Weekly Field Updates
- The area’s soil has been dry, with no significant rainfall recorded since mid-October, until this past weekend.
- Following last week’s freeze events, growth is recovering well on all fall crops, with strawberries putting on new leaves and developing well. Brassicas and leafy greens all look very good, with some strong color observed in red leaf lettuce.
- Crops coming to market include beets, radishes, some early broccoli, collards, mustards, turnips, and lettuce; all displaying excellent quality.
- Disease pressure remains low, which is one benefit of the dry weather conditions. Keep scouting as early detection makes management much more straightforward.
- Pest numbers are beginning to increase. I am seeing increasing numbers of aphids in brassicas, with colonies building very rapidly. I am also seeing odd aphid individuals in strawberries, too.
- Diamondback moth numbers in the Lowcountry are beginning to build, and I am seeing a few more in the Midlands.
- Remember to rotate modes of action with insecticides and choose the most selective material first, which will help predators and parasitoid numbers to recover.
- We had a fall harvest of some day-neutral strawberries in my area this week along with some fungal issues popping up here and there. It’s important to remember that preventative fungicides are NOT curative, so they need to be applied BEFORE signs of disease. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
- This time of year is perfect for soil sampling updates. Get it done now and you will have adequate time before spring to get any recommended amendments incorporated in the soil. This is especially important if you are needing to add lime to your soil. Lime breaks down slowly and therefore will need to be added weeks in advance of planting.
- Here in the Upstate, we had some much-needed rain showers come through this weekend. We’re still hoping for more to bring us out of the drought conditions here, so keep an eye on the drought meter.
- The temperatures seem to have cooled here over the weekend, but keep an eye on the weather as the occasional warm day may still pop up.
- Apple season is coming to an end with most varieties having been picked. A few late varieties still have a few apples left for picking. The growers will get a much-needed break before gearing up to do it all over again next year.
- New peach orchard soil is being prepared for planting next year. It is critical to make sure all of the lime and phosphorus are worked into the ground now in preparation. Phosphorus typically needs 100 pounds per acre. Neither of these are mobile in the soil, which is why they have to be incorporated. Potassium levels vary greatly but may be needed preplant as well.
- We are also pruning an overgrown blueberry farm. Grower will have to crew top these plants first, then a hand pruning crew will selectively remove 4 to 5 of the oldest canes, often easily seen by lichen hitchhiking on its bark.
- Strawberry growers, keep scouting. We are finding spider mites, root rot and crown anthracnose.