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UVM Fruit Blog

Beginning the 2019 viticulture season

Posted: April 20th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

After a long winter, spring is here and bud break is approaching. Plan on wrapping up pruning in the coming weeks and removing brush from the rive alleys to the burn pile (and burn it, too, to reduce overwintering insects and disease inoculum).

This is a good time to review your previous season’s spray records and to identify any gaps that may have led to disease issues. Weather in 2018 was variable across the state, with areas north of about Route 4 seeing very dry/drought conditions, and areas in the southern part of the state seeing above average rainfall. Overall, disease management was fairly easy in 2018 and disease incidence low. Don’t let that lull you into thinking that 2019 will necessarily be the same.

We have updated two disease management documents in 2017 for Vermont and area grape growers: a table of relative disease susceptibility of cold-climate cultivars and an initial IPM strategy for cold climate winegrapes. More information on general viticulture and other small fruit production can be found in the 2019 New England Small Fruit Management Guide , and the 2019 New York and Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes are now available and should be used in combination with specific pesticide labels to select pesticide materials for use in your IPM program.

One pesticide spray that is often considered by growers is a late dormant application of lime sulfur (LS) which aids in inoculum reduction against many diseases, especially phomopsis and anthracnose. Growers who have had more than a passing amount of either of those diseases, especially organic growers with more limited choice of materials during the growing season may consider applying this practice, but I make that recommendation with several caveats. While LS is an organically-approved pesticide, it is one of the most acutely toxic materials I have ever used, and demands special considerations for its use. It is also a restricted-used spray material, so unlicensed applicators may not purchase or apply it. LS (active ingredient calcium polysulfide) is very caustic; spray mixtures tend to have pH around 10-11, and that characteristic is what gives it its sanitizing effect as a biocide. Contact with skin or especially eyes must be avoided, and it is pretty noxious even when smelled through a respirator. This material demands respect. While those effects will dissipate in the field after sufficient washoff and degradation by rain and other elements, I would only plan on applying after pruning is finished so not to muck around in it after application. In fact, very thorough pruning out of all dead and diseased wood is an important cultural disease control practice, and if you have a lot of such wood left in the vineyard, spraying your way around pruning it out won’t help.

LS is typically labeled for application at "15-20 gallons per acre in sufficient water for coverage" (Miller Liquid Lime Sulfur). That is a very high amount of LS, and would be difficult to apply and very costly when applied to large acreages. The key is to fully soak all woody tissues in the vineyard. This may mean aiming all nozzles at the cordons, but that would leave the trunks uncovered. Alternatively, the sprayer could be operated to cover the whole zone from the fruiting wire down, which would waste a tremendous amount of spray. The best application may come from a careful handgun application, which will take a long time and should be done with full protective gear including heavy nitrile gloves, full face shield and respirator, and Tyvek or other chemical-resistant, disposable coveralls. It is hard to say how much you would apply per acre in a directed spray, since that would be much more efficient with less wasted spray than an airblast application. My suggestion would be to apply a 10% solution (1 gallon LS to 9 gallons water) by handgun to cordons and trunks in a very thorough soaking spray. If you need to use an airblast to cover more ground, I would concentrate my nozzles toward the cordons but leave one or two directed toward the trunks, that will waste spray between vines but will allow you to cover ground much quicker. Because of the reduction in efficiency, I would calibrate to apply ten gallons of LS per acre in at least fifty gallons of water.

Remember, this stuff is caustic, stinky, and degrades just about everything it touches. It’s also quite phytotoxic- application at these rates to vines after bud break will cause leaf damage if not outright defoliation. I have used a lot of LS during the growing season in organic apple production, and don’t recommend it there unless absolutely necessary. I do not have experience using it in-season (post-bud break) on grapes, so this recommended spray must be applied during the window between pruning and bud break. The spray, if left on tractors and in sprayer plumbing, will corrode hoses, gaskets, and even stainless steel. It must be thoroughly rinsed from sprayer systems and the rinsate applied back out in the vineyard, not dumped on the ground. Some growers have applied a film of vegetable oil via backpack prayer to tractors and sprayers before an LS application to prevent it from soaking into and corroding steel and other materials on equipment. It’s that bad, and I could show you sprayer hitches, mix screens, and ceramic nozzles that have been degraded by it.

