Early season vineyard management

First, our colleague UMASS plant pathologist Dr. Elsa Petit is hosting a Zoom meeting for grape growers next Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 12pm. Click here to register. This 30-minute meeting should serve as a great introduction to Elsa and as an informal kickoff to the 2022 season.

At the UVM Catamount Educational Farms vineyard, buds were well-swollen on most varieties this week. Warm, and downright hot later next week, weather should trigger bud break in the days to come. I discovered while assessing the vineyard phenology that one small section of the vineyard had evaded my students’ shears, so we quickly wrapped up pruning that handful of vines, which is always challenging when the buds are so swollen and prone to breaking off.

1Marechal Foch ready to start the season. May 5, 2022.

Despite the dry weather ahead, it will get wet sometime and growers should be ready to manage diseases in the vineyard. We typically recommend fungicides starting around 5” shoot growth, but growers that have had more intense disease pressure may want to start earlier. That could come pretty soon if the warm weather pattern we’re heading into holds. There’s also supply chain issues that may delay availability of some materials. So whether you need mancozeb and captan or copper and sulfur, plan on ordering materials you expect you’ll need ASAP.

Continuing the tradition of the Cornell Grape IPM program, Dr. Katie Gold has again published a recap of season-long disease management considerations that should be required reading for all growers. It is heavy on conventional / non-organic recommendations, but there are recommendations and research results presented from her lab’s assessment of organically-approved biopesticides. Growers should also have an up-to-date copy of the New England Small Fruit Management Guide (on-line and hard copy versions) and/or New York and Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes as a reference for specific materials, their efficacy, and use considerations. Remember however that the guidelines are written largely for vinifera and less disease-resistant hybrids, so the specific spray programs recommended may be overkill in Vermont vineyards.

My graduate student, Bethany Pelletier, and I will be conducting a trial this season evaluating biopesticides and traditional organic materials (e.g., copper, sulfur) for disease management in cold-climate grape cultivars. Stay tuned for information from that work as the season progresses.

Finally, if you haven’t signed up for VitiNord, the premier cold-climate grape and wine conference which will be held this December in Burlington, please consider doing so. This is a big deal for the state’s and region’s wine industry, and the knowledge and networking shared will be huge.

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, UVM Extension, USDA NIFA E-IPM Program, and USDA Risk Management Agency.

UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research-based knowledge to work. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.