Zack Snipes reports, “Another rainy, wet, and cold week last week. Some sunshine and warmer temperatures are coming this week. All of our fruit crops have received their chill hours and are just waiting to burst out for spring. I expect to really see fruit crops take off this week. Make sure that you have a fertility plan for the spring crop. Don’t let your crop be without fertility at the critical moments. For more information on fruit fertility, visit https://smallfruits.org/ipm-production-guides/. For smaller farms, Clemson’s Home Garden and Information Center is a wonderful resource as well.”
Justin Ballew reports, “To say last week was wet would be an understatement. We received about 4 inches of rain at my house last week, and the ground was already saturated before it started. I’ve seen water standing even in sandy fields. On the bright side, irrigation ponds are looking full. Most strawberry growers have covered their fields to protect the blooms now. This means we should start seeing our first ripe fruit around mid-March. Don’t forget to start tissue sampling so we can make sure the plants are getting everything they need as they are beginning to produce fruit.”
Kerrie Roach reports, “A beautiful weekend of weather was much needed for tree fruit growers getting in orchards and finishing up dormant pruning for the year. Pruning out dead, diseased, and damaged limbs, opening the canopy, and reducing overall vegetative growth is extremely important for tree fruit integrated pest management (IPM). Pruning increases light penetration and air movement, reducing disease potential, and also allows for better spray coverage during application. More rain today and even more projected toward the end of the week will continue to delay any fieldwork, as the ground is oversaturated.
Andy Rollins reports, “Found major scale problem on large scale muscadine producer’s farm. Scale was identified on the main scaffolds and also on last year’s wood. Mineral oil (Damoil) is labeled but is recommended at a much lower rate than other fruits. Only 1% by volume or 1 gallon per 100 gallons of water, but needs 200 gallons of total solution applied per acre to get sufficient coverage. This is because the oil needs to get into very tight areas where the scale can reside. We also recommended the use of a labeled insecticide with the oil to increase efficacy. Once the plants come out of dormancy, other products are available, but determination will be made at that time if necessary. Peach and strawberry production had no major issues to address. One strawberry farm began picking the last week of January this year in high tunnel production and picked 30 flats of fruit and is still producing.