Grape Crop Management: What to Look Out for with Harvest Season Looming

Jim Rogers Alabama, Georgia, Grapes

By Clint Thompson

Harvest season is on the horizon for grape producers in Georgia and Alabama. Now is a critical time for growers to implement their disease and pest management strategies.

Grape Management
Sarah Lowder, University of Georgia viticulture Extension specialist

Sarah Lowder, University of Georgia viticulture Extension specialist, discussed what producers should be mindful of with harvest season just a few weeks away.

“At this point, keeping on top of your disease pressure for a lot of the diseases. The period of highest risk is around bloom and shortly before bloom. As we’re getting into fruit set and berry development there are a lot of diseases that you still have to keep in mind and different insects that will come in,” Lowder said. “Also, one of the issues that grape growers deal with in Georgia is canopy vigor. We tend to have a lot of strongly growing grape vines so making sure that you control your canopy is also very important; just keeping your vines from trailing on the ground or making sure you get your spray penetrating into that canopy for disease control.”

Foliar diseases like powdery mildew and downy mildew are concerning for growers in the Southeast. Each can occur under different environmental conditions, starting with downy mildew.

“That will very much depend on how much rainfall you get. Powdery mildew, you need less rainfall so if conditions are not right for downy, they’re pretty good for powdery,” Lowder said.

Fruit rots are more concerning for farmers during the fruit ripening stage.

Lowder said some of the early varieties will be harvested in August. The harvest period can linger into October.