Some of our early cultivars such as Alandale is changing it color. It is just a matter of time to see other cultivar to enter phase of veraison. Hopefully, we will keep seeing dry weather with little bit of rain here and there….
There are several diseases to be considered at this stage. One of them is Botrytis. The spray timing for Botrytis is at bloom, bunch closure, and veraison. The pathogen seems to be active throughout the season, but Botrytis likes berries when they get mature and accumulate more sugar. As usual, canopy management is the first line of defense against grape disease management and this is particularly true for Botrytis since it tends to develop after a long period (15-17 hours) of high humidity condition.
Please keep in your mind that Botrytis is very well known for its capability to overcome fungicides. Thus, a rotation of mode of action groups is very important aspect for Botrytis management. The mode of action for a particular fungicide can be found as a FRAC code, which you should be able to locate on the label. For example, Rovral belongs to FRAC code 2. Two different fungicides with two different chemical names may have the same FRAC code; therefore, when you are in doubt, please make sure to rotate among the FRAC codes. Moreover, many new materials have more than one modes of action together. For instance, both Pristine and Luna Experience (or Tranquility) are mixed products and both contain SDHI (FRAC code = 7). Thus, if you use Pristine for one spray, application of Luna Experience won’t be considered as a rotation of mode of action.
These are some of chemical (and FRAC code) that you can use for Botrytis management: Elevate (17), Scala (9), Vangard (9), Switch (9+12), Inspire Super (9+3), Luna (Tranquility 7+9, Experience 7+3), Meteor/Rovral(2), Endura (7), and Pristine (7+11). Since captan has moderate efficacy against Botrytis, it is always a good idea to tank mix a Botrytis material with captan for resistance management.
If you think one of fungicides you are using is not providing sufficient control, please contact Dr. Baudoin or me.
It is also important to avoid risk of wounding berries. Although Botrytis is capable of causing disease by penetrating grape’s fruit skin tissues, it prefers going after wounds. Also, at bloom infection by Botrytis tends to develop into disease when fruit skin is damaged. Thus, management of insect such as grape berry moth, or birds, or powdery mildew at early in the season, can lower the risk of Botrytis development. Moreover, sour rot pathogens also really like going after wounds; so, wound management would be the key for the sour rot management as well.
Another diseases to be considered at this time of the year are ripe rot and bitter rot. Both are considered as a warm season diseases, and people in the south tend to suffer more from these diseases. However, we can find ripe rot in Northern VA year after year. In addition, I have heard from growers from PA and MD that they are having issues with ripe rot as well. Unfortunately, ripe rot in particular, has been misdiagnosed more than other rots. It shows up as if the berries are sunburned. You will see a round dark brown lesions on the top portion of an infected berry (as you see on the picture above); however, the difference between sun burn and ripe rot is that the tiny dots you will see within the lesion, which are fruiting bodies of the pathogen. As the time progresses, the lesion expand into the whole berry, and infected fruits become shriveled raisin-like fruits. With a severe infection, you may see many shriveled berries on a cluster. Unlike sunburn, it does change the taste of the fruit and wine. Unfortunately, the change is in the negative direction, and a study showed that a consumer panel could detect only 3% contamination in the mast.
Both ripe rot and bitter rot seem to be able to infect berries from time of flowering to the harvest. Thus, you need to protect berries from infection, especially if you have experienced issues with these diseases in the past. Mancozeb, Ziram, captan, and QoI (Strobirulin) fungicides are currently recommended. Please rotate among these three mode of actions because some of isolates causing ripe rot are not sensitive to one of these materials.