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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Late Spring Grape Predators

Gophers are our enemy, first and foremost. They love the well-drained Kelsey Bench soil. They will feed off of roots, clustering around the vines, slowly devouring it and crippling it below ground. Eventually the vine just gives up and will simply die with little warning. Pure evil. They also like to cluster around endposts, loosening the soil so that they all pull.
Ground squirrels. More of a nuisance than a direct threat, they still can cause serious burrowing mayhem, damaging whatever might be in their way. Their burrowing is impressive, often sinking above-ground objects into their tunnels.

Deer, we really hate deer. They will buzzsaw through a vine in no time. Now that all of our vines have been shoot thinned, the deer damage is even worse. These canes might throw some lateral shoots to compensate for their wanton emasculation, but they are eunuchs at this point with little point in living this year.

Yeah, it is May 23rd, what the hell? Frost damage with June just around the corner? This is frozen Aglianico found while shoot thinning.

Last night the wind machine ran from 11:30 until 6am. On May 23rd - that is right, almost June. Fortunately, frost damage has been minor, just a few shoots here and there, often in the center of dense spurs where air was stagnant and the vine just sort of gave up that particular cane.

Summer threats: birds, turkeys in particular in Lake County which clean every single berry off a vine in neat fashion, sunburn, orange tortrix (largely under control in Lake County now), and the dreaded European moth at this point. For some reason Lake County has yet to trap one, even though we are surrounded by quarantined counties. It is inevitable that it will appear here, but we keep fingers crossed.

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