Grape vines in hot water

Oct 02, 2013
Grape vines in hot water

A tool to help growers and nurseries plant healthier grape vines has been developed by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher.

CSU PhD student Ms Helen Waite has developed the tool for reducing trunk diseases in grapevine cuttings as part of her research through the National Wine and Grape Indistry Centre in Wagga Wagga.

"Unhealthy vines are less productive, they produce poorer quality fruit, they're harder to manage and therefore they cost a lot more money so it can sometimes threaten the sustainability of a vineyard," she said.

"It costs from $30,000 to $50,000 to plant a hectare of vines and sometimes people don't consider what they're buying other than the variety and type of root-stock. It's only when the vines don't grow well or fail within two years that they start to think about the quality of the planting material, but of course by then it has cost them a lot of time and money."

Ms Waite said treatment is effective in reducing the spread of trunk diseases in grape-vine cuttings but it can cause stress on the plant.

"Nurseries are a bit wary of using hot because there have been some failures in the past which have been attributed to the stress that it causes the plant. What I'm doing is looking at a system for grape vine propagation that can use hot water safely," she said.

The research has identified that handling and storage of the cuttings before and after the hot water treatment is crucial.

"If we put them straight into cold storage in sealed plastic bags after treatment it basically suffocates the plant," said Ms Waite.

"It's also got to do with how far into the winter they are treated; if it's close to spring and they have started to come out of dormancy then the cuttings are much more susceptible to damage in hot water treatment." The healthy grapevines on the left compared with diseased vines on the right

Ms Waite has developed a risk assessment spreadsheet, with the help of Mr Ken Appleby, which should give grape growers more information about what they're planting.

"The grower can open the package, look at the bundle of vines, use the assessment criteria to get a score, then sample some vines, peeling the bark off and dissecting the to look for disease," she said. "That combined with an examination of the paperwork will give an overall score of the risk of planting that material."

The research has led to the development a set of guidelines for hot water treatment for cuttings which is being trialled in an Australian nursery this year.

"It's difficult to change practises at a time when they're not selling much product due to the down-turn in the wine industry but there has been a new willingness on the part of the nurseries, and the vine improvement schemes who supply the cuttings, to change what they are doing to ensure there's a better product coming out of the system," she said.

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Virus that causes grapevine red blotch disease identified

Feb 22, 2013

(Phys.org)—New DNA sequencing technology has been used to identify the virus that causes red blotch, a disease that discolors grape leaves in fall and lowers sugar levels in grapes, agricultural nursery managers were told ...

Protecting wine grapes from heat and drought

Feb 17, 2009

Deficit irrigation is an agricultural technique used to achieve a variety of results depending on the crop. For white wine grapes, it balances the crop load by limiting the canopy size so there aren't too ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.