Pest Management


In the immortal words of Jim Morrison, This is the End (of the Glog).  It has been a fun, educational tool for me to communicate with growers and I hope that you found it useful.  This is the last entry, but it will remain up for reading — at least for awhile.  I will start a new blog sometime after I start at Mississippi State University and it will be on http://www.eviticulture.org.  Some other capstone items I wish to say:

1. Please continue to support OSU’s viticulture and enology efforts.  Just because I am leaving does not mean the program just goes away.  And if you would like to see my position refilled (that is not guaranteed!), I suggest developing a strategic plan to make this happen.  Contact the appropriate people (department heads, deans, provost, president, legislators, anyone with influence — and money), find a way to provide some funding to support research and extension efforts and do it on an annual basis, and come up with a plan of attack that may include having discussing with folks in the pecan industry.  It is unlikely that the position will be refilled solely as a grape position, but as a joint position with pecans is possible.  A plan of action may look like this: rally support for filling the position within the industry by drafting a position paper on why it needs to be filled as soon as possible, develop a plan for funding assistance to do the work you need done through research and extension, develop strong relationships with the OSU horticulture dept head and OSU division of agriculture dean.  If they don’t know you exist, then they won’t care.  How many times since 2005 (when I started) has anyone in the industry interacted with the dean?  I don’t know the answer to that, but if it is 0 or a very few times then that does not bode well.  A plan of action must include items like “why the position is important to the industry”, “what does the industry bring to the table in order for the university to invest in the position”, “how is the industry growing and what are future projections such that a continuing presence is needed?”.  Think about resources that might be available for an extension specialist to use (in-kind services, etc.).  In essence Why does the grape and wine industry of Oklahoma need this position to be filled and what is the Oklahoma grape and wine industry prepared to do about it?

2. Contribute your voice to an industry organization and keep abreast of what is happening in the industry now.

3. Don’t forget to read my last issue of Le Vigneron (to be published sometime early October).  It will include some photos of our vineyard, data and interpretation of the Perkins vineyard since 2002, and some other goodies.  At this point I don’t know if it will be the last one or not, but it will be a “blow-out” issue.  If you are not on the mailing list you can always find it online here (www.grapes.okstate.edu).

4. Growers and wineries need to stick together and display a unified front to legislators.  Find a way past the differences and work together.  To be honest, other states have really gotten their acts together and formed cohesive state organizations that get a lot done.  It might be a good idea to talk with leaders from other states that are on a similar scale to Oklahoma  (like Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, etc. to find out what they are doing that is successful).

5. Be leery, but not dismissive, of vinifera grapes.  Well, maybe dismissive in many parts of northern Oklahoma.  Vinifera grapes can grow in Oklahoma, but we are concerned not only with growth.  We are also concerned with productivity, survival, disease resistance, and fruit quality.  Through my six years here I have come to these conclusions: Vinifera grapes are high-risk and should not be a first choice north of I-40.  South of I-40 on excellent sites they can be considered but not all varieties work.  Always use a rootstock, preferably a low vigor rootstock like 101-14.  Economics must be a prominent thought in variety choice.  What price per ton can be obtained?  How much does it cost to maintain per acre per year?

6. Open your mind to hybrid grapes.  There are many good varieties out there.  The only way to learn about them is to taste the wine and view the vine growth.  There are opportunities to do this within Oklahoma as well as in surrounding states.

7. If you have not done so already, please complete this survey:

https://okstatecasnr.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_agjMhFmvr6f4TMo

8. Attend conferences such as ASEV, Unified Symposium, Midwest Grape and Wine Conference, etc.  The national perspective you get from these types of venues are invaluable.

9. Stay positive.  Oklahoma is a difficult place to grow grapes, but it can be done (with proper variety selection, site selection, management, and education).  Setbacks will happen, but Oklahoma has a terroir different from anywhere else, so it is exciting to be able to taste that through the grapes.  Taste Native Oklahoma is something to strive for.  Will it be possible to have an industry built entirely on Oklahoma grapes?  I don’t know, but at this point it is unlikely and impossible.  However, with a positive attitude anything is possible.

