Pests generally light in coastal vegetables

On the brighter side, growers and PCAs report pest pressures are relatively light on lettuce and cole crops in the Central Coast region.

Thrips and lygus were just starting to show up the first week of July, and worms and aphids through June had been unseasonably scarce.

“Lettuce and romaine pest pressures are very light,” says Henry Carrasco, PCA with Western Farm Service’s Salinas branch. “We are seeing no lettuce red aphids and very little mildew. There is very little worm or cabbage aphid pressure on cole crops.”

PCAs have been managing with no more than a single spray to control pests on cole crops and one or two sprays to control pests on lettuce and romaine, he says

Independent agronomist and PCA Gene Spencer says, “We found our first lettuce aphids in lettuce last week, which is very unusual,”.

He says overall pest pressures in the Santa Cruz and Monterey County areas have been very light.

After a brief heat wave in mid-June, weather has been relatively mild, providing good crop growth and relatively moderate degree days for pest development.

Farther inland, San Joaquin and Sacramento valley growers and PCAs reported crops were running slightly ahead of schedule following a fast and furious spring and bloom period. Aphid pressures were about average, but PCAs report that as temperatures have risen, mites and thrips have become a more significant problem.

PCA Geoffrey McInnes in the Sacramento Valley says with vegetation drying down, leafhoppers and sharpshooters are also becoming a problem in leafy greens, creating a full spectrum of pests.

“Worms are also showing up, so we are in full protection mode at this point,” he says. “This battle will last clear into late fall.”

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