I know this seems very obvious to most growers as we have sunscald every year in our vegetable plantings. This year just seems to be especially bad as I have gotten several calls from growers about a strange problem in their peppers that looks like sunscald, but couldn’t be. The reason given that it could not be sunscald is because the plants have thick foliage and the fruit seem well covered.
Southern blight is a fungal disease that is most common in the tropics and subtropics, but also is found in the SE United States in the summer. In Maryland we usually find it in the southern part of the state in counties like St.
Mary’s, Charles and Wicomico. It has been found this year in more northern counties such as Frederick, Montgomery and Baltimore.
Over the years several high tunnel (HT) growers have complained to me about how after 4-5 years of growing various vegetables (although tomatoes were the most grown) in their high tunnel they are seeing poorer yields and ‘unthrifty plants’. This seems puzzling because they have put a great deal of compost in their HT and the soil looks great. The problem I think is high soluble salts in the soil which will damage overall plant fitness and yield.
As this growing season winds down and for the next few weeks it is a good time to examine vegetable roots for root knot nematode (RKN). I would be suspicious of having RKN if my vegetables seemed to need more water than normal or wilted during the heat of the day and recovered later or plants had nutrient deficiency symptoms rarely seen in your fields and the addition of fertilizers did not seem to alleviate the deficiency symptoms.
The Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) Halyomorpha halys (Figs. 1 and 1a) was accidentally introduced into the United States in shipping containers arriving from Asia. The first confirmed specimen was collected in Allentown, PA in October 2001, although there is evidence that it was collected from black light traps in New Jersey as early as 2000.
Because of the bright sunny days we have had in the past 3-4 weeks as well as higher temperatures lately vegetables in high tunnels (HT) are highly susceptible to thrips and two spotted spider mite infestations because of the hot dry conditions.
There has been a large and rapid increase in brown marmorated stink bug BMSB) in some pepper fields in the past week in central Maryland. Numbers just two weeks ago in these areas were very low with just a few nymphs observed.
We know that BMSB populations tend to increase in August and through the fall into the first frost, but this was such a rapid increase that a great deal of damage was done to bell and banana peppers.