Border Patrol and rot watch

Well, it is now August. I have a harvester in one tomato field and two melon fields. Not nearly as close to more fields coming off than I usually am this time of year. We started some wine grapes last year by the second week of August but my earliest block of White Zins are not even fully colored yet. Table grapes and stone fruit seem to be the only crops that are not significantly late. So now in the raisin and wine grapes, that need to hang until the get very, very sweet, I do what I call Border Patrol and rot watch. Border patrol is just making sure no mites are coming in from neighboring crops or along dusty roads. These are notorious “hot” spots for mites. We have all the fields sprayed for mites now and we just need to keep them under control for a few more weeks. The morning dews have been good with the night time temperatures being cool so this helps to slow the mite populations down. I am also on the look out in the grapes for rot

. As the clusters ripen and the berries soften, they have a tendency to pop and leak, especially if the bunches are real tight. This tightness of bunches is usually dependent on the variety. The leakiness of the berries is also dependent on variety, for the most part. Also growing conditions can cause the skin of the berries to be thin and that is also a problem. With this cooler growing season we make see more leaking, which means we may need to use more fungicides (pesticides that kill fungal diseases) than we normally would. And if the grapes hang longer trying to sugar up, that leaves them vulnerable to more rot developing. We have issues with rot an mold on other crops as well. Tomatoes are vulnerable to rot and mold as they ripen. Sun damage on the exposed fruit makes the tomatoes susceptible to black mold . So we spray to keep that from developing as well. This year is seems the cooler nights have come earlier and the dew on the exposed fruit is starting up black mold earlier. So if people wonder why some pesticide use goes up this year, it’s all in the weather!

Thanks to UCIPM for the photos

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