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SC Fruit and Vegetable Field Report – April 26, 2021

Coastal

Rob Last reports, “Crops in the area continue to develop well, and I expect this to continue after some welcome rainfall over the weekend. Following the rain over the weekend and returning to warm temperatures, keep scouting for diseases in crops and ensure fungicide applications are made promptly. Spider mites show activity in a range of crops from strawberries to peppers, tomatoes, and blackberries. Cucumber beetles are beginning to be found in sticky traps. Currently, no damage is being seen to crops.”

Zack Snipes reports, “We finally got some rain last week that I think will benefit all of our crops. Spider mites were the talk of the community last week. I saw high populations on strawberries as well as blackberries. On farms with mixed produce, you will want to scout all crops, even if they are at a stage where they normally wouldn’t have mites. I found mites on tomatoes last week because they were adjacent to a strawberry crop. We need to get on top of this pest before it’s too late.

Taking good photos of spider mites is tough but, on this leaf, you can see several two-spotted spider mites. Don’t wait until you see symptomatic damage to manage this pest.Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson University

Taking good photos of spider mites is tough but, on this leaf, you can see several two-spotted spider mites. Don’t wait until you see symptomatic damage to manage this pest.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson University

Midlands

Justin Ballew reports, “We had a cold event in the midlands that seems like it got around 5 degrees colder in most areas than what was forecasted. It got to 35 at my house Wednesday night/Thursday morning. South of Columbia and Lake Murray, I only heard a couple of reports of light frost, but north of Columbia, I heard reports of the temperatures reaching 31. We’re certainly going to see some damage in those areas to spring crops that weren’t covered. On another note, strawberries are yielding well right now. Growers are reporting that yields are at times outpacing sales. We finally got some rain this weekend (just under an inch at my house), so we’re going to see some water-damaged berries, and the moisture will give grey mold an opportunity to increase. The rain was good news for spider mite management, as their populations had been thriving in the dry conditions. Diamondback moth populations are increasing in brassicas, so keep up with scouting.”

Strawberries have been yielding well, and berry size has been quite large on some cultivars. Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson University

Strawberries have been yielding well, and berry size has been quite large on some cultivars.
Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson University

We haven't seen much grey mold lately, but the rain we had over the weekend may allow it to make a comeback. Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson University

We haven’t seen much grey mold lately, but the rain we had over the weekend may allow it to make a comeback.
Justin Ballew, ©2021, Clemson University

Pee Dee

Bruce McLean reports, “Last week’s brief kiss of frost doesn’t appear to have caused any significant problems on the crops. But it is starting to get a bit dry. Sweet corn and pea emergence have been looking good, with most locations having an excellent stand. Cucurbit crops are starting to emerge, as well. Transplant tomatoes are looking very good. Everyone is taking advantage of this beautiful weather to plant vegetable crops and blueberries… just don’t forget to irrigate. Strawberry harvest is peaking right now, and the fruit looks really good. Disease pressure is pretty low, but spider mite activity is high in many locations. In blueberries, much of the damaged fruit (from the Easter freeze) is beginning to shed off of the plant. Hopefully, this will continue… so lingering damaged fruit will not slow down harvest (starting in a few weeks). Muscadines are starting to show some early flower bud development.”

Early flower bud developing on a Carlos muscadine. Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson University

Early flower bud developing on a Carlos muscadine.
Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson University

Crimson clover cover crop in a muscadine vineyard is a beautiful sight to see. It serves as a great habitat for beneficial insects. Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson University

Crimson clover cover crop in a muscadine vineyard is a beautiful sight to see. It serves as a great habitat for beneficial insects.
Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson University

Blueberries planted on plastic mulch covered beds. The plastic reduces the development of weeds, thereby reducing competition for the newly planted blueberry plants. Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson University

Blueberries planted on plastic mulch covered beds. The plastic reduces the development of weeds, thereby reducing competition for the newly planted blueberry plants.
Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson University

Tony Melton reports, “Peppers, cucumber, and tomatoes are just sitting and not growing. Extra fertilizer will do little for growth in these cool conditions. Cabbage needs to be sprayed for thrips, sclerotinia, and caterpillars. Cabbage, collards, and greens are loving the cool weather, so properly side-dress to keep them growing. Strawberries are loving these cool conditions and are really producing. We are having an overabundance of local strawberries, making them hard to sell – many are being discarded. We had just a small amount of wind damage. Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber plants were not big enough to act like a sail and be blown (twisted-off) in the wind. We received just enough rain to start planting dryland peas. I know I will regret saying this – “but I hope it warms up soon.”

Upstate

Kerrie Roach reports, “Every day brings us a little closer to May in the Upstate, and with that brings a little less chance of a frost or freeze event. Last week Thursday brought on lows of 30 to 32 degrees F in many places causing damage to warm season crops as well as landscapes across the upstate. Strawberry growers have slowed since the cool weather, but production will start to pick back up with warmer days and nights this week.”

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

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