Buds are bursting- 2020 season is on a roll

By Terence Bradshaw

Growth in the UVM vineyard ranges from bud burst to 2-3 shoots emerged; a few shoots are nearing three inches in length. It’s time to really be thinking about protecting vines from early season disease infections. Most cold-climate cultivars will not need disease protection until 5-8” of shoot growth, but any vineyards with heavy disease pressure last year and organic vineyards may wish to begin earlier, especially if inoculum reduction through thorough removal of diseased wood and mummy berries and/or dormant application of lime sulfur was not performed. I still recommend our fact sheet, An Initial Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategy for New Cold Climate Winegrape Growers as the best resource to boil the decisions down to a simple ‘prescription’, with the caveat that since it was written some new pest management materials have been released and inoculum may have increased in your vineyards which could lead to increased disease pressure. Growers should 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.

The warm weather in the past few days may have increased emergence of grape flea beetle or cutworms. Grapes are susceptible through about the one inch shoot growth stage, so vines will eventually outgrow the threat. However, cooler temperatures this coming weekend may hold the vines at this susceptible stage long enough for damage to increase to unacceptable levels. A scouting of your vineyard for feeding on swelling buds or developing shoots may be warranted. If damage is evident on more than 2% of buds, an insecticide treatment may be warranted. But if shoots expand rapidly over the weekend, don’t worry about this pest. More information may be found here.

Since buds at ground level have begun to emerge, applications of systemic herbicides should either be halted or very carefully controlled to prohibit contact with green tissue. Now is an appropriate time for cultivation in vineyards to manage weeds. It’s also a good time to keep water on newly planted or young vines. With soil warming and growth beginning, nitrogen fertilizer applications, if needed based on foliar analyses or observed low vigor last year, may also be made now.

I’d say any time now is good to get your shoots thinned down to 3-5 shoots per foot of canopy. Keep more on more vigorous vines, less on weaker ones.

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.

Sheep in vineyards survey, bud beak

By Terence Bradshaw

Dr. Justine Vanden Heuvel (Cornell University) is seeking participants for a conducting a survey to determine grower perceptions of using sheep to mow/sucker in vineyards. The goal of the survey is to guide future research and extension efforts in this area. The survey is completely anonymous. You can complete the survey by clicking on this link: https://cornell.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_80QJfMVgdqIqOOh

Buds are on the cusp of breaking in Vermont vineyards this week, which signifies the real start of the growing season. This brings up a few pest management considerations for your vineyards. Most cold-climate cultivars will not need disease protection until 5-8” of shoot growth, but any vineyards with heavy disease pressure last year or under organic management may wish to begin as soon as shoots are 3” in length, especially if inoculum reduction through thorough removal of diseased wood and mummy berries and/or dormant application of lime sulfur was not performed. Since we all likely have a couple of weeks before we need to get out there, now is a good time to make sure that your equipment is ready to go. I still recommend our Initial IPM Strategy for Cold Climate Grapes as the best resource to boil the decisions down to a simple ‘prescription’, with the caveat that since it was written some new pest management materials have been released and inoculum may have increased in your vineyards which could lead to increased disease pressure. Growers should have an up-to-date copy of the 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.

The warm weather in the next few days may increase emergence of grape flea beetle or cutworms. Grapes are susceptible through about the one inch shoot growth stage, so this could be a short window and the vines may well outgrow any threat pretty quickly. A scouting of your vineyard for feeding on swelling buds or developing shoots may be warranted. If damage is evident on more than 2% of buds, an insecticide treatment may be warranted. But if shoots expand rapidly over the weekend, don’t worry about this pest.

Since buds at ground level have begun to emerge, applications of systemic herbicides should either be halted or very carefully controlled to prohibit contact with green tissue. Now is an appropriate time for cultivation in vineyards to manage weeds. It’s also a good time to keep water on newly planted or young vines. With soil warming and growth beginning, nitrogen fertilizer applications, if needed based on foliar analyses or observed low vigor last year, may also be made now.

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.

Buds swelling in local vineyards

By Terence Bradshaw

Grapevine buds are showing significant swelling in vineyards both in the Champlain Valley and at my house at near-1500 feet in Washington County, so bud break is right around the corner. However, This extended cool weather expected this week will leave those buds in this swollen state for an extended period, which leaves them susceptible to damage from grape flea beetle and climbing cutworms. It may be a good idea to scout vineyards this week; feeding damage on more3 than 2% of buds scouted may indicate a need to treat; carbaryl or a pyrethroid material (Including, for organic growers, Pyranic) would be effective options. However, once vines have pushed 1” or more growth, they are no longer susceptible to damage from these pests, so don’t bother treating if you get that far without having done so.

The window to treat vines with liquid lime sulfur (LLS) is closing as vine growth increases, do not consider applying high doses of that material to vines with green tissue showing. I described the use of LLS in my April 3, 2017 message.

If you will be using glyphosate to manage in-row weeds this spring, your window for safest application to the base of vines is now, before any foliage that is susceptible to herbicide uptake develops. I would still use a shield of some sort to keep the material off of vines.

Reminder: NY-PA Grape IPM Guidelines are available for order at: https://cropandpestguides.cce.cornell.edu/

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.

