Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fighting the European Grapevine Moth in Mendocino County: The War Starts at Home

     I love our Mendocino growers. We’re a community deeper than most can imagine, constantly gossiping in conspiratorial tones about the the expanse of Jane’s tomatoes and the girth of Tom’s zucchinis. We share seeds, plants and recipes; both for our harvests and our soils.  In short; we grow together.

      Today, our gardens and perhaps livelihoods are threatened by a new and nefarious garden pest. The recent discovery of the European Grapevine Moth in Mendocino County does not just affect the commercial vineyards, our largest economic contributor; it affects every gardener and grower in our county.

     Lobesia botrana will either go down in Mendocino county history as the only moth who’s scientific name was easier to say than its common name, or it will not go down in history at all. The European Grapevine Moth (EGVM) will be here to stay.

     When botrana was introduced in Chile, its spread was aided by the prevalence of home and hobby grape growing in urban areas. Poorly maintained backyard grapevines provided both an ideal and safe habitat for the invader. Home growers were either unaware or unconcerned about the pest. When they saw much of their fruit shrivel and die that year these home grape growers realized what a threat the moth truly was and invited commercial growers to come spray their vines. Unfortunately, by then it was too late; EGVM was firmly established.

     Right now, we need the help of every gardener, farmer, rancher and grower in Mendocino County. Together we can stop this pest, or at least diminish its future impact. One Napa vineyard experienced a 100% crop loss due to the moth last year. We can stop that from happening here.

What you can do:
  1. If you grow grapes within the greater Ukiah area, request a trap from the Agricultural Department. Early detection is the best form of control.
  2. If you know the location of wild grapes or abandoned vineyards in or near the quarantine area, please report them so they can be trimmed back.
  3. Remove old and neglected grapevines from your property, or at the very least prune them back and start taking care of them.
  4. Learn to recognize the moth.
  5. Share. Please, if you feel strongly about this, tell your neighbors, fellow gardeners and anyone with a grapevine about the pest
Please, everyone, lets tackle this thing.If you have questions regarding this pest, feel free to stop by the Farm Supply and talk to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment