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Watermelons in the Ground

Our watermelons have been in the ground for about 4 weeks now. As of now, we do have runners in our earliest planted fields. We got lots of leaves. To me, there is alot of difference in this year and last year at the same time. Consultant Coy Harpe and I were talking about how last year at this time it was still cold. Remember how cool the whole month of April was last year? We also had overcast days more last year. We were talking about how it’s been warmer and these plants have gotten more sunlight. They seem to be off to a better start this year.

I feel like we got our herbicides out timely and the way we need to do it. We’ve had a few folks transplant some bareground here at the end of transplanting. In this situation, we have to pull out the Curbit. We got a little nutsedge where we couldn’t use Relfex and trying to deal with that now. It’s not easy.

Growers have of course started spraying fungicide. I think we got started a little faster on fungicide this year due to that first rainy weekend.

So far, we have nothing serious confirmed in the county. There has been some Fusarium in the state already. We thought we may have had some issues that first week of April. We were seeing leaves with concentric circles and half circles arising from the edge. This can be a sign of Gummy Stem Blight (GSB). We took these to the lab and Jason cultured them out to find no disease whatsoever. This was coming from many different fields. Here are a few photos below.

Necrotic lesions on leaf tip from transplant shock or soluble salt injury. No GSB found in half circles. April 3rd

Some fields had more of this symptom which is more abiotic and no symptom of disease. We were not concerned about these. April 3rd

This was our most suspect, and it too did not culture out any pathogen. Highly resembling GSB. This was good news for us.

Insects

We saw a few seed corn maggots last year, mostly toward Turner County. Watermelons don’t usually have serious insect issues up front and throughout. We have to watch for whiteflies. I found 1 plant in this whole field that had a larvae which chewed into the stem. Once these plants get to 4 leaves, they are hardened off enough that we don’t have to much worry about seed corn maggot.

Insect damage on seedling. April 10th

Larvae on root. April 10th

This isn’t the whole county but here are some pictures from around the county:

Cannonville Road – April 3rd

Tripp Road. April 3rd

Owensboro Road. April 10th

Willingham Road. April 10th