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SC Fruit and Vegetable Field Report June 29, 2021

Coastal Region

Rob Last reports, “Peaches and blackberries are coming to harvest with good quality and volumes. As yet, we are not seeing any issues with spotted winged drosophila. Vigilance will be required as this pest can be troublesome in blackberries. Watermelons and cantaloupes are coming off well. However, we are seeing cucurbit downy mildew in watermelons. Spray programs will need to be robust through to the end of harvest to manage the disease. The disease is characterized by brown or yellow spots on the leaves with grayish-purple sporulation on the underside of the leaves. Anthracnose is also starting to show up as angular lesions on the stems, leaves, and fruit in some fields. Tomatoes and peppers are looking good, with some anthracnose fruit rot being seen. There are active spider mites too in some crops. Vigilance and scouting is the order of the day to keep on top of disease and pest issues.”

Zack Snipes reports, “Everything from arugula to zucchini is coming in right now in the Lowcountry. This next week is usually one of the busiest weeks for us, as July 4th approaches. Cucurbit crops are starting to look rough after multiple pickings, disease pressures, and lots of rain. The tomato crop and watermelon crops are coming off nicely. I am seeing a good bit of blossom end rot and sunscald in pepper. Blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency that is usually seen when we have uneven soil moisture levels. When it’s hot and there is a heavy crop load, you may need to water more than you think. In our sandy soils, more frequent, shorter irrigation cycles (45 minutes or so) is better than letting irrigation systems run all night. Sunscald is common when there is poor canopy coverage in the pepper allowing the sun to shine directly on the pepper. This is usually a result of root rot or poor fertilization, inhibiting a good leaf canopy from developing.”

Massive blackberries are coming in right now. Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson University

Massive blackberries are coming in right now.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson University

Sunscald symptoms on bell pepper. Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Sunscald symptoms on bell pepper.
Zack Snipes, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Pee Dee Region

Tony Melton reports, “Hard at work picking peppers and tomatoes, and using a lot of sun protection products on crops. Thrips are really bad on peaches losing about 1/3 of #1s. Weeds are bad because of all the rain we had when we should have been plowing – especially pickles and sweet potatoes. Butterbeans and peas are in fair abundance.”

Bruce McLean reports, “Vegetable crops have been growing well, as of late. Sweet corn, peas, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, snap beans, and zucchini are all being harvested in good volumes. There have been a couple of tomato fields where Southern Blight was seen pretty widespread across the field. Cucurbit Downy Mildew (CDM) is widespread across the Pee Dee, as well as Cowpea Curculio. Growers spraying more targeted (management) fungicides for CDM (like Orondis Opti, Gavel, and Ranman) are controlling the disease much better than those applying preventative sprays like Bravo and mancozeb. It seems like everyone is having trouble controlling the Cowpea Curculio, though. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and okra should be ready for harvest in about a week. Blueberries are still going pretty strong with good volumes and quality. Blackberries are winding down. Muscadines are coming along, but the crop looks like it may be a bit short this year.”

Cowpea Curculio was found feeding inside the shell. Not a sight that the grower wants to see, nor the consumer. Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Cowpea Curculio was found feeding inside the shell. Not a sight that the grower wants to see, nor the consumer.
Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Cowpea Curculio damage is extensive even with 5-day spray intervals. Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Cowpea Curculio damage is extensive even with 5-day spray intervals.
Bruce McLean, ©2021, Clemson Extension

Upstate Region

Kerrie Roach reports, “Strawberries are finished, and blueberries are king in the upstate. Weather in the region has been varied, and irrigation is key to smaller market producers right now. Spotty showers across the area have left hit & miss spots that may need supplementation. Summer pruning is on the horizon for apple producers; more info to come on a meeting in July.”

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

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