10. Not sure what else to say, but I wanted to have 10 items here.  So, as Bill S. Preston, Esq. once said, “Be excellent to each other.”

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This time of year is often when leafhoppers come a-callin’.  You can see below from our research station at Perkins the damage that leafhoppers can cause:

Leafhopper stippling

Leafhopper stippling

Severe infestations can lead to early leaf drop which, in turn, leads to reduced carbohydrate storage and reduced winter hardiness.  There are many chemical control options and I suggest consulting the Midwest Grape and Small Fruit Spray Guide for the list of possible choices (http://www.ag.purdue.edu/hla/Hort/Documents/ID-169-2011.pdf).

Yes, the end is coming soon for this blog.  When is the last day?  I’m not entirely sure, but probably somewhere around September 22.  The reason?  Well, for one thing I am leaving on the 23rd to give a talk at a conference in Hawaii.  Secondly, if you have not heard by now, I am leaving OSU on October 14.  I have been offered, and accepted, another position similar to this one at Mississippi State University.  I start there on November 1.  I will still be in the grape world — I will continue to be the Project Leader of eViticulture.org and I will start a new blog that can be read from that website.  It will no longer be Oklahoma specific, but I will touch on grape growing in the Deep South as well as other broader topics of interest.  There are many loose ends concerning how things will continue here at OSU, but meetings will be held to discuss those things and we hope to have a plan in place before my departure.  I have really enjoyed doing this blog and I hope you will continue to follow me when I move over to my new blog.

This post from WineBusiness.com on their blog site regarding Clean Plant Material gives some good tips.  The Napa Valley Grapegrowers Industry Issues Committee put forth these best management practices.  Read it here:

http://www.winebusiness.com/blog/?go=getBlogEntry&dataId=91678

I just looked at this site for the first time today and it really has a lot of great information and photos.  It is from Canada (Ontario), so everything may not be applicable to us, but still much of it is.  Look at it here:

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/IPM/english/grapes/index.html

In the not so distant future something like this will be available on eViticulture and extension.org/grapes for US audiences. I will try to let you know when that happens.

When I see skeletonized leaves in the vineyard my thoughts go automatically to Japanese beetles.  Coming from NW Arkansas where JB populations are rampant, we saw skeletonized leaves on all sorts of plant material.  There was some marked variability among grape varieties.  A recent publication by Dr. Donn Johnson (from the University of Arkansas) et al. (http://www.pubhort.org/aps/64/v64_n4_a1.htm) reported that grape varieties such as ‘Neptune’, ‘Jupiter’, ‘Cabernet franc’, ‘Vignoles’ and ‘Norton’ sustained more damage than ‘Mars’ and ‘Concord’.  One theory is that thick leaves with pubescent surfaces deter JB feeding.  Although JB are a common culprit when it comes to leaf feeding, there are other beetles that can cause similar damage like False Japanese beetle and scarab beetles in the Genus Anomala.  In fact, when I was shooting SUNUP the other day I noticed that Pinot gris had skeletonized leaves on the canopy.  My first thought was JB, but upon closer inspection it was not — it was (what I believe to be) an Anomala beetle.  The beetles were also feeding on Petit Verdot and a couple others, but seem to prefer Pinot gris.  I have observed that green June beetles also prefer Pinot gris over just about any other grape variety.  Why?  Not sure, but it certainly would be a concern if they were planted on a large scale.  We just have a few surviving plants at Perkins so I am happy to just observe and report.  If you ever want to get an insect identified you have several options — contact your local county extension office, take a digital photo and send to me or to the Diagnostic lab at OSU, or send or bring in a sample to the Diagnostic lab (http://www.ento.okstate.edu/pddl/whatis.htm).

There has been some severe hail damage recently, especially in the Norman area.  What are the options post-hail?  Depends on the amount of damage.  Berries that have had the skin broken will rot.  You may remove damaged berries from clusters.  If the cluster is past saving, then it is a good idea just to drop the clusters.  The vines may also have some significant damage to canes, etc., so dropping the fruit will lessen vine stress.  If harvestable clusters remain, maintain a vigorous fungicide spray regimen to protect them.  However, some clusters are past saving…

Hail Damaged Cluster

Hail Damaged Cluster.

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