2015 Mississippi Grape and Muscadine Short Courses Announced

Thanks to a grant from the Specialty Crops Block grant program and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, MSU Extension Service will be hosting two short courses for grape and muscadine growers.  One will be held in Verona and the other in Hattiesburg.  Each short course will meet on two dates, one in February and one in July, so that attendees can see and experience the vineyard at different growing seasons.  Because the grant covers all the expenses, the short course will be free to attend; however, pre-registration is mandatory.  Below the schedules and registration form can be downloaded.

Grape and Muscadine Short Course: Hattiesburg

Grape and Muscadine Short Course: Verona

This course is intended for COMMERCIAL growers (and those interested in becoming commercial) only — those who currently grow or wish to grow for markets (farmer’s markets, local retail, wineries, etc.).  Please see the links above for further details and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  We look forward to seeing you at these great events!

MSU Fall Flower and Garden Fest 2014 — Presentation on Fruit Crops

Last week, I gave a presentation on Fruit Crops for your Yard at the MSU Fall Flower and Garden Fest that was held in Crystal Springs.  This is a big event, with over 5,000 attendees each year.  You can find more info on this event at this link: Fall Flower and Garden Fest

As for my participation, I presented on some of the common fruit crops that are grown in Mississippi.  Unfortunately, the time is short (45 minutes) and I can’t go into all the details I wish I could.  But I tried to give the basics on several different popular fruit crops.  To access the PDF version of the presentation, click below:

Fruit Crops for your Yard

Mississippi Chill Hour Accumulation

I have previously wrote on the topic of chill hours, but I also get a lot of requests for what the accumulated hours are for the season.  This year I will be posting them on this site on the page entitled Chill Hours (on the right hand side of your screen).  By visiting this page, you will be able to keep up to date on the accumulated chill hours as reported by locations in five counties in Mississippi — Copiah, George, Jones, Lee, and Wayne.  The recordings are reported by volunteers, so they may or may not be available for each week.  In the future I hope to put together data from previous years (at least those I have) and also make them available on the site.

As of today, the first posting is up.  Each recording season runs from October 1 to April 1 of the following year.

A Unique Piece of Mississippi Viticulture History

A couple weeks ago I was on the coast and drove by this sign (see photo).  I knew it was there, as I had looked for it previously, but had forgotten to take a photo.  This time my wife was able to get a shot for me, it is below. Very interesting to know that a commercial vineyard was so close to the coast — and that a Mississippi winery shipped wine across the U.S.  Can history repeat itself?  I did a cursory look for an remnant grapes, but didn’t see any.

Brown's Vineyard, Waveland, Mississippi

Brown’s Vineyard, Waveland, Mississippi

If you want to find this for yourself it is on Hwy 90 just West of Bay St. Louis, on the South side of the road.

Strange Gall on Grape Vine

Earlier this year I found a strange growth occurring on a grape vine in my yard.  It looked like a nut coming from the bud.  It was hard and woody.  Having seen similar things on other plants, I had an idea that an insect caused this phenomenon.  After asking colleagues about it and doing some research, we whittled it down to Schizomyia vitiscoryloides.  It is in the same Family as gall midges.  It is in the Order Diptera, along with gnats, mosquitoes,and true flies.  In this case, it appears the egg was laid in or near the bud.  The plant responds with unusual growth around the larva that develop from the egg.  Inside, the larva is protected and can feed.  The larva eventually falls to the ground where it will pupate.  Removal of the galls is not usually necessary, but it may help reduce future populations.  See the photos below for the gall and the inside of the gall with the yellow-colored larva.

Gall on grape vine

Gall on grape vine

Inside of the gall, with the larvae

Inside of the gall, with the larva

Native Grapes in Mississippi and Louisiana

No, this is not an in-depth coverage of the native grapes that exist in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is more a plea for help in identifying grapes and marveling at the diversity. The photo below shows three grape clusters from three different vines at two different locations. The longer, loose cluster was found in Covington, LA whereas the shorter two are both from Poplarville, MS.

Native Grape Clusters from MS and LA.

Native Grape Clusters from MS and LA.

