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Now that the vines show their leaves again, it's time to start with canopy management. First pass is to remove all the suckers and growth from areas not emanating from last year's wood. In a second pass we'll remove the smaller shoot if there is a double shoot growing from a single bud retained at pruning. Also lateral shoots are to be removed.
Volunteers -as always- welcome.
In the previous week we made a pass with the tractor mower and weed whacker to clean up the vineyard weeds. Herbicide was sprayed between the vines to make the control of weeds between the vines -where the mower cannot come- a bit easier.
In the front and back of the vineyard are yellow colored sticky insect traps. The traps are checked by the University of California department of Entomology for the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter, a flying insect that can carry Pierce's disease. Once a Sharpshooter feeds from an infected plant, it carries the bacteria that causes Pierce's disease for the rest of its life, and can transmit the disease to other plants while feeding. Infected grapevines eventually die, and in the late 90's many vineyards in Temecula were destroyed. A management program for Pierce's disease was put in place, and one of the activities is monitoring the Sharpshooter population size by counting insects caught in the sticky traps. Disease management activities include application of an insecticide through the irrigation system -one application lasts a whole season- and immediate removal of affected vines. The program results to date look promising. Peak population counts in Temecula went down from 2400 caught insects/week in 2008 to 150 in 2010.