Archive for July 19th, 2011

The Potato Leafhopper Saga, Part II

Continuing the Potato Leaf Hopper saga, which strictly speaking hasn’t yet risen to the level of a saga, it looks like we’re making some progress.  We evaluated our Nelson County vines over the weekend and are reasonably happy with what we saw.  The new leaves looked healthy and disease free, and the vine seems to be growing nicely (well, with the exception of one vine, which appears to be the runt of the litter).

This Cab Franc vine is growing slowly, but it appears healthy. No holes in the leaves from Leafhoppers, and good color.

Most important, the Potato Leafhoppers appear to have all but vanished.  Two weekends ago, they were gone.  Last weekend, we found one or two, and removed them by hand.  We’ll check again next weekend, but for now, the Vineyard Goddess is resting easy, and we doubt we’ll need to hit the vines with another dose of pesticide. 

Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering if I was being a bit overly dramatic.  You’re thinking, yeah, the Potato Leafhopper is probably some kind of mean little insect, Bob, but in a world full of pests, it’s pretty small fry.  It’s not like Donald Trump parked himself in your vineyard and let the property go to seed.  (Actually, that would be the vineyard some 30 minutes down the road.)

But trust me, the Potato Leafhopper is a pest to be taken seriously.  Consider this statement from the Compendium of Grape Diseases, an authoritative guide to vineyard problems:  “Few insects have plagued grape growers during the last century more than leafhoppers.”

 According to the Compendium, the potato leafhopper breeds in the Gulf Coast states over the winter, then grow in number through March and April before migrating northward, distributing themselves over most of the U.S.  The leafhopper harms grapes “by mechanically injuring and blocking vascular tissue, by injecting toxic enzymatic secretions, or by a combination of both mechanisms.”  You ever see Trump blocking any vascular tissue?

 In any event, it appeared that the Leafhopper was doing considerable damage to the vineyard, and we were ready to go to war with it.  With luck, we might have put that pest behind us, which will free us up to deal with the myriad other problems that plague vineyards.  Like overly acidic soil.  Or Downey Mildew.  And someday, maybe, birds, foxes and bees.  Stay tuned for the next report from the front.


July 19, 2011 | By | Reply More
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