The GREEN is flowing in South Carolina. Broccoli, cabbage, collards, turnips, mustard, kale, etc., are yielding well, or as Forrest Gump would say, “hauling buttocks.”

South Carolina is known for its greens, mostly crops such as collards, turnips and mustard, which are typical Southern favorites. However, many people – especially those of the Northern persuasion – have never developed a taste for our Southern delicacies.

Northerners eat the turnip bottoms (roots) and throw away the best part: the greens. It might be a little crude, but like my dad would say, “A good mess of greens would put a ‘Regular Smile’ on many a folk’s face.”

Maybe this is one reason we have “Smiling Faces and Beautiful Places” in South Carolina.

Southerners are beginning to enjoy kale and spinach because of all the high praise and attention they are receiving from nutritionists. However, I think all of this praise is due to the fact that most of these so-called expert nutritionists are from the north and would not know a good collard/turnip/mustard green if it bit them on the buttocks.

The green crops really enjoyed the cooler temperatures we experienced last week, but these high temperatures and heavy rains are tough on these cool-season crops. I don’t believe I have ever seen such a blow-up of downy mildew on greens.

Always remember the presence of the pathogen, plus a plant under stress, plus the wrong environmental conditions, equal bad disease problems. Even though I have been preaching it for years, it seemed like everyone forgot about one of our best tools in our arsenal against downy mildew and soil rots: the phosphites.

These products are systemic. In fact, they are the only fungicide that I know of that is systemic in both directions, because they move in the phloem and not just in the xylem, like many other products. In other words, when applied to the roots, they will go upward in the plant, and when applied to the leaves they will go downward in the plant.

Therefore, when conditions are right for disease development, you can apply it pre-plant, or when symptoms just begin, you can spray the top of the plants. It will go systemic in the plant and help control the foliar and soil rot diseases.

When sprayed preventatively, it will keep these bad diseases from taking control. However, if sprayed after the appearance of downy mildew, it will stop further development, but what I have seen is that the spots on the leaves where downy mildew is present will turn brown/dark.

Today, it seems that everyone has a phosphite product. Some are listed as fungicides, but some are just listed as fertilizers.

All types of other nutrients are added to these phosphites to further benefit the specific crop being grown. Most contain potassium, but others contain other nutrients like calcium, manganese, zinc, etc.

Therefore, pick the product that will provide the most benefits to your crop.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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