Increasing Potential for Biological Control of Grape Diseases

Research Date
Annemiek Schilder
Best Practices, Crop Quality, Disease Management, Pest Management
Crop Categories
Beverage Categories

Fungal pathogens of grapevines are responsible for annual losses as well as multiple fungicide applications per year in Michigan vineyards. These pathogens usually overwinter in the vineyard either in leaf and fruit debris or on/in the overwintering wood. Disease severity varies from year to year depending on the amount of inoculum surviving from the previous season and the weather conditions which may be more or less conducive to disease development that year. There is a general interest in environmentally friendly disease control options and biological control agents have been shown to be effective against grape pathogens. Even so, biological control agents have not been used widely in grape production. The reason is that, in general, they tend to be more variable in their efficacy than chemical fungicides and do not have systemic activity. In addition, applying conventional fungicides in a program with biological control agents may be more complicated as some chemicals may adversely affect biocontrol agent which are living organisms. Instead of using biological control agents during the growing season, it may make more sense to apply them at the end of the growing season and allow them to parasitize or antagonize grape pathogens as they prepare to overwinter. The objectives of this study are designed to test that hypothesis.

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