Rob Last reports, “Fall cucurbit crops, including cantaloupes and watermelons, are ripening and approaching harvest. Disease pressure from powdery mildew and gummy stem blight has really increased significantly over the last week. Maintaining a tight spray program will be key to managing diseases. As we look forward to strawberry planting, the land is being prepared. If you plan to fumigate, ensure the plant back interval between fumigation application and planting is maintained. A good test can be to plant some lettuce seed in the treated area. When lettuce germinates, the risk of damage from fumigation is reduced. Finally, on any remaining fall plantings, consider using a labeled pre-emergent herbicide to help with weed management. Once the crop and weeds emerge, options are drastically reduced.
Zack Snipes reports, “Land is being prepared, and fall crops are going in around the Lowcountry. Early fall crops look better with the slightly cooler temperatures and periodic rain. However, we are wet in some parts. I am seeing lots of bacterial spot in the fall tomato crop. We have good herbicide management plans for greens, but folks will need to take advantage of pre-emergents now.”
Justin Ballew reports, “This past week was fairly rainy. Several fields are pretty soft, even some sandy fields. Folks are still planting brassicas for the fall, and they are looking really nice right now. Strawberry growers are also getting prepped to fumigate and lay plastic. We’ve seen a lot of damping off (Pythium) in young cucurbits and some brassicas lately. The wet weather is definitely creating the perfect conditions for this. A few things that can be done to help minimize damping off include planting on plastic beds, planting at the proper depth (just deep enough to cover the plug with native soil), rotating fields wisely (tomatoes are a host for Pythium), and using a fungicide at planting may also make sense when environmental conditions are right for Pythiumdevelopment.”
Phillip Carnley reports, “Cucumber production is in its final stages here in Orangeburg and Calhoun counties, with most growers close to or in the process of harvesting. There is still a noticeable amount of cucurbit downy mildew, but it has been easier to keep in check due to the dryer weather. Sweetpotatoes are currently being dug with yields looking to be fairly good. There have been a few issues with wireworm damage in sweetpotato fields, with the majority of the damage being seen on the lighter-colored tubers. Diamondback caterpillar is ramping up in brassica crops, especially in collards. Make sure to scout early and treat in a timely fashion; if your insecticide program is not showing the desired level of control, talk with your local agent about scheduling a bioassay to screen your population’s resistance to different insecticides. Also, be on the lookout for black rot and other fungal problems in early transplants.”
Sarah Scott reports, “We received some heavy rain in areas throughout Edgefield and Aiken Counties last week, up to 2 inches in spots. In preparation for October planting, plastic has been laid in strawberry fields. Brassica crops are being planted as field conditions allow. Late summer plantings of broccoli are starting to get some good size on them. Pepper plants that were put out in August are setting fruit that is starting to size up nicely.”