Thinking about early season grape disease management

By Terence Bradshaw

Despite the bit of snow on my deck this morning, spring is here and vineyards will be waking up soon in Vermont. It’s better to plan ahead than to be reactive to problems after they become established. Therefore, I recommend reading Dr. Katie Gold’s Early Season Grape Disease Management recommendations to help prepare for the season. Dr. Gold is the new grape pathologist at Cornell and replaces Wayne Wilcox, whose spring missives were regular reading for grape growers. It’s great to see that she is continuing that tradition, and that we will continue to have qualified expertise in the northeast to help with grape disease management

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.

Grape Grower Webinars Planned for April 22 and May 13

By Terence Bradshaw

Passing on information on two informative webinars that local growers should find useful.- TB

The University of Minnesota Extension and University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension are teaming up to offer two webinars/Q&A sessions for grape growers in April and May. The goal of these events is to help growers refine their early season vineyard management plan and ask questions. We will focus on key tasks and sprays that must be completed between bud swell and bloom.

In the first 30 minutes of each webinar, you will hear from UMN and UW experts on topics like insect, disease, and weed management; soil fertility; and other critical vineyard tasks like vine planting technique. The second 30 minutes is reserved for open Question and Answer time.

April 22 @ 1:00pm CDT: What To Do Now – Grape Bud Swell

REGISTER HERE: z.umn.edu/Grape1

May 13 at 1:00pm CDT: What To Do Now – Early Season Fungicides & Planting Grapevines

REGISTER HERE: z.umn.edu/Grape2

For more information on the topics that will be covered, please click the registration links above.

Speakers include Amaya Atucha (UW-Madison), Matt Clark (UMN), Jed Colquhoun (UW-Madison), Christelle Geudot (UW-Madison), Annie Klodd (UMN), and John Thull (UMN)

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.

Pre bud break vineyard management; COVID-19 farm business resources

By Terence Bradshaw

First, UVM Extension Farm Viability Program has posted a page of resources for farm businesses related to emergency loans, grants, and other updates from state agencies: http://blog.uvm.edu/farmvia/?p=1805. Of particular interest to the framing community is the Paycheck Protection Program which provides low-interest, forgiveable loans to small businesses to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. The direct link to that program is: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp.

In the vineyard, things are holding tight now but reports from the Hudson Valley suggest an early bud break. Dr. Jim Myers continues to run his bud hardiness model, which for our region, shows vines beginning to deacclimate about 7-10 days earlier than normal. Does that mean budbreak will be 7-10 days early? Maybe, but not guaranteed. But this is a suggestion that we should get things in order for the season to begin before we know it. For those who follow this list, the rest of this message is an updated copy from this time last year- the early season details are pretty much the same year-to-year:

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. 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 2020 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.

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.

Webinar TODAY on COVID-19 and produce farms;

By Terence Bradshaw

I apologize for the late notice. There will be a webinar hosted by the Cornell Workforce Development, Produce Safety Alliance, and Small Farm Program today, April 3 at 10:00 am : COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm. Details at: https://events.cornell.edu/event/covid-19_and_your_produce_farm_webinar

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.

Farm relief during COVID-19 crisis

By Terence Bradshaw

Hi everyone:

It was gorgeous outside today, which provided a good chance to get caught up on pruning, pushing brush, and prepping for a growing season that is right around the corner. This is not my usual message about orchard or vineyard management.

Many of our fruit and vegetable farms rely on H2A workers. They manage many farm tasks year-round, not just at harvest. I’ve spoken with Deputy Secretary Alyson Eastman from VT Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets and she has assured me that those workers will be available this year with only a slight delay, if any, for those who would be coming in the next few weeks. Officials at the USDA and Dept of Labor have identified H2a / H2B workers, and other agricultural workers in general, as “essential employees” who must be supported through this situation.

Farms that use H2A or other workers who live in communal housing especially should develop a plan for screening employees for illness and to safely quarantine them if they are symptomatic or test positive for the COVID-19 virus. This means that employers should be proactive- have digital thermometers on-hand and teach employees to use them to monitor for fever. Develop sanitation protocols for worker housing, especially share spaces like bathrooms and kitchens. Stock your housing with essentials: disinfectants that are active against the flu virus; paper products; cough medicine; acetaminophen; etc. Farms should also identify other operations in the area with H2A worker housing so that resources may be shared if workers need to be quarantined. Workers who stay in housing that is not in their work order need that to be amended, but it will be easier to do so if they are staying in another H2A inspected facility.

I am also concerned about farms that do not have backup personnel for skilled tasks, in particular, spraying. If one of us goes down from this illness, a missed spray program during a critical time can threaten the whole crop for the season. Therefore, I propose that we develop a system where we can meet emergency labor needs on our farms through mutual and/or community aid.

I have started a google survey https://forms.gle/s9rJtFBJWH6iGqAQ7 to collect and share this information with our grower community. I could also use our VT Tree Fruit mailing list which is largely dormant but has two-way communication set up so that growers can easily reach out to the larger community.

