Thursday, April 28, 2011

Disease risks from today's rain

As with other regions in VA, Winchester area observed a series of thunderstorms this morning.  It started from 2:40AM and lasted until 7:30AM or so.  The RH was high (>90%) until 8:40AM, thus, it accounted for 6 hours of estimated wetness with 68F as the average temperature.  It was a light infection risk for Phomopsis, and a borderline case for black rot.  Also, since the average temperature was high, it was a risk event for downy mildew as well.

The other concern is the wash-off of the fungicide(s) on the leaf surface  We had about 1 inch of rain with this event.  A typical rule of thumb for fungicide application timing is  "2 weeks or 1 inch of rain whichever comes first", thus, this and a series of rains we had since last Sunday might washed materials off from your vines.  However, please keep in your mind that the risk of disease development also depends on a history of disease(s) in your vineyard, and also, you need to take the weather forecast into account for your planning.

The chance of precipitations in next few days are low (less than 30%) in our area.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011 Vineyard meeting handout

We will have this year's first vineyard meeting tomorrow at De Vault Vineyard in Concord, VA.  If you have a time, please stop by.  The meeting will start from 11AM.

I was posting handout for each meeting in the past, but I decided to post a template this year to save some time.  This handout covers fungicide updates, disease notes (disease biology of major fungal diseases and management tips), and some discussions on how to manage grape diseases.  If you are not able to come to the meeting, but want to have the handout, or if you are simply interested in, please click here to download.  As season goes, I will add more information to make it up-to-date for the meeting, but the basic information on disease biology and management tips are probably not going to be changed.

Monday, April 25, 2011

2011 Fungicide Spray Guide for Bearing vines, 2nd Ed.

Here's an updated version of 2011 spray guide.  It is essentially the same as the one went out with the Viticulture Notes.  Typos, some minor items, and grammatical mistakes were fixed on this version.

Disease risks from a wet weekend

Winchester area received a series of rain event since the morning of 4/22/11.  The first event started at 9:40AM on 22nd, and lasted until 12:40PM on 23rd.  Since the relative humidity stayed above 90% until 2PM on 23rd, it was a very long event (>28 hours), but the average temperature was low (48F).  Thus, there was a low to moderate risk of Phomopsis and a very low risk of Black rot infection.  This condition was a borderline case for black rot because the majority of wet hours are in lower 40's.

Then, we had rain events on 9:20PM on 23rd, 3:40 PM and 10:20PM on 24th.  All of them are in higher temperature ranges (mid to high 60's), but lengths of wetness were short (2-3 hours).  The only disease that can cause under these conditions are downy mildew.

The optimum temperature range for downy mildew infection is mid-60's to mid-70's, and under that condition, it takes only 90 min or so to cause infection.  On the other hand, it is relatively early in the season, and the overall temperature profile in the past few weeks may not favor the development of downy mildew.  It probably won't be the case for the most of us because 2010 was a very dry season; however, if you had a history of downy mildew outbreak in last few years, you may want to monitor your vines closely in the next few weeks.

Disease risks from today's rain

Winchester area received a light rain (0.02 inches) during early hours today.  It started around 1AM and even though the rain stopped soon, the relative humidity was above 90% until 9AM.  Thus, it accounted for 8 hours of estimated wetness with the average temperature of 62F.  It was a moderate risk for Phomopsis, a borderline risk for black rot, and a risk for downy mildew.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Disease risks from yesterday's rain

At Winchester, we received 0.25 inches of rain on 4/19/11.  It started from 9:20AM and lasted until 4:20 PM or so, and the relative humidity was above 90% until 5:00 PM.  Thus, we had about 7 hours 40 min of wetness with the average temperature of 55F.  It was long enough for light infection of Phomopsis (= low risk), but it was neither long nor warm enough for black rot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What may happen on a vineyard floor this time of the season

During this winter, I received a few questions about a sanitation (= removal of infected tissues) as a part of disease managementOur understanding is that most of the grape pathogens can survive on infected tissues over the winter to cause diseases on next springSome survive on infected berry tissues (e.g., black rot) or leaf tissues (downy mildew), and others survive on cane or wood tissues (e.g., Phomopsis, Botryosphaeria).  Thus, my recommendation is a removal of any infected tissues (berries, leaves, and canes) from the vineyard

Many major grape diseases we deal with such as powdery mildew (which survives in the bark as a fruiting body over winter) are polycyclic diseases, meaning they have a multiple generation of disease cycle within a seasonWhen we compared the risk of having an outbreak of the disease throughout a season on these polycyclic diseases, the sanitation may or may not provide a significant difference  because each generation will produce millions of sporesTherefore, even if we remove the inoculum at the beginning, soon or later, it can cause a big outbreak of the disease.

