South Carolina: Pee Dee Wheat in the Boot Stage

Image from Justin Ballew, Clemson University

There is a lot of wheat out there starting to push out heads.  It’s been growing quickly since the cold a couple weeks ago.  Here’s a photo of a few heads just starting to peek out of the flag leaf.


There are some tillers out there that aren’t going to make it.  The growing point was killed when the temperature made it down to 22 degrees.  The tillers are still green, but there is no longer any head development.  In most places, the amount of damage is surprisingly low.  There will be some yield reduction as a result, but we should still be able to make a crop.


Cold damaged tiller. The growing point died while this emerging leaf was developing.

Now is the time to put out preventative fungicides.  At this point the most important factor in disease control is protecting our flag leaf.  Keep an eye out for powdery mildew and leaf rust.  Rust was terrible last year, so get out and scout on a regular basis.  To see fungicide recommendations, look at page 218 in the SC Pest Management Guide.

There are also some cereal leaf beetles out there.  The threshold for those is 1 on every other tiller (50%).  If needed, Insecticide recommendations start on page 212 of the Pest Management Guide.


Cereal leaf beetle larva and feeding damage on wheat leaf.

If you would like help scouting your wheat for insects or diseases, please contact your local Clemson Extension Agent.

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