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Preventing Bird Damage to Grapes


One of the easiest fruits we can grow in Texas is the grape. Especially if you use the right adaptive variety, such as Champanel or Lomanto, Brilliant, some of those that are not quite as susceptible to some of the fungus diseases we have.

People say, "Well I've been growing grapes of all kinds and I've never had fungus disease." Well I bet you have, because you've probably ended up with a lot of raisins. You see these little dried up grapes, about this time of the year everybody wonders why in the world have we got all these dried up grapes? We start out with a lot of good grapes and now we ended up with a bunch of raisins.

That's a fungus disease called black rot, and it has to be prevented with a weekly spray, every week to ten days with a product called Benonyl Systemic Fungicide (Bayleton). You can also see the damage on the foliage as these little spots right here, which indicates you have a very susceptible grape to black rot.

Another problem that we have about the time they get ripe, and a lot of people don't know when the Champanel or Lomanto get ripe, after it turns black , you wait two weeks. Most people try to eat them green and wonder why they are bitter. You know when they are ripe because the birds start eating them. Birds will not eat a green grape, only people will.

So if you're going to get rid of the birds, there's a couple of ways to do it. One of the nonviolent ways to protect the plant is to get this netting, and this will protect the fruit. Pull it down over the fruit such as we have here and that will keep the bird out and that way you will get to eat it instead of the bird.

So, if you want to have good fruit, make some good wine this year and jelly, there's nothing better than making it out of fresh juice of the grapes that you grow in your own back yard. Protect your grapes now and you can enjoy this all summer long.

This is Jerry Parsons Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service the Weekend Gardener.

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