With all that said, LS is extremely effective as a preventative practice to reduce disease inoculum, and I still recommend its use in vineyards where anthracnose and/or phomopsis have gotten a bit out of control. Just be careful out there and treat it with the same (and a little more) respect that you should retreat any pesticide.”

Good luck with your vineyard activities in the coming weeks, and let’s all hope for a ‘normal’, gradual spring warm-up.

-Terry

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

Green tip on apples expected as early as this week

Posted: April 14th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

After a long, drawn-out winter like those from the ‘good old days’, it’s hard to believe that spring often happens pretty quickly. By that I mean that we’ll shift from winter activities when the sleeping trees provide us plenty of time and bandwidth to tend to certain tasks, but when the buds open and green tissue starts showing, we need to shift and be ready for the growing season.

I predict that it is likely we’ll see some green tissue this week if we haven’t already in some of the warmer spots. That means that scab management should begin very shortly, with a copper application recommended on virtually all orchards between the green tip and no later than the 1/4” green tip bud stage. I would plan on applying copper to any orchard that had any amount of fire blight last year and which is showing green tissue or at least solid silver tip as soon as you have a suitable spray window. If possible, I would plan on applying copper to any orchard, period, that is between silver tip and half-inch green in the next 7-10 days. There is a pile of materials out there and for all intents and purposes for this delayed dormant spray any of them are effective as long as you are applying a good full rate of copper ions. The standard dry materials like Champ, C-O-C-S, Cuprofix, Kocide, etc. will give you the best bang for the buck here, and I would apply the full label rate for any of them and thoroughly spray the whole orchard. The only caveat I offer is if phenology advances rapidly before you can get out there and the trees are at 1/2” green tip, in that case, I would apply a low to middle rate. After 1/2” green tip, unless you don’t care about fruit finish (e.g., cider fruit), I would avoid copper.

This isn’t a bad time to get oil on, either, but the rate should be 2% by volume and coverage absolutely thorough to soak overwintering mite eggs, scale, and aphids. If time is of the essence, focus on copper first, especially in orchards south of the rain line that seemed to set up between Addison and Orange/Windsor counties last year which had a fair amount of scab going into the winter.

Speaking of which, there is still time to do some sanitation in the orchard by flail mowing leaves and fine brush, and/or applying a coarse urea spray (44 lb feed grade urea in 100 gal water applied per acre, directed at the leaf litter).to speed decomposition and reduce apple scab inoculum.

Keep an eye on NEWA regularly as we enter into the 2019 season. Up-to-date spray tables may be found in the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide available online at netreefruit.org and shortly in hard copy format.

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

Slightly late, but the return of the UMASS March Message

Posted: April 3rd, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

The late Dr. Ron Prokopy at UMASS was instrumental in pulling together the “March Message”, an pre-season update on IPM and other topics for tree fruit growers. Dr. Jaime Pinero, the ‘new’ UMASS Extension Entomologist, has revived this valuable tool, which I have attached here.

Key take-homes:

· Orchard sanitation this spring (especially critical for those who had scab issues last year)

· Disease management (rots, Marssonina)

· Insect management

· Invasive species status

· Plant growth regulators

· Pesticide updates

· Decision support systems

I also want to announce the pending publication of a print version of the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide. This has not been offered in print for several years. The printed guide will be a reformatted version of the material available online at www.netreefruit.org. I’ll post a notice when it is available to order. Copies will be $25 each.

