Lessons (re)learned about growing healthy table grapes on my arbor

“You cannot make sweet wine out of sour grapes.”¬† ~ Thomas Fuller, English historian author and poet (1608-1661)

Neither can you produce a healthy crop of table grapes when the grapevine is infested with fungal disease such as powdery mildew or gray mold (bunch rot) (see my column on August 20, 2017). Here are a few pictures of my arbor grapevine with telltale signs of powdery mildew on leaves, canes and developing fruit. I’ve seen blue jays feeding on the grapes; birds and insects spread the disease from one grape cluster to another.

Pruning back the diseased canes and thinning out new growth  next season will help prevent the disease from reoccurring by increasing air circulation, reducing humidity buildup within the canopy and exposing the grape clusters to more sunlight. Here is a useful publication about growing table grapes on a trellis or arbor from the OSU Extension Service.

If the problem persists, I’ll try applications of fungicide sprays during critical periods of growth. If that doesn’t work, I’ll replace my grapevine with table grapes that have looser clusters – these tend to be more resistant to powdery mildew and gray mold.

Another lesson learned about gardening in Southern Oregon!

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  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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