The larger cluster is loose, which is a good trait to have in order to reduce disease.  It also has red flesh and would help with deeper color for wine (teinturier).  The small cluster in the middle had the best flavor of the three.  In fact the other two had little flavor to speak of, but the middle cluster had a nice burst of fruitiness that made it stand out.  It is small and tight clustered though.  The bottom cluster has a decent size and is fairly loose.  The vine it came from was extremely productive with hundreds of these clusters all over it (well the vine is huge and goes across many trees).  I should have taken photos of the leaves, but did not.  I plan to save some of the seeds and might grow some out just to take a look.  If anyone out there has experience in IDing native grapes, please give me a suggestion to go on.  Below are the search results for Vitis species within MS and LA from plants.usda.gov

State Search for Genus = vitis
State and Province Distribution = U.S. States (Louisiana, Mississippi)

61 records returned

Click on an accepted name below to view its PLANTS Profile with all synonyms, distribution map, more information, and web links if available. Synonyms are indented beneath accepted counterparts.

Symbol Scientific Name Common Name
PAQU2 Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch. Virginia creeper
AMHEM Ampelopsis hederacea (Ehrh.) DC. var. murorum Focke
AMLA7 Ampelopsis latifolia Tausch
AMQU3 Ampelopsis quinquefolia (L.) Michx.
HEQU3 Hedera quinquefolia L.
PAHI9 Parthenocissus hirsuta (Pursh) Graebn.
PAIN10 Parthenocissus inserta (Kern.) Fritsch
PAQUH Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch. var. hirsuta (Pursh) Planch.
PAQUM Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch. var. murorum (Focke) Rehder
PAQUS Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch. var. saintpaulii (Koehne ex Graebn.) Rehder
PSQU Psedera quinquefolia (L.) Greene
PSQUM Psedera quinquefolia (L.) Greene var. murorum (Focke) Rehder
VIIN8 Vitis inserta Kern.
VIQU2 Vitis quinquefolia (L.) Lam.
VITIS Vitis L. grape
VIAE Vitis aestivalis Michx. summer grape
VIAEA2 Vitis aestivalis Michx. var. aestivalis summer grape
VILIG Vitis lincecumii Buckley var. glauca Munson
VILIL Vitis lincecumii Buckley var. lactea Small
VIRU8 Vitis rufotomentosa Small
VISI3 Vitis simpsonii Munson 1890, non 1887
VISL3 Vitis ×slavinii Rehder
VISM Vitis smalliana L.H. Bailey
VIAEL Vitis aestivalis Michx. var. lincecumii (Buckley) Munson long grape
VILI Vitis lincecumii Buckley
VICI2 Vitis cinerea (Engelm.) Engelm. ex Millard graybark grape
VICIB Vitis cinerea (Engelm.) Engelm. ex Millard var. baileyana (Munson) Comeaux graybark grape
VIBA Vitis baileyana Munson
VICIC2 Vitis cinerea (Engelm.) Engelm. ex Millard var. cinerea graybark grape
VIAEC Vitis aestivalis Michx. var. canescens Engelm.
VIAEC2 Vitis aestivalis Michx. var. cinerea Engelm.
VICIC Vitis cinerea (Engelm.) Engelm. ex Millard var. canescens (Engelm.) L.H. Bailey
VICIF Vitis cinerea (Engelm.) Engelm. ex Millard var. floridana Munson Florida grape
VIAU4 Vitis austrina Small
VISI4 Vitis simpsonii Munson 1887, non 1890
VISO4 Vitis sola L.H. Bailey
VILA8 Vitis labrusca L. fox grape
VILAS2 Vitis labrusca L. var. subedentata Fernald
VIMU2 Vitis mustangensis Buckley mustang grape
VICA12 Vitis candicans Engelm. ex A. Gray
VICAD2 Vitis candicans Engelm. ex A. Gray var. diversa L.H. Bailey
VIMUD Vitis mustangensis Buckley var. diversa (L.H. Bailey) Shinners
VIPA7 Vitis palmata Vahl catbird grape
VIRU6 Vitis rubra Michx.
VIRI Vitis riparia Michx. riverbank grape
VIRIP Vitis riparia Michx. var. praecox Engelm. ex L.H. Bailey
VIRIS Vitis riparia Michx. var. syrticola (Fernald & Wiegand) Fernald
VIVUR Vitis vulpina L. ssp. riparia (Michx.) R.T. Clausen
VIVUP Vitis vulpina L. var. praecox (Engelm. ex L.H. Bailey) L.H. Bailey
VIVUS Vitis vulpina L. var. syrticola Fernald & Wiegand
VIRO3 Vitis rotundifolia Michx. muscadine
MURO Muscadinia rotundifolia (Michx.) Small
VIROR Vitis rotundifolia Michx. var. rotundifolia muscadine
MUROR Muscadinia rotundifolia (Michx.) Small var. rotundifolia
VIRU2 Vitis rupestris Scheele sand grape
VIRUD Vitis rupestris Scheele var. dissecta Eggert ex L.H. Bailey
VIVU Vitis vulpina L. frost grape
VICO3 Vitis cordifolia Michx.
VICOF Vitis cordifolia Michx. var. foetida Engelm.
VICOS Vitis cordifolia Michx. var. sempervirens Munson
VIIL Vitis illex L.H. Bailey

