Protecting pruning wounds in vineyards

Spring means that many winemakers will be pruning vineyards. Although this is a necessary practice, it can leave vines susceptible to disease through pruning wounds for several weeks. Bacteria that live in the vineyard year-round become airborne, and freshly pruned vines can become infected with multiple pathogens. UPL Technical Service Manager Emily Smith said grape growers struggle with several diseases that can have a significant impact on vineyards.

“Some of the most common are bot canker, and there are a few types of phomopsis that can be a problem. Then probably the biggest is eutypa dieback,” Smith said. “Eutypa is quite a disease. serious in that it can kill the whole arm of the vine and eventually your shoots will be stunted and there will be no fruit.So this absolutely affects the wallet of the grower eventually.These are all very common diseases and quite common, so it’s very, very important to do something to protect the wounds because they’re all susceptible to it.

Waiting to prune vineyards until conditions are drier can help limit the potential for infection. Smith explained that there are several approaches growers can take to mitigate disease levels. Wound sealants containing boric acid and essential oils can help protect pruning wounds. Applying fungicides to pruning wounds while the vine is healing can also limit infection. Smith said his Topsin product was popular with growers and proved to be very useful.

“Topsin is really, really effective on eutypa and bot canker. Then most of the time Topsin is used in conjunction with Rally and those two sets provide great control of eutypa, bot canker and then a few different types of phomopsis,” Smith explained. “They can also take care of any powdery mildew that’s in the field at the time. So it kind of covers a whole range of diseases.

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