Grapes are round, succulent and delicious fruits that are in high demand during the humid summer months in India. Not only are these fruits delicious, but they are also said to be amongst the most profitable crops to be grown. This is why India has accelerated its grape production and now accounts amongst the top 10 grape-producing countries in the world. Though not all of these grapes are meant for direct consumption. Over 80% of the grapes grown globally are used for wine production.
In India, grapes are grown between October to January. This is where the spring season transitions to the winter months. Oftentimes the grapes are also grown between June to July. Ideally, grapes flourish best in hot and dry climates. Conditions of high humidity usually hurt the production due to a rise in diseases in the plant.
The most lucrative regions in India for growing grapes are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram. If you ever travel through these regions, you can see vast trenches of grapevines where grapes are grown. These regions have proven to give high yields since the soil and climatic conditions aid the production of grapes. It’s also important to know that grape harvests are completely and consistently irrigated. Disruptions in irrigation may lead to low-quality harvests.
Thus, with adequate irrigation, good weather and soil conditions, the plant bear fruit once in a year. A key marker of identifying whether the fruit is ready to be plucked or has ripened is when the tip changes colour and acquires a sweet flavor. Different grape varieties are grown in India such as Bangalore Blue, Thompson Seedless, Dilkhush Grapes, Sharad Seedless Grapes which mature at different times.
Grape cultivation though highly profitable, is an exhaustive exercise. Multiple factors influence the quality and volume of production. Sometimes though losses are incurred when the grape plant is infected. In the next section, we will learn more about specific fungal diseases that can spell catastrophe for the grape plant.
Downy Mildew in Grapes
The biggest threat to the grape plant is Downy Mildew. It is a dangerous fungus that attacks the all-green part of the plant. What makes it threatening is that it is an air-borne fungus transferred from one plant to the other via spores. This means that if a plant has been infected, then the entire plantation might get infected very soon. One of the reasons for the growth of this fungus is wet weather conditions. Unprecedented showers cause the leaves to hold water for longer durations leading to the rise of this fungal disease.
Downy Mildew usually begins in the form of blotches on plants. These can be of different colours from pale yellow to brown. Right underneath these blotches, a ‘cotton-like mould can be seen growing in shades of grey, white or purple. Downy mildew can severely impact the plants by stunting their growth and causing the leaves to turn brown and become shrivelled. Often cultivators use organic control methods that involve removing severely infected plants, giving more air space between plants to avoid the growth of weeds, watering plants during the day when evaporation is high, so the plants don’t remain wet in order to control this fungal disease.
Downy Mildew, if not controlled or recognized early on, can destroy the entire vineyard.
Powdery Mildew in Grapes
Powdery Mildew is often confused with Downy Mildew since both fungi have similar traits and effects on plants. Powdery Mildew usually affects the stem, flowers and fruits. Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease that frequently occurs in the grape plant. Unlike the Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew thrives in a dry atmosphere, with low lighting and high humidity levels. These conditions are usually prevalent during early summers which is when the fungal disease is at its peak.
Powdery Mildew is also harder to identify since it has no tell-tale signs like Downy Mildew. It can be mistaken for dust in most cases, and the only telling sign is its recurrence. These usually look like white or grey spots on leaves and the stem of the plant. This fungal disease travels through the wind.
Powdery Mildew is not very fatal if controlled in the early stages. If left untreated, it can suck nutrients from the plant, making it shrivelled and pale. The plant’s ability to protect fruits and foliage from direct sunlight is also hampered. This reduces production capacity and sometimes also affects the flavours of grapes. Farmers often clear insects, weeds and maintain garden hygiene to avoid and control the spread of Powdery Mildew.
Protecting Grapes from Downy Mildew and Powdery Mildew
The monetary losses associated with both these fungal diseases are huge. Growers often lose complete grape plantations and are left with nothing to sell. One can only imagine the turmoil that growers involved in grape production must experience when losing crops to such diseases. Fortunately, brands are producing fungicides that mitigate the risk of diseases and also help in controlling the existing spread. One such trusted brand producing high-quality fungicide for powdery mildew and downey mildew on grapes is Dhanuka. The popular agro-chemical brand is trusted for its agricultural products ranging from herbicides, insecticides, best fungicides for powdery mildew on grapes and best fungicide for Downey mildew on grapes to plant growth regulators. Head to Dhanuka.com to protect your plants from diseases and watch your produce thrive.
To know more about the best fungicide for Powdery mildew on grapes – click here
To know more about the best fungicide for Downey mildew on grapes – click here