MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Grapes are a crop that start to grow in the spring and summer seasons.
Some North Dakotans are even growing a variety suitable for the state’s climate.
According to Chris Asmundson an Agricultural Research Technician at the North Central Research Extension Center, grapes are becoming a popular crop to grow commercially and at home.
But there are risks when it comes to growing them, especially with a wetter growing season this year.
“We hardly ever have fungal issues here. Grapes have a lot of issues, but since we live in a place that’s usually fairly dry and breezy, I don’t see it very often. This year I’ve got a bad case of black rot, which is a fungus. We see it more in Minnesota where it’s a higher humidity,” said Asmundson.
Black rot can affect different parts of the grapevine including the leaves, shoots, and fruit.
“What you’ll notice first is small brown spots on the leaves. The way you can tell it’s black rot is if you look closely at the spots, there’ll be a black ring around the outside. If it’s hail damage or bird damage or anything like that. You’ll have the brown spots but they won’t have the black ring around the outside,” said Asmundson.
The best treatment is to spray your vines before they’re infected, and if they’re already infected, cut and dispose of the damaged parts.
Another issue that could lower your grape yield, is damage from herbicides being carried in the wind.
“Grapes are really susceptible to any growth inhibitor herbicides, which will include your 2,4-D and dicamba. This one is 2,4-D damage. You can tell by the fanning of the leaves. This is a normal leaf. If it’s dicamba you’ll see this upward cupping of the leaves. And then they’ll eventually close up like this where they’re just a cone and that makes it really hard for the plant to gather nutrients the way it should,” said Asmundson.
She says one way to limit the risk, is to inform your neighbors with fields or yards close to yours, about the problems the herbicides could bring to your grapevines.
Other ways to limit the risk of herbicide damage are to plant windbreaks and choose a site that is more isolated from crop fields.