However, what I think the sanitation is useful for is a suppression of the risk of disease development at early in the seasonRight now, buds are open and shoots are starting to form, and everything is moving quite rapidlyDuring this period, tissues are susceptible to many diseases, and since it is grown rapidly, even if you apply a fungicide, there will be new unprotected tissues produced within a few daysUsually, the environmental conditions during this period are relatively unfavorable for many common grape diseases (except Phomopsis, which can infect at lower temperature ranges), thus, the risk of having an infection is lowHowever, if you have abundant spores in your vineyard, the situation may be differentEither by a probability or by a genetic difference among the population, some individual may be able to infect tissues even at lower than optimal temperature range.

Once they establish a foothold this early in the season, you may encounter a higher risk of a disease outbreak later in the season because they are already in a preparation of next generation of spores.  (It will also depend on the weather conditions in the future, but I'm simply talking about a potential risk.)  Thus, it makes more sense to me to clean up your vineyard floor for both disease management and aesthetic purpose.

Some may argue that infected tissues from the last season will be decomposed by the spring.  I thought of it too, but based on what I found last week on my vineyard, things are not ready for decomposition yet.
From this picture (you can click to enlarge), you can see twigs and berries which seems to be intact and covered with fungal mycelium or fruiting bodies.  But please keep in your mind that it may or may not be pathogenic.

However, some of them look like Botrytis spores, which is known to be active in a lower temperature range.  (You probably have seen a gray mold on strawberry in your refrigerator.  It's the same pathogen.)
That's about it for today.  I will post results of disease risk assessments once this rain is over.  By the way, both our Chardonnay and Merlot are at 100% bud break.  Our Cabernet Sauvignon is at bud swell stage.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Disease risks from yesterday's rain

The rain events on 4/16/11 at Winchester started on 4:20AM and lasted until 9:40PM or so, and then the relative humidity was high (>90%) until 10:20PM.  Thus, this potential infection event accounted for 20 hours of wetness and the average temperature during the event was 55F.  It was long and warm enough for both Phomopsis and black rot infection.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011 vineyard meeting series

We will have this year's first vineyard meeting on 4/27/11 at De Vault Vineyards.  I will present seasonal reminder on grape disease management and Tony and/or Tremain will provide viticulture updates.

The address of the vineyard is:

247 Station Lane, Concord VA 24538
http://www.devaultvineyards.com

Directions:  At Intersection of Hwy 29 South and Hwy 460, go east (towards Appomattox) on Hwy 460 for 10 miles.  Turn right onto Hwy 24 West and travel 0.3 miles.  Take second left onto State Rd 741 after 0.2 miles.  Vineyard and winery will be on your right.

For more information about the meeting, please contact Michael Lachance, Nelson County Cooperative Extension (434) 263-4035

Also, Tremain set up a nice web page for the future meetings.  I've also create a link to this page on the right-hand side of this blog. 

Bud break


I meant to post this message on Friday, but I could not find a time for it.  As of Thursday (4/14/11), I counted buds of 50-60% and 30-40% of Chardonnay and Merlot, respectively, are open.  It is about a week later than 2010, and two weeks earlier than 2009.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bud swell


I counted 10-15% and 30-40% of our Chardonnay and Merlot vines, respectively, are having buds that are swelled noticeably a few days ago, and today's counts were 40-50% and 70-80% for Chardonnay and Merlot, respectively.  Things are moving along!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One-year memorial event for Dr. Rongcai Yuan

It is hard to believe, but it has been almost one year since our horticulturist, Dr. Rongcai Yuan passed away.  We will hold a one-year memorial event on April 14th from 8:30 AM (right after a breakfast meeting for local tree fruit growers) at AHS AREC at Winchester, VA.  We will dedicate a memorial tree and a stone plaque at the event.  Light refreshments will be served.  The event is open to the public, so, if you knew Dr. Yuan, please join us.  We are also requesting donations for the tree, plaque, and Dr. Yuan's family members.  If you would like to donate, please contact me.