MidSouth Grape

I have been intrigued by the ‘MidSouth’ grapevine growing in my vineyard; enough so, that I tracked its entire pedigree down to the species level.  Here is what I found:

50% Vitis champinii

37.89% Vitis vinifera

5.08% Vitis rupestris

4.69% Unknown (probably V. vinifera and V. rupestris, but could not confirm)

1.56% Vitis berlandieri

0.78% Vitis lincecumii

It is an intriguing vine — moderately vigorous with moderate crop load.  Fruit set was very good this year and it is early compared to the other grapes I have in the vineyard.  Last year it had a distinct “raspberry” flavor, but I want to replicate that again in my mouth before declaring it as a consistent trait.  It is somewhat susceptible to anthracnose (caused by Elsinoe ampelina), as you can see in the photo below. ‘MidSouth’ has its faults — relatively low sugar levels, higher than desired acid, seeded, disease susceptibility, etc., but overall it is a cultivar with an interesting background.

Developing 'MidSouth' cluster in early May2015

Developing ‘MidSouth’ cluster in early May2015

Flea Beetle Damage in the Vineyard

Flea beetles are an early season pest in the vineyard.  Both the adults and larvae are present during the Spring.  The best time to control this pest is at bud swell, as if not controlled they will continue to cause problems later as larvae.  Several products can be used to control flea beetles in the vineyard, such as Sevin, Danitol, Baythroid, etc.  See the photo below for the kind of damage the larvae can inflict on leaves (but also blooms).  Adult beetles will feed on swelling primary buds, and this is the more serious type of damage that occurs.  If this is a problem, they should be controlled to prevent a reduction in shoots (and crop) in the following years.

Flea beetle larvae feeding damage

Flea beetle larvae feeding damage

Ambrosia Beetles Found in Muscadine Vines

Now muscadine growers have a new pest to concern themselves with in south Mississippi.  Recently, Chris Werle (USDA-ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory Poplarville, MS) found ambrosia beetles attacking muscadine vines.  These beetles are extremely harmful to the plants they attack.  Not only do the beetles attack the plant, but they also transmit a fungus (e.g. Fusarium spp.) that can eventually take down the plant.  Infested plant parts should be removed and destroyed.  Plants showing heavy infestation and/or significant related disease symptoms should be removed to halt further spread.  Control must be done before the beetle burrows into the plant.  The two links below have suggestions as well as photos of the pest.

North Carolina State University http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/trees/note111/note111.html

Clemson University http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/turforn/ambrosia_beetles_to22.html

Below are some photos from Chris Werle of ambrosia beetle damage on muscadine and fig.

Ambrosia beetle damage on fig. Notice sawdust from boring hole

Ambrosia beetle damage on fig. Notice sawdust from boring hole (Photo by Chris Werle)

A trunk of a muscadine vine heavily infested by ambrosia beetle. Notice the many entry holes. (Photo by Chris Werle)

A trunk of a muscadine vine heavily infested by ambrosia beetle. Notice the many entry holes. (Photo by Chris Werle)

Ambrosia beetle damage on muscadine vine cordons.  Diagnostic "straws" of sawdust indicate the presence of the insect. (Photo by Chris Werle)

Ambrosia beetle damage on muscadine vine cordons. Diagnostic “straws” of sawdust indicate the presence of the insect. (Photo by Chris Werle)

Beware Buying Fruit Plants at the Big Box Stores

I only write this as a public service message.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not necessarily blaming big box stores for their inventory.  I don’t know how some of the varieties are chosen and how they are labeled, but the consumer must be wary when shopping at these locations.  This past weekend I visited a big box store for a few items I needed.  I didn’t need any fruit plants, but I decided to take a look at what was available.  Needless to say, I was dismayed at the selection.  Where do I begin?

Available grape vine varieties: Concord, Flame Seedless, Black Monukka, Mars, Thompson Seedless.  Problem: All of these are not resistant to Pierce’s Disease and will die within a couple of years at most. There were no muscadine varieties available at this location in south Mississippi.  It boggles the mind. Solution: Do some serious research before buying grapes in the Deep South. Muscadines are the best option.  Some bunch grapes do have potential, but are not usually very common in the nursery trade.

Available blueberry varieties: Legacy, O’Neal. Problem: There is no problem with these per se, except that one was mislabeled as a rabbiteye variety (Vaccinium virgatum) and the other a wild blueberry species (Vaccinium darrowii) when they are actually southern highbush (Vaccinium spp.).  I did not see any rabbiteye varieties (although I did not look at every plant).  Rabbiteye varieties are the best option for a homeowner here.  Solution: Southern highbush blueberries are partially self-fertile but will do better with a pollinizer.  Rabbiteye varieties require planting two different varieties with overlapping bloom times.  None of this information was available on the labeling at the store.  Local nurseries will have a better selection.

Available pecan variety: Elliot. Problem: There were two tags on the tree.  One said ‘Elliot’ pecan and the other said “ungrafted seedling”, which means it is NOT Elliot, but seedling of Elliot. This is very misleading.  Someone thinking they were getting an Elliot may end up disappointed.  A seedling of Elliot may or may not have some of the Elliot traits that make it desirable to grow.  Pecan trees also need to have two different varieties with overlapping bloom periods in order to produce nuts.  In this case there was only one type available. Solution: Local nurseries may not have the best selection.  The internet is your friend in this case.  Most pecan trees come from AL, GA, or TX, although if you search hard enough you can find some in MS.  A homeowner should choose varieties that are resistant to pecan scab.  If you don’t and do not plan to control the disease, it is really a waste of your time, money, and effort.

