Vineyard diary from Hutchinsons “Thinking ahead”

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Chris Cooper and Rob Saunders, vine specialists in the Hutchinsons Horticultural Team, discuss the season to date in vineyards and the need to think ahead.

The hot summer of 2018 break all UK records for wine production, but such “monster vintage” will mean growers should be thinking ahead to ensure next year’s crops have a chance of repeating the performance. Thinking ahead involves controlling any weeds, creating a feed plan based on the analysis of soil samples from the vineyard and protecting vines from trunk diseases.

Weed control –Kerb Flo is approved for use within the vine row and as a residual it will control established weeds including grass weeds, black nightshade, creeping buttercup, black bindweed, knotgrass, Redshank, Fat-hen and chickweed. The product can only be applied between 1st October to 31st Jan. Contact-acting herbicides such as some formulations of Diquat & Glyphosate are used for burning off weeds within the rows. Shark (carfentrazone –ethyl) is also approved in vines as is Finalsan but use in Autumn can give poor results.

Out of season is the time to take soil samples and plan to correct any obvious deficiencies. Get the sampling done early to allow time for analysis and putting together a nutrient plan for next spring. With the bumper crop this year, there is more likely to be a need for correction. Sampling can be done using precision farming techniques such as Omnia.

Grapevine trunk diseases (GTD) can infect via pruning wounds. Symptoms to look for (and areas to be marked out) are where you see sudden death of the vine, poor vigour in the cane and cane bleaching. Pruning, already underway in some vineyards, should be avoided in wet conditions, as this encourages spore and mycelial growth. Garlic barrier (from Solufeed) with its new organic approval has been used in vineyards in the UK for 3 pruning seasons to seal cuts. Work in Australia & the US amongst others back up the fact it has a useful effect on protecting new pruning cuts plus some additional fungicidal and bacterial bonuses.

Nativo 75WG (tebuconazole and trifloxystrobin) received an EAMU in October in for use on Wine Grapes at a dose rate of 0.18 kg/ha and can be used early in the season to give additional protection against GTD’s.

On 22nd November, Denbies Wine Estate hosts the inaugural WineGB technical conference organised by the Viticultural Working Group. It boasts has a great line up of speakers, one of which will be Rob Saunders talking on Spotted Wing Drosophila - An industry perspective of current findings and future implications. We look forward to seeing you there.

A final reminder that all unopened containers of Exirel (cyantranilipole) need to be returned to the supplying company by the end of November 2018, according to the conditions of its EAMU.