Practical management of grapevine trunk diseases

Summary

Objectives

To determine if eutypa and botryosphaeria dieback can be managed using the same practices.

To deliver sustainable vineyard management systems, improved viticultural production and an expanded professional skill base for the industry.

Background

Eutypa dieback (ED) and Botryosphaeria dieback (BD) are major trunk diseases that cause significant yield reduction and threaten the sustainability of Australian vineyards. The causal fungi infect vines primarily through pruning wounds and colonise wood, causing dieback and death. Pruning wound treatments can be applied effectively with sprayers, although it is imperative to optimise timing and frequency of application. Pruning recommendations to avoid infection are based on 50-year-old data on apricots. Recent, conflicting information for grapes in other parts of the world highlights the need for local research to provide appropriate recommendations for Australian growers.

Research approach

The research includes at least eight different field trials, three complementary glasshouse detached cane assay experiments and one potted vine experiment, to be repeated each year during the project. Field trials will be conducted in both South Australia and New South Wales. The research plan will address the following aspects:

  • Inoculum dispersal throughout the pruning season
  • Duration of pruning wound susceptibility
  • Optimised timing of wound protection treatments
  • Potential of remedial surgery to control Botryosphaeria dieback
  • Identification of tolerant or resistant germplasm
  • Impact of drought and regulated irrigation

Industry Benefit

Grapevine trunk diseases can cause severe economic loss if not managed effectively.This project will continue efforts to develop and optimise management strategies that maintain the health and sustainability of vineyards and the wine industry. Uptake of the outcomes and recommendations is expected to enhance vineyard production, provide growers with new options to manage disease and promote the competitiveness of the industry.