SC Fruit and Vegetable Field Report – March 25, 2024

Our recent Question of the Week post about the latrine from the War of 1812 received a lot of attention over the last week. Here is an article from the Charlotte Observer that provides a little more information on the find.

Check out the latest episode of the SC Grower Exchange Podcast below. Don’t forget to look at our resources tab for links to crop handbooks, helpful websites, and related blogs.

Coastal Region

Anna Sarah Hill

  • Spring is here, the weather is changing, and asparagus spears are being cut.
  • Area growers are busy prepping fields, including laying plastic, repairing irrigation lines, spraying row middles for weed control, fertilizing and beginning to plant.
  • Several watermelon growers already have plants in the ground under tunnels. Others will be planting this week or next.
  • If there are any leafy greens that have bolted and have not been plowed under yet, now is the time to do it, as they are a haven for insect pests awaiting the opportunity to invade newly planted crops.
  • Local peach trees are in full bloom, and it appears this could potentially be a “bumper crop” this year. Many of the trees will need to be thinned. Remember to wait until 7 days post-petal drop to begin applying insecticides.
  • Keep an eye out for peach blossom blight, as it can increase the chance of pre-harvest brown rot. Best recommendation practice is to spray 2 protectant sprays in peach blocks that had brown rot the previous season and in blocks that had brown rot cankers or mummies during dormant pruning.
  • Some pecans are beginning to bud out or will be soon, which is the time to begin spraying fungicides. Deploy traps along the edges of woods near your orchards to monitor for Ambrosia beetles. If beetles are present, holes and sawdust will be observed.
Peaches are in full bloom in the lower part of the state.

Peaches are in full bloom in the lower part of the state.
Anna Sarah Hill, ©2024, Clemson Extension

Zack Snipes

  • It was a windy week in the Lowcountry. I am seeing some stunting, yellowing, cold damage, and even wind/sand burn on some young plants this week. Early squash plantings look the worst with wind and sand burn but should pop out of it with warm weather and time.
  • I saw at least a billion spider mites in one field of early squash last week. I’m not sure why they were so prevalent and active.
  • I am also seeing an increase in mite pressure in strawberries. Our strawberries had our first big flush of fruit and are recovering. Make sure to get botrytis berries out of the field and spray for mites if you reach the threshold of 10 spider mites per leaflet.
Cold damage and wind and sand burn on a young squash.

Cold damage and wind and sand burn on a young squash.
Zack Snipes, ©2024, Clemson Extension

Early planted tomatoes look OK, considering the weather that we have had.

Early planted tomatoes look OK, considering the weather that we have had.
Zack Snipes, ©2024, Clemson Extension


Rob Last

  • Strawberries are developing well, and increasing volumes of great quality fruit are coming to market. Keep an eye on mites, even where applications have been made. Keep scouting for disease and maintain fungicide applications. As we get some ripened fruit, check for over-ripe and water-soaked berries. Removing these will help to reduce disease pressure. Thrips are present in the flowers. I am finding the native Eastern Flower thrips, which are not damaging and do not require treatment. The only way to determine which thrips species is present is by looking under the microscope.
  • Brassica transplants and leafy green are looking great. Keep scouting for diamondback moths; numbers are increasing. Where pesticides are being applied, remember to rotate the modes of action.
Brassica transplants are becoming established in the Midlands.

Brassica transplants are becoming established in the Midlands.
Rob Last, ©2024, Clemson Extension

Sarah Scott

  • We’ve had some cooler temperatures and rain this past week. Last Tuesday morning, we reached lows right around 30 in Edgefield County, but the temperature quickly rose, and we do not suspect any cold damage to fruiting crops. Some weather station readings were a little lower in Aiken County, but again, the amount of time at those lower temperatures does not seem to be enough to worry about damage at this time.
  • Peaches are moving along nicely, and we are already into post-bloom stages on most varieties.
  • Strawberry harvest has begun. Growers are picking lightly. The cooler temperatures and rain likely will slow things down a bit for a day or so, but the forecast has much warmer temperatures by the week’s end, which will catch things up quickly. Still seeing heavy mite populations in spots. Will be keeping an eye out for botrytis on ripening berries as well.

Pee Dee

Brittney King

  • I’ve seen a few instances of pushing too much nitrogen to strawberries this past week. In some fields, plants have 15-20 flowers, which will end up causing fruit size to be very small. If you have a large amount of flowers/fruit compared to leaves, it is recommended to decrease the nitrogen by 30%. Growers were able to get out protectant sprays before the rain started this weekend, which should help with any fungal issues, especially Botrytis and anthracnose. It is important to continue scouting for spider mites and cyclamen bud mites and contact your local Extension agent if you think you have either. Strawberry picking is now underway, mainly with the Camarosa variety, but I am seeing some Fronteras on the market as well.
  • I am seeing an uptick in diamondback moth, so it is a good time to scout and apply sprays. Bt is a great biological insecticide that will target caterpillar larvae and kill them within a few days.
Camarosa with too many blooms, meaning berries may not reach marketable size.

Camarosa with too many blooms, meaning berries may not reach marketable size.
Brittney King, ©2024, Clemson Extension

Diamondback moth larvae on a cabbage leaf.

Diamondback moth larvae on a cabbage leaf.
Brittney King, ©2024, Clemson Extension


Andy Rollins

  • Peach wise, we are praying for continued favorable weather as temperatures have come close, but as of now, have caused no significant damage in the Upstate. One Laurens County grower did have some losses. We are looking forward to a great peach year, but we are not out of the woods yet.
  • Many peach growers have been trying Accede, a labeled thinning product, to reduce bloom numbers. They have had varied success depending on the concentration, variety, and conditions the material was applied under. This is an attempt to save on the exorbitant labor costs. Many have been wary of this practice because of loss potential. Growers need to look for entire fallen blooms on the ground, not just petals, to get an idea of how well it is working.
  • Some strawberry fields have let the ryegrass get too aggressive and need to consider killing it. When ryegrass gets above the shoulders of the beds, it is time to consider this.  Some growers are using turf-type ryegrass varieties that are dwarfed and could be kept alive longer.
  • I would encourage growers to scout for mites and make sure they are getting good coverage with protectant fungicides. We are starting to pick, albeit slow starting.
  • One last peach farm just planted, and a new blueberry farm is going in this week.
When ryegrass overtakes the shoulders of the beds, it’s time to kill it.

When ryegrass overtakes the shoulders of the beds, it’s time to kill it.
Andy Rollins, ©2024, Clemson Extension

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

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