A new tool is available for wine grape growers around the state to help identify potential problems – the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Grapevine Disorders Pocket Guide for Growers in Texas.
Michael Cook, AgriLife Extension viticulture specialist, Denton, said the pocket guide was a collaborative effort by AgriLife Extension viticulture team members around the state. It is designed to help vineyard owners and managers make initial assessments as they scout vines.
“After a year in development AgriLife has published the first-ever Grapevine Disorder field guide designed for Texas wine grape growers,” Cook said. “We view this as the first tool in the toolbox, and that is identifying something that may or may not be a problem.”
The guide includes more than 200 high-quality photos taken at Texas vineyards by the AgriLife Extension viticulture team, Cook said. It includes common and uncommon pests and diseases as well as occurrences that may appear to be problematic but are actually benign and require no action.
Identify potential problems
The guide covers a range of diseases, including black rot and Pierce’s disease, and pests like green June beetles and berry moths, with photos and commentary containing information to help the reader correctly assess the potential problem.
“The field guide is a good reference point for scouting vines,” he said. “We want to be effective at identifying the problem. And then the owner can look at sources like our Texas Grape Growers Management Guide for Pierce’s disease and other online resources or contact our viticulture specialists for more insight.”
The field guide also covers a number of environmental symptomologies such as hail damage, sunburn, drought stress and other potential harms to vines and grapes, he said. It also provides identification for beneficial insects that can be mistaken as harmful.
Made to meet viticulturist demand
This guide comes in a durable 4-inch-by-6-inch print copy with waterproof covers and metal bindings designed to be thrown in a farm truck or ATV while scouting in the vineyard, Cook said. It can be purchased online at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension bookstore or at any major AgriLife Extension viticulture events. Cost is $30.
“We’ve gotten a great response to it at a large viticulture conference,” he said. “It’s something that has been highly requested not just by vineyard owners and managers, but also AgriLife Extension agents and Master Gardeners.”
Cook said viticulture continues to grow in Texas. Just last year, the number of wineries grew from around 520 to 600. The viticulture team reported at least a few hundred new acres of wine grapes were being planted this spring due to grower expansion or new growers.
“Viticulture continues to grow statewide,” he said. “And we’re proud to say this is a statewide guide. It isn’t just for growers in Central or North Texas. We wanted something that was reliable and accurate for Texas, and the AgriLife Extension pocket guide for grapevine growers is the result.”