Some Notes on Bunch Grapes in South Mississippi

I have a vineyard in Poplarville, MS with several different varieties of bunch grapes.  Some will make it, some won’t, but it is interesting to look nonetheless.  Below are some notes I made today on their growth and development.  These are all in their second leaf and first fruiting year.

Victoria Red — some Pierce’s Disease symptoms (PD), not extremely productive, clusters variable in size and shape, some vines no crop while others better, bird depredation and bees a problem, fruit is crisp and sweet with good flavor (close to neutral), some seeds, vines have good vigor, non-slipskin

Cimarron — very few clusters, small cluster size, slipskin with “Welchy” flavor, some PD symptoms, moderate vine vigor

Sunset — no crop, possible PD symptoms, low vigor

Cynthiana — moderate vigor, no fruit

Rubaiyat — possible PD symptoms, vine vigor varies among vines, some vines no fruit and some lots, slipskin, red flesh, flavor mild to neutral, good sized clusters when present, some vines appear stressed, some uneven ripening, some nutritional deficiency symptoms, bird and bee depredation

Lake Emerald — good fruit set, not ripening yet, evidence of nutritional deficiency, clusters loose, vine vigor good to moderate

Daytona — no fruit, vine vigor low to moderate

Champanel — few clusters, slipskin, mild fruit flavor, cluster size medium to large, “slimy” pulp, some nutritional deficiency symptoms, possible PD symptoms, vine vigor moderate, clusters loose

V12-375(?) — little fruit, vigorous growth, not ripening yet, clean foliage except a couple older leaves with possible PD or nutrient deficiency symptoms

Conquistador — no fruit, vine vigorous, shows nutrient deficiency, some leaves drying out and dying

Himrod — poor growth, no fruit

FAMU 99 — moderate vine vigor, no fruit

MidSouth — low to moderate vine vigor, little fruit, small clusters, intriguing “raspberry” flavor, slipskin

The varieties below have been harvested as of July 24.  Although they were not at optimal soluble solid levels, bird depredation dictated an early harvest so that my study would not be ruined.

Villard blanc — long, loose clusters, brix around 16, some leave damage from Pristine, nonslipskin, obvious “wine”-like grape flavor, vines moderate vigor

Blanc du bois — vines vigorous, large to medium cluster size, brix around 17-18, anthracnose a problem, slipskin

Miss blanc — less vigorous than VB and BdB, less fruit too, brix around 15

If you have questions or comments on these I would love to hear them.

‘Victoria Red’ Grape in South Mississippi

Last year I planted some ‘Victoria Red’ in Poplarville, MS.  They are not part of a study, but rather for observation — what kind of diseases will show up, how much to they produce, and will they survive?  So far, things have worked out okay.  Right now they are rolling on toward harvest.  This is the first year they are being fruited, so I don’t want to jump to too many conclusions yet.  At this point, I see some variability in cluster size.  I also see symptoms of Pierce’s Disease.  Whether or not these symptoms will lead to the demise of the vine is to be determined.  Below are a few photos that I took a couple weeks ago, as the clusters were starting veraison.

Victoria Red cluster starting veraison.  This cluster is more compact than some others.

Victoria Red cluster starting veraison. This cluster is more compact than some others.

Another Victoria Red cluster.  This one is longer and less compact.

Another Victoria Red cluster. This one is longer and less compact.

Symptoms of Pierce's Disease on Victoria Red

Symptoms of Pierce’s Disease on Victoria Red

Next year will really be interesting on these vines.  I only have fewer than a dozen, but they should yield some nice fruit (I hope).  If you are interested you can find more information on Victoria Red at this link:

Getting vines is difficult.  I see that Double A Vineyards advertises them but is out of stock.  Your best bet may be to get some from a nursery in Texas (where the cultivar was tested and released from).  I will continue to update the progress of this promising cultivar.



NABREW: Exo and SWD Info Nuggets

The 2014 North American Blueberry Research and Extension Workers (NABREW) conference was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  This conference is held every 4 years and this was the first one I attended.  It was highly informative with great presentations on blueberry viruses, genetics and genomics, insect pests, blueberry culture, blueberry pollinators, blueberry breeding, history, weed management, phenology prediction, fungal pests, and Extension.  I was very interested in the sections on pest management because of the issues we are having with Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) and Exobasidium.  Luckily, some of the national experts on these pests were in attendance.  Below are some nuggets of information I gleaned from the presentations:


-Crop losses have been variable in North Carolina, with 2% reported in 2013 and most occurring during Rabbiteye season

-Georgia reported 15% loss in 2012

-Fly captures within a field are not necessarily indicative of fruit infestation

-Sprays need to be applied frequently, probably in less than 7 day intervals

-Other pests like scale and whiteflies are becoming more of a problem due to the sprays used to control SWD

-Pyganic (organic spray) has not been effective in New Jersey or other states

-Entrust (organic spray) is effective

-Weed barrier fabric has been shown to suppress populations in Florida vs. pine bark mulch

-SWD comes in from wild hosts like blackberry and dewberry

-Trap bait with Yeast + Sugar + Water is effective but needs to be changed every week

-SWD prefers raspberry and strawberry to blueberry

-After a rain event, Mustang Max still had some activity, but Malathion not much

-Delegate and Mustang Max may kill eggs and larvae (especially young larvae) within 2 days of application based on research from Michigan


-Leaf infections worse in lower part of bush and fruit infections worse in interior of bush

-Disease does not appear to be systemic

-Disease prefers areas with high humidity and poor air circulation

-A single lime sulfur spray at 1 week before green tip was very effective in controlling the disease in Georgia

-Early season applications (begin late February) of Captan and Indar worked well too, but more applications needed

-Resistance to Pristine has been seen in Georgia


The NABREW attendees in New Jersey at the P.E. Marucci Center for Blueberry & Cranberry Research & Extension in Chatsworth.

