When it comes to growing grapes, the options are limitless. While many gardeners choose to grow vines for fresh eating, others may seek out varieties more specifically suited for use in wines, juices, or even jellies. Although there are a plethora of options in terms of type, many of the same issues may afflict vines. Preventing and identifying specific causes of grapevine decline is the key to bountiful harvests of homegrown grapes. This article focuses on grape vein clearing virus (GVCV) information.
What is Grape Vein Clearing Virus?
Over the last few decades, occurrences of vein clearing of grapes have appeared in the United States, across the Midwest and in parts of the South. Though the decline in health of grapevines with vein clearing virus may not be immediately noticeable, plant growth may become stunted over time. Additionally, grape clusters produced may be reduced in size, misshapen, or even have undesirable textures.
One of the most noticeable and obvious vein clearing symptoms occurs in the veins of grapevine leaves. Foliage of the plants begin to take on a yellow, almost clear appearance. It’s important to note that this may not occur on all the leaves. Additionally, there may be other foliage-related abnormalities present which may signal a decline in plant vitality.
Among infected vines, growers may notice that new leaves are much smaller, may be deformed, show signs of yellowing, and/or have a crinkled-like appearance. Foliar issues usually appear first in young leaves, and later, affect the vine as a whole.
Preventing Vein Clearing of Grapes
While the cause of this grapevine virus is not yet completely clear, there are some ways in which to avoid infected plants.
Some evidence suggests various insects may play a role in the transmission of the virus from plant to plant, but studies have not yet determined which pests may be responsible. Keep your plants weed free to avoid unwanted pests from the area and apply organic pesticides, like neem oil, when necessary.
Grafting and grapevine propagation through infected stem cuttings are common means by which the virus is quickly spread within vineyards. Make sure that all propagation tools are well sterilized and choose only the healthiest looking cuttings for rooting or grafting.
Even though there are some varieties of grape that demonstrate an apparent resistance to GVCV, ensuring that purchased and propagated plants are disease-free is the best form of prevention.