Available bramble variety: Boysenberry. Problem: Boysenberry is a hybrid raspberry x blackberry cross that originates from the west coast of the U.S. and is not especially tolerant of high heat conditions.  Coupled with the high humidity and prodigious spring rainfall it is a recipe for poor plant production.  It was also mislabeled as Rubus ursinus. Solution: Many blackberry varieties are available that will grow and produce in the Deep South.  Raspberries fair less well because they too do not tolerate the heat as well as blackberries.  I have seen blackberry varieties available at local nurseries recently, namely Kiowa, Apache, and Brazos (!).  These are far better options than Boysenberry in our area, although the thorny types will have problems with rosette (double blossom) fungus.

There were probably other fruiting plants that I didn’t look at too closely at to see if there were problems with them as well.  The real lesson here is this:  Know what you are looking for and why.  Realize that all blueberries or grapes or pecan are not created equal.  Some do well here and some do not.  Mislabeling is not a new thing in the nursery trade, but seeing the grievous errors in these examples made me cringe.   Before buying at the big box store near you, educate yourself on the crop you wish to purchase, talk to the folks in the garden center, and if you are not satisfied go somewhere else.  Contact your local county Extension office for more information on fruit crops for your area.  Or feel free to contact me.  I can help.

2015 Grape and Muscadine Short Course Update

UPDATE:

The MSU Grape and Muscadine Short Course will be held Tuesday, March 10 in Pontotoc, MS.  The address is: 

MSU Pontotoc Extension Office at 402 C.J. Hardin Jr. Drive

Pontotoc, MS 38863

 

The MSU Grape and Muscadine Short Course originally scheduled for February 26 in Verona, MS is being rescheduled.  The new date has not been established yet, but should be by the end of the week or early next week.  Once that information is in hand, I will update this post and include the new date.

Last week the class was held in Hattiesburg and we had a good and excited crowd on hand to learn viticulture techniques.  We look forward to an even bigger crowd at the next one in Verona.  Keep an eye on this post for more information as it becomes available.

Reported Fruit Problems in Mississippi 2014

The list below illustrates the types of pathogens/problems found on fruit plants submitted to the Mississippi State University plant diagnostic lab in 2014. The general format of the list shows the common name for the disease, followed by the scientific name of the pathogen, followed by a number in parentheses that indicates the number of times this problem was diagnosed in the lab.

Apple (Malus x domestica)
• Apple Scab suspected (Venturia inaequalis) (1)
• Cedar apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniper-virginianae) (1)
• Diplodia canker (Diplodia mutila) (1)
• Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) (1)
• Flyspeck (Schizothyrium pomi) (1)
• Phoma Leaf spot (Phoma sp.) (1)
• Russetting (Abiotic) (1)
• Sooty Blotch (Gloeodes pomigena) (1)
• Undetermined (mummified fruit ) (1)

Blackberry (Rubus sp.) ‘Arapaho’
• Abiotic (Freeze damage) (4)
• Blackberry Rust (Phragmidium violaceum) (1)
• Cane blight (Coniothyrium fuckelii) (1)

Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.)
• Abiotic (Cold injury) (1)
• Abiotic (Possibly Glyphosate) (1)
• Leaf spot (Cercospora rubi) (1)
• Leaf spot (Septoria sp.) (1)
• Fruit Spot (Exobasdium maculosum (1)
• Twig Blight ( Fusicoccum sp.) (1)

Cherry (Prunus sp.)
• Insufficient sample (Vascular disruption suspected) (1)

Fig, Common (Ficus carica)

• Diplodia canker (Diplodia sp.) (1)
• Rust (Cerotelium fici) (1)
• Undetermined fruit rot (1)

Fruit Trees (Prunus sp.)
• Black knot (Apiosporina morbosa) (1)

Grape (Vitis vinifera)
• Abiotic (Magnesium deficiency suspected) (1)
• Abiotic (Freeze injury suspected) (2)
• Black Rot (Guignardia bidwellii / Phyllosticta ampelicida) (2)

Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
• Borers suspected (1)

Jujube (Ziziphus jujube)
• Leaf spot (Cercospora sp.) (1)
• Fruit injury undetermined (1)

Mayhaw (Crataegus aestivalis)
• Insect infestation (1)
• Sooty mold (1)

Peach (Prunus persica)
• Brown fruit rot (Moilinia fructicola) (2)
• Peach leaf curl (Taphrina deformans) (1)
• Root rot (Armillaria sp.) (1)
• San Jose Scale (Quadraspidiotus perniciosus) (1)

Pear (Pyrus sp.)
• Abiotic (Chemical root injury suspected) (1)
• Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) (2)
• Phomopsis Twig Blight (Phomopsis sp.) (1)
• Quince rust (Gymnosporangium clavipes) (1)

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

• Abiotic (Possible Nitrogen Burn or nutritional issue) (1)

• Animal injury suspected (1)

• No pathogens (1)
• Pecan phylloxera (Phylloxera devastratrix) (2)

Plum (Prunus sp.)

• Abiotic (Sunscald suspected) (1)
• Black knot (Apiosporina morbosa) (1)

Plum (Prunus spp.) ‘Shiro’
• Bacterial spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni) (2)
• Brown rot (Monilinia fructicola) (1)
• Plum curculio (Conotrachelus nenuphar) (1)
• Scale insect (1)

Satsuma (Citrus reticulata)
• Root/Stem injury suspected (1)

See the entire list here: http://msucares.com/lab/2014list.pdf

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!

More info here: http://msucares.com/news/farmweek/pages-weekly/2015/2015-01-30msugrapecourses.html

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.