REPORTS FROM THE FIELD (as of July 12)
Adults and eggs of squash bugs, a mid?season pest of cucurbits, were seen at 3 locations. The small, bronze?colored eggs are usually found on the undersides of leaves in a slightly irregular pattern at the juncture of two veins. Leafhoppers are infesting crops in most locations, but not always in numbers that warrant control. Tarnished Plant Bug is still around, feeding on the stems and tender new shoots of lettuce, flowers on pepper plants, and many cut flowers. Flea beetles are still damaging late planted crops, and imported cabbage worm larvae are feeding on brassicas while the adult moths continue to lay eggs. Early blight was seen on tomatoes and/or potatoes in several locations. It is time to start protective fungicide applications on these crops if you haven't already. Powdery mildew was seen on cucurbits in Shoreham and on strawberries in Fairfax. From the Eye on the Ground, Pam Adams (IPM Scout)
We ended up with a good-average strawberry season. It was really dry, but after last year's floods, I won't complain about having to irrigate. Some things I noted this year: Annapolis is our big winner for the early part of the season, but it has to be managed carefully for fungus diseases. We love Jewel, but it seems to thrive only on virgin land (for strawberries) which we're running out of, so we may have to say good-bye to this great variety. Cavendish berries ripened with more white on them than ever this year. Flavor was good, but it sure requires a lot of explaining to the customers. We also noticed that the stalk holding the fruit cluster on a lot of Cavendish plants breaks under the weight of the enlarging fruit. I'd be curious to hear if other growers have noticed this. Pre?picked sales just keep going up. (New Haven)
Still no rain in this sector of the Connecticut River Valley. We have lost 4 acres of our sweet corn crop this year but are able to keep the rest of the vegetables going through an elaborate system of solid set, travelers, drip and hoses. The dry weather was perfect for harvesting strawberries, fruit was clean to the end. Although crop was light, we got all of it. Now in the process of renovating and trying to clean up the weed issues we neglected during strawberry season. Picking field tomatoes 7/10 (very early for us), finishing up peas and starting green beans. Leaf hoppers on mums, small bean plants and clouds in the potatoes. Cuke beetle infestations in remission, and corn borer count was a 7% infestation. (E. Hartland)
Rain and a break in the heat is a welcomed relief. We are out of lettuce for about a week, the heat pushed plantings to mature right on top of each other. Next plantings getting hit hard by tarnished plant bug. For first time in about 3-4 years we have had significant damage. Also notice TPB damage in basil, Jon Turmel explained how they affect the leaf buds and so the leaves unfold looking eaten. Beginning signs of purple blotch in onions brought on with wet weather and heavy dews. Starting to pick eggplant peppers look to be ready soon. (S. Royalton)
It is still dry, we got about 5 tenths of an inch of rain in the last two weeks. Potato beetles are still around and flea beetles have returned. Squash bugs are hatching but we are mostly hand picking rather than spraying. Cucumber beetles have gone away. Field tomatoes ripening way ahead of normal. Have some beautiful peppers and eggplant also. Some first signs of early blight on potatoes. Red headed flea beetles also showing up in large numbers. Tarnished plant bug damage in lettuce about normal and seems to be subsiding. (Charlotte)
We battled the heat and dryness the week following the 4th of July, everyone else was getting plenty of rain and we were getting missed. We finally accumulated an inch by dribs and drabs, .2" here .2" there. The heat brought the imported cabbage worms on in a hurry and caught some of the smaller plants by surprise. Just one worm on a small plant can do a lot of damage. We sprayed again for Potato Leaf Hopper, and it's saving the crop for sure. My Tom-cast calculations called for the tomatoes to have their first fungicide application on July 1 and them again on 7/11. They look fantastic this year. The combination of heat and dryness makes for very low disease pressure. (Strarksboro)
Substantial rainfall during the last couple of weeks so we haven't had to move any irrigation pipe. although great for the crops, it was even better for the crew. We can now concentrate on harvesting and cultivating. Plant health remains good and pest levels low. We've seen some leaf hopper on beans and imported cabbage worm on brassica. Early plantings of tomatoes are starting to trickle in. Eggplant, carrots, green beans, and garlic were distributed last week to our CSA members. We are experiencing an avalanche of summer squash. Strawberry beds were renovated. Fall plantings of carrots and Beets went in to nice soil conditions. (Hadley MA)
SMALL FRUIT TISSUE SAMPLES
To fine tune your soil fertility program, tissue tests are essential. Each sample should consist of 50 clean, healthy leaves taken from a dozen or more plants in a relatively uniform field or block. Do not mix leaves from good fields with those that have problems. Sample as follows: Strawberries: first fully expanded leaves that appear after renovation, usually in the last half of July. Blueberries: July 15 to August 15. Raspberries: non-fruiting canes in early to mid-August. Remove stems from leaves, place in clearly labeled dry paper bag. Send to: Ag Testing Lab, Hills Building, Burlington VT 05405-0082 along with $20 check per sample made out to UVM. For more info contact the lab at 800-244-6402
CUCURBIT LETHAL YELLOWING DISEASE
The UMass Plant Disease Clinic is seeking samples from New England growers that think they have this 'new' disease. CLYD may be due in part to the presence of the bacterial wilt pathogen, Erwinia tracheiphila, but the Dr. Rob Wick wants to collect more information. Symptoms include yellowing, curling or stunting of young foliage at the growing tips, resulting in a tufted appearance, as well as yellowing of the middle and older leaves which may also be scorched along the margins or between the veins, which often remain green. To send a sample for diagnosis, cut the stem of several plants 4 inches above ground, dig up the tap roots along with a pint of soil, and enclose roots in a pinched plastic bag so the soil does not get on the stems. Mail in a box to: Disease Diagnostic Lab, Fernald Hall, UMass Amherst 01003.
TWO-SPOTTED SPIDER MITES
Keep an eye out for this pest on cucurbits, tomatoes, beans and strawberries, especially during hot dry weather. Scout older leaves, using a hand lens, to see these small, pale spider-like creatures with their signature black spots. By the time you see leaf bronzing or webbing the populations are probably quite high. Low populations detected early might be managed with prompt introduction of predator mites. Pesticide options are listed in the New England Management Guides.