Hello Wisconsin Fruit News subscribers and welcome back to Notes from the Field: A Grower’s Perspective! I had my sixth chat with Philippe on June 27…
While it may not seem like much, 0.4 inches of rain were recorded at Wollersheim. This rain was much needed but still only a drop in the bucket as water needs continue to stress crops. As we continue to wait for more rain, Philippe and his crew are combing and hedge trimming the vines. Philippe noted that they are careful not to hedge trim too aggressively because the more you cut the more you stimulate secondary growth which consumes water.
Mowing in between rows is not a priority with the dry weather limiting growth. However, controlling weeds around young vines is a top priority. Since Philippe does not use pre-emergent herbicides for the first few years on young vines, he and his crew are hand weeding around these young vines. One benefit of the dry weather is the reduced disease pressure; however, the overcast conditions may still be conducive for some pathogens such as powdery mildew. As for pests, the first Japanese beetles were observed on a rose bush at Wollersheim. These pests can feed intensively on the foliage of grapes. Japanese beetles have been reported in other vineyards in southern Wisconsin this season, and Christelle Guédot reports on this and their management here.
The vines at Wollersheim, on average, are sitting at fruit set, but some vines have already reached pea-sized fruits or larger. Philippe notes the light canopy this season, likely due to the spring freeze damage and current drought conditions. Philippe and I discussed the recent smoke and how it could be impacting the vines. He suspects that the hazy skies are interfering with the vines getting access to direct and bright sunlight. Another potential consequence of the current conditions, specifically the dry weather, is the increased deer pressure, as these animals are desperate for lush food sources. Fortunately, the deer fencing has prevented any feeding on the vines. As we continue to deal with unpredictable and unseasonably dry growing conditions, Philippe reflects on the importance of deer fencing and irrigation when deciding to establish a vineyard. These investments will help maintain productivity and longevity of vineyards, especially in seasons like the current one.
That’s all for now! Check out the notes from my next chat with Philippe in the seventh issue of Wisconsin Fruit News on July 14. If you missed any of my previous chats with Philippe, you can find them here.
This article series is NOT intended to be prescriptive for other vineyards. It is simply an opportunity for our readership to hear from other growers about their experiences growing fruit crops in Wisconsin.
Growing the same crop does not always justify the same practices. Management decisions at your farm should be tailored to your operation and take into consideration location, regional climate, disease and pest history of your vineyard, and your varieties.
The mention of a product is NOT an endorsement. Always follow the instructions on product labels and consult weather stations (ex. NEWA) in your area for current weather forecast and disease and pest prediction models.This article was posted in Notes from the Field and tagged Leslie Holland, Notes from the Field, Philippe Coquard.