Most vineyards are growing at a blinding pace by now. Varietals like Sauvignon blanc are slow starters – but watch out, they catch up VERY fast in the mid-term.
With the dry season that we are currently experiencing, there are some key factors that one must be aware of.
- The new growth of a vineyard is like a buffet to insects, and with hardly any other food source available due to the drought, they will have a field day in the vineyards. You will find loads of insects in the vineyards – not all are criminals! – here are some to look out for: Weevils (Kalanders), Bag Worms (Stokkies wurm), Termites (Termiete of Rysmiere) and snails.
- Start monitoring for mealy bug with yellow Delta traps
- Suckering is also very important right now. Removing unwanted shoots helps the vine to channel its energy and water to the right places. In this dry year you can’t start too soon!
- Get your fungicide program going – start early with systemic fungicides on vineyards that have a history of Powdery Mildew. Keep monitoring you vineyards for any early signs of Downy Mildew (yellow spots on the leaves with white fungal growth on the backside of the leaf)
- Make sure you have NO WEEDS growing, especially in the dry season, where water competition is a no-no, ESPECIALLY in old vineyards. This applies to cover crops too.
- Make sure your irrigation lines are flushed and ready – first irrigation can start where the probes or other tools indicate. Where water is an issue (limited water/supplementary) rather give larger irrigations at flowering and veraison instead of pulse irrigation, where you risk losing a lot of the moisture to surface evaporation.
That’s this month in a nutshell. Enjoy the growing season, it’s over before you can say “KALANDER!”