No one wants to treat for something that doesn’t materialize — but even in a light disease year, preventive programs are causing far fewer headaches for growers who bit the bullet early on and invested in fungicide applications.
However, even vineyards that had preventive programs in place are starting to see disease pressure, at least in some coastal areas.
“I am finding Botrytis even where we’ve had solid spray and canopy management programs,” says Corky Roche, independent PCA with Roche Vineyard Consulting at Salinas. “It will require watching the rest of the season. Rains during spring and bloom have made for a tough year if the programs were not solid and proactive for both powdery mildew and Botrytis.”
Overall, pest pressure is still fairly light, although it is starting to pick up in some areas as the crop progresses. “We’ve mostly had typical pressure from mites and leafhoppers,” Roche says. “We’re also seeing mealybugs in many places; if not treated properly, it can be a problem.”
While the crop doesn’t appear to be a tank buster in terms of yield this year, it is certainly not headed for disaster either. Individual vineyards seem to be thriving or adjusting, mostly based on earlier season weather events, with nothing particularly unusual showing up at this point.
“It all depended on the weather at bloom,” Roche says. “Many growers have a very solid crop, if it bloomed when we had the early heat spell when temperatures reached into the 90s. Others have had bad shatter if it was foggy during bloom.”