Looking after the vineyard with beneficial insects.
As the cold of winter subsides and spring weather brings warmer days and more sunshine, everything in the vineyard awakens and begins a new season. As the vines begin to grow so do the grasses, clovers and other plant species that are found at ground level.
During the rapid springtime growth phase many insects also burst into action; the warmer weather being the key driver in their annual life cycles. Many insects can be found in the vineyard eco-system but unfortunately not all of them are friendly to the grapegrower.
Pests such as light brown apple moth caterpillars, mealy bugs, aphids and thrip can cause damage to canopies and the newly formed bunches. There are many ways to control these pests such as insecticides, pheromone mating disruption and releasing predatory insects but a very effective, cheap and environmentally friendly way to control these pests is to enhance the amount of beneficial insects by increasing their habitat and food sources.
Leaving the grasses and clovers to grow longer encourages beneficial insects such as lacewings, hoverflies, spiders, predatory wasps and ladybirds to increase their numbers and predate on insects that cause problems to the vines.
By not mowing every vine row and leaving some surrounding areas means that there is always a source of food and shelter for beneficial insects. In fact it can apply to your home garden as well. Planting species that attract these insects and encouraging “beneficials” can mean less impact on your vegetable garden and the fruit trees at your house.