Clemson reports downy mildew detected on S.C. watermelons
Downy mildew has made its way in to South Carolina watermelon crops and Clemson University Extension specialist Anthony Keinath advises growers to spray fungicides to cut their losses.
Downy mildew is a water mold that destroys plant foliage. It begins as dark, irregular spots that spread quickly on watermelon plants’ leaves, causing them to curl. It was found in a commercial watermelon crop in Charleston County Monday, a few days after Tropical Storm Cindy hit the East Coast.
“Downy mildew had been reported on watermelons in Alabama and Georgia,” Keinath said. “When Tropical Storm Cindy went through those two states, it picked up downy mildew spores, carried them and dropped the spores on South Carolina watermelons.”
Watermelons are a valuable crop in South Carolina. Each year, growers in the state harvest around 7,300 acres of watermelons valued at around $27.6 million, according to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.