The NABREW attendees in New Jersey at the P.E. Marucci Center for Blueberry & Cranberry Research & Extension in Chatsworth.

Mississippi Vaccinium Journal July – September 2014

The latest issue of the Mississippi Vaccinium Journal is now available.  It is at the bottom as a link to a PDF.  Remember, you can always access past issues here:
In this issue we discuss Exobasidium, recap the legislator tour, fruit flies and more.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know.

Microfarming – Growing for Farmers’ Markets Conference

Microfarming – Growing for Farmers’ Markets Conference

Eagle Ridge Conference Center
1500 Raymond Lake Road
Raymond, MS

August 27-28, 2014

Small farm? Locally grown? Specialty crops? If you have ever thought about selling your produce at one of Mississippi’s farmers’ markets, this conference will give you the information you need to succeed. Learn everything from the best crops to grow and best way to market your produce to how to set up your booth at a farmers’ market.

Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, South Mississippi Farmers Market Association and Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will help small-scale farmers understand the benefits and facts of selling at farmers’ markets.

Topics include fruit and vegetable variety selection, food safety, marketing and sales approaches, online presence and marketing strategies, starting a successful farmers’ market, urban farming for the local market, benefits of selling at farmers’ markets, and MDAC programs and opportunities.

The short course is free, but advance registration is required.
Attendees must mail, email, or fax reservations to confirm attendance at the workshop. There is no charge to attend. However, you MUST reserve a spot.

For more information or to register, contact Dr. Rick Snyder at or 601-892-3731.

Complete information is on the website:

A Good Crowd at the 2014 Poplarville Blueberry Jubilee

I was in charge of getting vendors for the 2014 Poplarville Blueberry Jubilee.  This year we had about 20 vendors selling blueberry products and other related things.  Some sold out before noon.  Since this has been a good year for blueberries, there were plenty of fresh blueberries to be had (unlike last year which was dismal due to our late freezes).  Below are a couple photos of the event in front of the courthouse in downtown Poplarville, MS.

Vendors setting up at 7am for the Blueberry Jubilee

Vendors setting up at 7 am for the Blueberry Jubilee

Crowds were a little late getting started, but around 10 am things really started to pick up.

Customers getting their fresh blueberries and other related items

Customers getting their fresh blueberries and other related items

Rust on Pear Trees

This year has been active for pear rust development.  This disease (Gymnosporangium spp.)  requires two host to complete its life cycle — a pear and a juniper.  There are several related species of this disease that also cause Cedar Apple Rust, Pear Trellis Rust, Cedar Quince Rust, and others.  As you can see in the photo below, orange growth occurs on the leaves and fruit.  Later in the summer spores are released and blown by wind to the nearest juniper host.  On junipers the disease appears as a gelatinous mass on the branches that eventually hardens to a brownish colored gall.

Photo courtesy of Allan Whitehead, MSU-ES

What to do about this disease?  Sanitation is very important.  Clean up all infected leaves, fruit, and other plant parts and dispose of them away from the orchard area.  Prune out infected tissue on both pears and junipers.  Some pears and junipers are resistant to this disease, so choose those varieties if considering a new planting.  The only sure way to eliminate the disease is to get rid of one of the hosts — either the pear or the juniper.  Approved fungicides may help, but it will be a constant battle and timing of application will be critically important.

Some good links on rust diseases that show more photos and suggestions on control:

Scale Insect on Grapevines

Earlier this Spring I noticed some scale insects on my Victoria Red grapevines.  It was on only 3 of 12 vines.  I suspect they came in on the shipment of vines from Texas, but can’t be sure of it.  I am no scale identification expert, but to my eye they look like Grape-Cottony Maple Scale (see image below).

Scale on grapevine shoot

Scale on grapevine cane

Grape-Cottony Maple Scale (Pulvinaria vitis), overwinters as a small, brown scale on grape canes.  The “cottony” part is an egg sac that comes out in the Spring.  The scale can reduce the vigor of the vine as it feeds.  They may also carry and transmit viruses.  What to do about them?  Well, they can be pruned out (which is what I did) or sprayed with a horticultural oil during the dormant season or with approved insecticides.

Scale infestation on grapevine cordon

Scale infestation on grapevine cordon

The vines I had were severely infested with these scale insects, so I decided to cut off the infested parts.  In one case I took out the entire vine.  In the other two I cut it back close to the graft union.  It was not the most desirable thing to do, but these were observational plants and I had 9 more plants to look at.  I was really concerned that they would get into my experimental vines and didn’t want that to happen.

The Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook has a great description of this insect ( for more information.

Upcoming 2014 Blackberry Workshop in Arkansas

Are you interested in growing blackberries?  If so you should check out the upcoming workshop in Clarksville, Arkansas (see image below).  The workshop is being conducted by the University of Arkansas.  You can download the details here:

Blackberry Production Workshop flyer June 12, 2014

Blackberry Production Workshop

Blackberry Production Workshop