in the month of April, which has been really helpful for disease management in strawberries. I’ve seen very little grey mold compared to years past. Spider mites are enjoying the dry weather, though. I’m starting to see populations really grow, so keep a close eye on that. Caterpillar populations appear to be building, though overall, they are still low on spring planted brassicas. Tomatoes and cucurbits have been going in the ground and doing well so far. Sweet corn is growing well, and it’s hard to even tell some of the leaves were burned by the cold a couple weeks ago.”

Two-spotted spider mites on the underside of a strawberry leaf. Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Two-spotted spider mites on the underside of a strawberry leaf.
Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Using broad spectrum insecticides kills beneficials, like this lacewing, which can lead to explosive mite population growth. Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Using broad spectrum insecticides kills beneficials, like this lacewing, which can lead to explosive mite population growth.
Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Sarah Scott reports, “Peach producers are continuing thinning fruit since we feel that we have a good assessment of what was damaged by cold. Growers who have varieties with significant losses may want to take a look at a reduced spray schedule to ensure adequate disease and pesticide coverage for the season. It’s important to maintain orchards even if they are not going to produce a crop to maintain the health of the trees.”

Pee Dee

Tony Melton reports, “Cool night temperatures making strawberries, cabbage, collards, and greens happy. We are actually having a true spring this year. Labor is our #1 problem for small growers. Some crops have been destroyed by mistakenly applying the wrong chemicals, especially corn. Hundreds of acres of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are already planted and holding their own.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Peach and apple damage continues to be assessed. Weather forecasts in northern Oconee County for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning predict more cold weather, but growers are hoping for temperatures to stay above freezing as forecasted. Strawberries in the Upstate are starting to ripen. Last week most fields were being spot picked, but with warm sunny days, many of the u-pick operations are beginning to open this week. The cold temperatures predicted Tuesday night/Wednesday morning could become an issue for berry growers depending on location, elevation, and air movement.”

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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