Best,

Terry

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

27th Annual March Message (2019) 2.pdf

2019 New England Wine and Grape Growers Survey

Posted: February 8th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

I am working with an Lizzy Holiman, an undergraduate UVM student who is studying viticulture and wine making practices in relation to climate change adaptation in New England. If you have a couple of minutes to complete this survey that will guide her research question, we would really appreciate it. Please feel free to share with your contacts as well.

http://go.uvm.edu/-joa8

Thank you,

-Terry

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

VBFG Pruning workshops

Posted: January 20th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

This winter, the UVM Fruit Program will hold a number of apple and grape pruning workshops around the state as part of the Vermont Beginning Fruit Grower (VBFG) project. Each workshop will be limited to twelve people so that we may provide time and attention to each participant. The first workshop will be February 1 at the UVM Horticulture Research & Education Center in South Burlington. Registration for that workshop can be found at: http://www.regonline.com/pruningworkshop

Other workshops will be held primarily the week of March 11-15, and watch for further information in the near future.

Thanks,

Terry

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

Vermont Beginning Fruit Growers Program

Posted: January 18th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

I will be announcing the start of the UVM Fruit Program’s Vermont Beginning Fruit Grower Program (VBFG). This project is funded for eighteen months through a Vermont Specialty Crops Block Grant through the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

There are two primary deliverables for this project. First is an interactive email list that will provide a forum for beginning growers to interact with one another and with experienced growers. This peer-to-peer learning will greatly enhance the knowledge base among beginning fruit growers and address the bottleneck of having one person (me) who is only able to devote partial time to answering individual questions from beginning and prospective growers. Please let me know if you wish to join the list. I can add you directly, or, better yet, you can follow the subscription instructions at: http://www.uvm.edu/~fruit/beginner/bg_listserv.html. If you ever find that it is not useful, taking up too much inbox space, or anything else, let me know that too. I can remove addresses easily, and can also set the delivery of the list to collate messages into daily digests, but for now, I’d like to see how much traffic we get.

The next deliverable will be a series of on-farm workshops to help address knowledge gaps through experiential education. This winter, we will hold a number of apple and grape pruning workshops around the state. Each workshop will be limited to twelve people so that we may provide time and attention to each participant. I’ll be announcing the first of them shortly, please keep your eyes on your inboxes if interested.

Keep those shovels ready,

Terry

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

Correct registration link for Feb 7 Northern Grapes webinar

Posted: January 18th, 2019 by fruit

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g125NjUvS-OnPRSvZbvxYw

Northern Grapes Webinar Announcement: February 7, with Megan Hall

Posted: January 17th, 2019 by fruit

Northern Grapes Webinar

Sour rot: understanding and managing a complex disease

February 7, 2019, 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (12:00 Noon Central Time)

Dr. Megan Hall

Assistant Research Professor of Viticulture,

University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

Dr. Hall is an Assistant Research Professor of Viticulture at the University of Missouri, in the Division of Plant Sciences. She earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University for her work on the grape disease complex sour rot. At MU, she is continuing her research on sour rot, exploring the role of Drosophila in the disease complex, and in addition, she is conducting research on the endophytic microbiota of grapes, exploring both the source of endophytes and the effects of those endophytes on grape physiology and disease susceptibility.

The webinar will cover sour rot, a late-season bunch rot that is prevalent in vineyards worldwide, and presents a challenge for growers, winemakers and researchers. It is a disease complex consisting of yeast, acetic acid bacteria and fruit flies, all of which must be present in order for symptoms to develop. Management strategies primarily include targeting fruit flies, and efforts to target just the microbes have not yielded consistently successful results. Research on the role of the flies in the sour rot complex is ongoing.

Registration: You need to pre-register to attend. Registrants will receive a link and reminder 1-2 days before the presentation.

Register at:

https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_g125NjUvS-OnPRSvZbvxYw

Social Media Workshop at the Vermont Farm Show *Free*

Posted: January 16th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

In 2019, growing your Vermont brand online is more important than ever before. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is offering a workshop to help you sharpen your Social Media marketing skills. Whether you’re making melt-in-your-mouth maple candy, or growing fresh fruits and veggies, learn the latest tips, tricks and trends to help build up your food or agriculture business. How do I get more people to see my content? Which platforms should I be investing in? We’ll cover everything you need to know to develop a digital presence for your “Made in Vermont” brand. Join us January 30th from 10:30 AM-12 PM at the Champlain Valley Expo.