I have been thinking a lot about the role of our farms, and the vulnerability of our farmers, during this public health crisis we’re in. Our farms are absolutely essential, and I have been impressed with how our food production and distribution system has handled this situation. One of our fellow growers posted on social media that their farm sent 275,000 pounds of apples this week alone to customers all over the eastern U.S. While most of our farms are not of that size, we are capable of producing a lot of food for people- and this year in particular, people are going to need it. So let’s do our best to get a great crop in this fall, and that means getting our orchards and vineyards in shape now. I also want to ask farms to consider how we can best rise up to get food to everyone who needs it. I am not asking anyone to work for free, by any means. But this is a time when our perennial crops can show their resilience. Orchards in reasonably good shape will produce a crop this year, barring any calamities. We may want to consider bringing unmanaged or planned-to-pull-out blocks into at least a minimal management program this year, even if those fruit are donated or gleaned by charitable organizations. I was planning to pull an older, 1-acre block (~15% or our production) from the UVM orchard this year. Instead, I plan to grow it for the new UVM Student Food Shelf. I know that labor and management of these blocks will be a drain on already stretched resources, but this seems like the year where we need all the food we can muster.

The Agency has some good information on COVID-19 for farms and food businesses: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/covid-19-information

Chris Callahan at UVM Extension also has some great on Food Safety and the virus: https://www.uvm.edu/extension/necafs/clearinghouse/home

The Peace and Justice Center has collected a list or regional mutual aid resources: https://www.pjcvt.org/mutual-aid-and-other-resources-related-to-covid-19/

NC State Farmers Market COVID-19 info sheet: https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Farmers-Market_COVID-19_031320.pdf?fwd=no

NC State U-Pick Farms COVID-19 info sheet: https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/U-Pick-Farms_COVID-19_031620.pdf?fwd=no

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development site https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/2020/03/12/novel-coronavirus-prevention-control-for-farms/

Thank you and be well,

Terry

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.

March 21 Grape pruning cancelled

Hello:

Due to social distancing measures and the need to maintain public safety, we are cancelling the Grape Pruning workshop that was to be held at the UVM Horticulture Research & Education Center on March 21.

Here are some good pruning resources that may help guide you in pruning your vineyard:

· Finger Lakes Grape Program (FLGP): How to Prune Grapevines

o Top wire cordon

o VSP trellis

· Michigan State University Pruning and Training Top Wire Cordon Vines

It’s not a bad idea to assess winter bud damage on a few vines and adjust your pruning if appropriate. A visual assessment is easy to conduct. We encourage growers to collect their own primary bud mortality data prior to pruning, if possible. The procedure is fairly quick and requires no special equipment besides a hand lens or magnifying viewer. A helpful video from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Finger Lakes Grape Program that outlines the process may be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RHJ5mY3fAs .

Dr Jim Meyers offered me the following model output that compares observed temperatures against expected bud hardiness on multiple cultivars for our farm in South Burlington, VT. The bad news is there were a few days in February where some damage may have occurred on cold-hardy cultivars, with Marquette (green line) potentially having been damaged on three days this winter. The good news is that grapevines have a remarkable system for ensuring their growth and potential cropping through their compound buds, and that generally grapevines can sustain 30% or more primary bud death before we get too concerned. You may also see that, in the model, Concord was not damaged by temperatures seen this winter. There is a range of bud hardiness among the commonly-grown cultivars in Vermont and the surrounding region, and I don’t see a lot to worry about in this table.

Good luck pruning out there, and let me know if I can help with anything.

Best, Terry

Upcoming orchard and vineyard workshops

By Terence Bradshaw

It’s a little late in the season, but UVM Spring Break is approaching which means that we have some time to get out in the field and spend some hands-on time with apple and grape growers. The following workshops will be held in the coming weeks, please email me with questions or just register at the listed links.

http://www.uvm.edu/%7Efruit/?Page=beginner/bg_workshops.html&SM=bg_submenu.html

Apple Pruning

Date: 3/7/2020 12-3 PM
Location: Robert Frost Stone House Museum
Address: 121 Historic Route 7A Shaftsbury, Vermont 05262
Registration: https://www.bennington.edu/events/apple-pruning-workshop
Fee: $0

Apple Pruning

Date: 3/11/2020 1-4 PM
Location: UVM Horticulture Research & Education Center
Address: 65 Green Mountain Drive, South Burlington, VT
Registration: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/112118?lang=en
Fee: $0

Apple Grafting Workshop

Date: 3/13/2020 1 – 4 PM
Location: UVM Horticulture Research & Education Center
Address: 65 Green Mountain Drive, South Burlington, VT
Registration: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/374228?lang=en
Fee: $0

Grape Pruning Workshop

Date: 3/21/2020 9 AM – 12 PM
Location: UVM Horticulture Research & Education Center
Address: 65 Green Mountain Drive, South Burlington, VT
Registration: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/253521?lang=en
Fee: $0

Orchard and Vineyard Establishment and Trellising (Apple and Grape)

Date: 4/17/2020 1-4 PM
Location: UVM Horticulture Research & Education Center
Address: 65 Green Mountain Drive, South Burlington, VT
Registration:https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/512628?lang=en
Fee: $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.