Have you begun your grape growing venture and suddenly found yourself with a host of problems that you’re not sure how to solve? Are you starting to feel frustrated about what to do and are ready to give up? Don’t lose hope! There are solutions to your problems. Read on for some answers to your top questions on grape vine diseases and pests, and finally be able to go ahead with growing grapes at last!
Grape Vine Diseases: Prevention, Identification and Cure
The most common grape vine diseases are fungal in origin. When your grape vines acquire diseases, the quality and quantity of the grapes you produce are affected. This is the main reason why grape growers find themselves with low to no yields—they hadn’t realized that their grapes have developed a host of diseases.
If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do with diseases is to prevent them from happening in the first place. And the best way to do this is to use grape vine canopy management. What exactly is this? A grape vine canopy is composed of leaves, shoots and grape clusters. When you have good canopy management, all the shoots, leaves, buds and fruits will be exposed to sunlight and you will have excellent air circulation, which is the best prevention of grape diseases.
When your grapes do acquire diseases, you must be able to identify them so you know how to treat them. Here are some common diseases and how to look out for them:
- Downy Mildew – caused by a fungus called Plasmopara viticola, this disease commonly results in significant crop loss. It is prevalent in wet and warm weather. Look for small, yellow areas on the leaves, which end up killing the leaves after a while. A white growth can also develop on your leaves and grapes, preventing the grapes from fully ripening.
- Black Rot – another fungus disease. Look for red-brown, circular spots on the leaves. As the disease progresses, these spots develop a black border, making the leaves wither. Commonly beginning around mid-June, this disease can destroy your entire vineyard if you do not control it.
- Crown Gall – bacterial in origin, from the species Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Symptoms of this disease are weird growths of plant tissue called “galls,” which weaken the grape vine and limit growth.
- Peach Rosette Mosaic – this virus comes from the soil, stunting and making the growth of your grape vine crooked.
Treatment of these diseases involves the use of sprays. For fungus diseases, you can use fungicidal sprays before, during and after the fruits bloom. An effective way is to use combination fungicides. For crown gall, prevention is again better than cure. Prevent this bacteria from getting to your plants by inspecting new stock carefully and soaking the roots of new plants in antibacterial agent. Also, make sure to disinfect your pruning shears to stop it from spreading.
Prevention and early detection of the various grape vine diseases is your best bet to stop them from affecting your crops.
Grape Vine Pests: Prevention and Control
Some of the common grape vine pests include insects, birds and deer. Scales, mites and mealybugs are only a couple of insects that commonly plague a vineyard. Though some choose to use pesticides to control these pests, it is not really recommended as ultimately, the grapes you grow will be consumed by people. It’s a good thing that you can control most grape vine pests without the use of chemicals.
Predatory insects like ladybird beetles and lacewings that feed on these grape vine pests can be utilized. Infested grape shoots can be pruned away, sealed and discarded to prevent the pests from spreading. Make sure to remove litter and debris around your grape vines weeks before your vines bloom. These litter and debris are places where pests burrow during the winter for warmth.
Following these instructions will help you prevent and control these problems so you can finally go ahead with growing grapes at last!