2014 Muscadine Field Day a Success

The 2014 Muscadine Field Day was a great success. The cooperative event by Mississippi State University and the USDA-ARS is held every year in McNeill, MS. The weather was cool (relatively), so the crowd came out — about 110 in all. The educational portion of the program covered muscadine history, health properties, and pollination. Attendees were then free to ask questions and taste the ripe grapes. See the photos below for a quick peek at how it all went.

The crowd at the Muscadine Field Day listening on  to the program.

The crowd at the Muscadine Field Day listening on to the program.

Dr. Shaw addresses the topic of health-related properties of muscadines.

Dr. Shaw addresses the topic of health-related properties of muscadines.

Fruit tasting gets underway.

Fruit tasting gets underway.

Reggie Davis provides guidance on training new vines.

Reggie Davis provides guidance on training new vines.

Fruit Crops for Mississippi Farmers’ Markets

Yesterday I gave a presentation on “Best Fruit Crops for Mississippi Farmers’ Markets”.  It was part of the “Microfarming – Growing for Farmers’ Markets” workshop put on by Dr. Rick Snyder and others.  You can see more info on the workshop as well as links to other information related to Farmers’ Markets here: http://farmersmarkets.msstate.edu/conference/.

My presentation from the Farmers' Market Workshop

My presentation from the Farmers’ Market Workshop

The full presentation can be accessed here as a PDF file: Fruit Crops for MS Farmers Markets

 

Magnesium Deficiency in the Vineyard

Nutrient deficiencies can adversely affect grapevines, not only the growth of the vine itself, but also the fruit.  Here in Poplarville, the soil pH is low.  To give you an idea, in general this area is good for growing blueberries.  Blueberries thrive in soil pH of 4.2-5.2, which is too low for most grapevines.  Often in other regions I have seen Iron (Fe) deficiency but here, because of the low soil pH, I am seeing Magnesium (Mg) deficiency show up.  The photo below shows what late season leaf symptoms look like.  I don’t remember which vine this came from — some cultivars appear to tolerate the soil pH better than others.

Mg deficiency caused by low soil pH

Mg deficiency caused by low soil pH

So, what to do about it?  Raise the soil pH with lime is the first thing.  If that doesn’t alleviate the problem, then foliar or soil applied sprays may be necessary.  My colleague at Cornell University, Hans Walter-Peterson, gives an excellent primer on Mg deficiency and offers suggestions for correcting it.  You can find that here: http://www.growingproduce.com/uncategorized/managing-magnesium-in-grapes/.  The eXtension grape community of practice has a good article on other potential disorders too — that article can be accessed here: https://www.extension.org/pages/31599/grapevine-problems:-leaf-spots-not-caused-by-insects-or-disease#.U-jgJfldV8E

You may be inclined to think, “It is after harvest, so I shouldn’t worry about it”.  Nutrient deficiencies can lead to poor winter hardiness, overall vine stress, and other issues.  It is best to correct the problem rather than to let it negatively affect the vine.