Monday, February 28, 2011

Pierce's Disease (PD) risks for 2011

We are having a series of warm days in the last few weeks, and that made me wonder about the risk of PD for this year.  As you might have heard from our colleagues Dr. Doug Pfeiffer and Dr. Chris Bergh, you can predict the risk of outbreak or Pierce's Disease (PD) by monitoring winter time temperature.  When your area receive more than 3 nights (or days) with temperature below 15F (-9.4C), the risk of PD outbreak will be low.  It is determined by the number of nights (or days) during the winter months, and it does not happen as three consecutive nights.  Here are records of 2011 winter from Virginia Cooperative Extension's mesonet weather stations.

Location Days < 15F
Eastern Shore AREC, Accomack Co. 1
Tidewater AREC, Virginia Beach 1
Eastern Virginia AREC, Warsaw, Richmond Co. 3
Northern Piedmont AREC, Orange Co. 5
AHS AREC, Frederick Co. 5
Claytor Nature Study Ctr., Bedford Co. 1
Kentland Farm, Montgomery Co. 10
Urban Hort Ctr., Montgomery Co. 4

It seems that Accomack co., VA Beach, and Bedford co, had only one day with temperature below 15F, indicating that in these regions, the risk of PD outbreak is high.

Unfortunately, the mesonet stations are scattered around the states and you may not find the one nearby your place.  If you click on the link (a banner) to the weather underground on the right-hand side of this page, type in your zip code,  click "view" under "History and Almanac" section, and then click on monthly view, then you can find daily minimum temperatures of the weather station nearby your location in a calender format.

Here's a picture of a PD infected vine.  As you can see, it shows a distinctive burning-like necrosis (or dessication) on the edges of the leaves, and often associated with"matchstick" appearance of petioles without leaf.

Once your vines are infected with PD,  the phytoplasma called Xylella fastidiosa (a bacteria-like pathogen of PD) will spread systemically in the infected vine.  X. fastidiosa is known to be vectored by several species of sharpshooters, including glassy-winged sharpshooters (Homalodisca coagulata); however, since these insects can fly and migrate, the insect control may not be the best option to prevent the spread of PD.  Thus, the only the practical remedy at this point is the removal of the infected vines in order to reduce the risk of secondary spread. 

If you want to learn more about PD, vectors, and the risk assessment, please visit Doug's page at and

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More meetings!

I really enjoyed this year's VVA meeting.  There were many interesting viticulture topics discussed.  Also, I was very happy to see many of you.  :)

There will be a few more meetings during this spring that you may be interested in.  (yes, the spring is coming!) 
  • The first one is Grape IPM workshop at Lancaster, PA on 23 March which is organized by Mr. Mark Chien from PSU.  The focus of this meeting is the integrated pest management, especially on grape diseases.  I will present two talks.  
  • The other one is the beginner's workshop at Middleburg, VA on 25 March which is organized by Tony and our group from Virginia Tech.  The topics on this meeting is mainly about how to establish a new vineyard, and I will present a short talk on the management of non-baring grapes.  
  • If you are interested in, please contact Mark ( and Tony ( for the reservation. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The VVA meeting is coming soon!

The VVA meeting will be held at Omni Hotel in Charlottesville from 2/17-19.
In terms of grape disease management, there will be a variety selection topics in Thursday, and research updates on Friday, and IPM Element discussion on Saturday.  For more information, please visit the VVA's web page.

Also, I've added Twitter feed to this blog.  I am thinking about using it to inform when I update this blog, but if you have other ideas, please let me know.

See you in Charlottesville!