Now is time to treat for vine mealybug

Even though vine mealybug may not be top of mind in the fall, it should be, according to Walt Bentley, UC entomologist at the Kearney Agricultural Center. Even vineyards that have not yet been infested by the pest can benefit from fall pesticide applications.

“Fall applications are very important,” Bentley says. “There is a lot of confusion on this issue. Many PCAs think the fall treatments don't work because the vine mealybug goes to the roots. However, only a small proportion go to the roots. These fall treatments have been demonstrated in trials to be extremely effective. This may change next year with newer products, but for now, a fall treatment can help. This is not true for grape mealybug, only vine mealybug. Grape mealybug is in diapause as eggs and not moving or respiring.”

This has been a year of very few headaches for growers, and it appears that will continue to be the case transitioning into winter. Weather across the state is continuing to cooperate, making fall/winter maintenance relatively painless.

“Lorsban sprays are going out for mealybug, and some weed control is going on,” says Corky Roche, PCA with Roche Vineyard Consulting at Salinas. “Growers are ripping in some areas and applying gypsum. The dry weather is making it easy.”

The 2007 vintage continues to be the highlight of the season, even if yields took a bit of a hit in most areas across the state.

“Quality is good,” Roche says. “We had lower yields than average in most areas, but did well with Chardonnay on the Central Coast where we were in bloom during the April heat.”

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