Cover Crops for the Suppression of Cutworm Damage to Grapevines

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Insecticides are not always effective for the control of cutworms, and their use often reduces numbers of beneficial insects that help control secondary pests. Alternative methods of control are required in order to prevent excessive levels of damage while maintaining numbers of natural enemies. Past research has shown that timing of weed control in spring and the presence of certain broadleaf plants greatly affects levels of damage. Stands of shepherd’s purse and other mustards is associated with reduced feeding, while removal of broadleaf plants in the vine rows prior to shoot elongation results in more damage. It appears, therefore, that manipulation of ground cover vegetation might be used to effectively manage cutworm damage. In this three year study we propose to evaluate mustards to control cutworms and nematodes, and will also study effects on nematodes and vine physiology.

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