Limited spots are available so sign up for FREE today: trevor.audet – 802-522-4725.

Download Promo Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gzganwn5s6foa6y/SOCIAL_WORKSHOP.mp4?dl=0

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

New Cornell Orchard-Pollinator Protection Guide available

Posted: January 13th, 2019 by fruit

By Terence Bradshaw

The need for adequate pollination is no secret to fruit growers, but recent focus on the status of both wild and managed (e.g. honeybee and certain bumblebee) pollinators refocuses the efforts among all of us to ensure that we are managing our crops sustainably. Tree fruit growers arte in a particularly tricky space, as the myriad insect pests that can reduce, damage, or even eliminate a season’s crop must often be managed close to the orchard bloom window. In addition, as perennial crops, tree fruit orchards develop into long-term agroecosystems and management of pests while minimizing damage to non-target pests can be an increasingly difficult line to walk.

The Pollinator Network at Cornell University recently released A Pesticide Decision-Making Guide to Protect Pollinators in Tree Fruit Orchards (pdf), a research-based guide to help growers make pesticide selection and use decisions to maintain crop quality while reducing risk to bees and other pollinators. I strongly recommend downloading this guide for your winter reading.

The guide can be quite daunting, as it breaks down various levels of acute, chronic, and synergistic toxicity of numerous agrichemicals to bees and other pollinators, which may make it look like tree fruit production is just incompatible with pollinators and we should all find a new crop. But remember two things- we need pollinators, either wild or managed, to grow our crops, and the northeast apple industry has coexisted with pollinators for as long as orchards have been around here. We can do this.

The guide should be used alongside other resources such as the New England Tree Fruit Management Guide (which will be updated online by the end of this month), your local crop consultants, and your own experience to select the best materials to manage orchard pests but while minimizing pollinator impact. Pest management in virtually all orchards will involve a certain level of damage to non-target insect populations. It is up to us to minimize that damage, and even to manage the overall system to enhance pollinator populations so that we may make up for any harm that we cause. As you think about your upcoming IPM programming, consider that these practices can help to promote pollinator populations:

· Maintain wild pollinator habitat at orchard edges. This is probably one of the most-effective practices you could do on your farm. Just allowing an adjoining space to grow up to native flowering plants will significantly increase pollinator populations. This space should be minimally managed- few or no mowings, no pesticide application, minimal tillage or other soil disturbance.

· Keep your sprayer calibrated, aimed correctly, and used in low-drift conditions.

· Whenever possible, unless the material is a plant growth regulator or other material whose use is improved by slow drying, always spray in fast drying conditions (low humidity, temperatures >50°F) to minimize the time that droplets remain on plant tissues and the orchard floor.

· If you have flowering plants / weeds on the orchard floor that are attractive to pollinators, either remove them with a broadleaf herbicide application or mow before applying insecticides.

· If you use neonicotinoid insecticides in the orchard, wait until after bloom to apply them to minimize their expression in pollinator-attractive nectar.

· Minimize tillage in the orchard. Most growers use little to no tillage in the tree strip, but some organic orchards and growers who seek to minimize herbicide use may use under-tree cultivators. Many pollinators in Vermont orchards are ground nesting bees, and soil cultivation can damage them.

All of these practices are just good IPM, and are nothing new to growers. As I said before, our industry has evolved over the past 150 years with the pollinators that we either bring in at bloom or, especially, with the ones that live in and around our farms and provide free pollination and pest management services for both our trees as well as for the wild and managed plants around them.

Where trade names or commercial products are used for identification,

no discrimination is intended and no endorsement is implied.

Always read the label before using any pesticide.

The label is the legal document for the product use.

Disregard any information in this message if it is in conflict with the

label.

The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the

University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM

Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

Contact Us ©2010 The University of Vermont – Burlington, VT 05405 – (802) 656-3131
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