Wayne County IPM Notes for the week of May 10 – May 14

Agronomic Crops

            This week again, we saw sustained activity and feeding from the alfalfa weevil. At this point, we have started to observe some of the weevil reaching later stages of development and beginning to pupate. In cases where there is a poor alfalfa stand, the weevil damage is more severe as compared to feeding in a full, healthy stand.

Alfalfa weevil cocoon. Tommy Becker photo.

            As the alfalfa continues to grow taller, we also noticed some lodging where after heavy rains, the alfalfa began to lay over. This is not a major concern, but just something to be aware of.

            While driving around the county, we did observe some corn fields that were planted, and the corn plants are beginning to emerge. In our travels we did not see any soybean fields, although, we have heard reports of some soybeans emerging as well.

Vegetable Crops

            Remember to keep your high tunnels ventilated and not too wet as not doing so can lead to conditions that can create the perfect environment for diseases. As such, we began to observe high tunnel tomatoes with early blight. Low humidity, consistent air movement and proper plant spacing can all help to avoid experiencing certain foliar and root diseases.

Early flea beetle feeding on young cole crops.

Other than vegetables in high tunnels, some cole crops and lettuce are planted. Onions and fall planted garlic are also handling this cool wet weather with relative ease. As a word of caution, wet soils and cold temperatures do not equate to great growing conditions for both transplants and direct seeded crops. Some crops handle it much better than others. For crops like summer squash, peppers, and tomatoes, it would be wise to hold off for a bit longer before attempting to get them in the ground.

We did note some frost damage to potatoes that were emerging. We also spotted some flea beetles on cole crops this week.

Sweet corn that was planted early is somewhere around the V2 mark, standing about 3-4” tall. Given some warm temperatures and sunshine, the corn will really take off.

Small Fruit and Orchards

            Apples are at fruit development. Peaches are at shuck split. No CM or OFM concerns at this point in the orchards.

Blueberries are in petal fall and are setting fruit. We are starting to see Phomopsis blight in some blueberry bushes.

Ripening “plasticulture” strawberries. Tommy Becker photo.

Raspberries are getting ready to bloom and overall seem to be coming along just fine.

Strawberry varieties that were early to bloom, and left uncovered, likely suffered heavy bloom loss due to the freezing temperatures that we experienced. Some early blooming varieties had very few, if any, healthy looking blooms. They will still put on new blooms, but do not expect large yields from early season strawberries. Early varieties of plasticulutre strawberries that were covered and protected from the cold are setting fruit and beginning to ripen.

Grapes also experienced some damage due to the cold temperatures. Currently, grapes are around the bud burst stage, and some are at the 4-8” shoot stage. Some buds that were exposed to the cold have died; others look damaged. We are still waiting to see the full extent of the frost damage in many of our small fruit and orchard crops.

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