Pierce's disease (PD) has been decimating vineyards throughout the United States for hundreds of years. It continues to kill vineyards from Texas to California and has eliminated the culture of vinifera grapes from the southeastern U.S. The causal bacterium is carried by a group of leafhopper insects that spread it into vineyards from the surrounding vegetation. Efforts to control PD must focus on the bacterium, the insect vectors, alternate host plants, their ecological interactions, resistant and susceptible grapes and viticultural practices. However, few such coordinated approaches have yet been taken to control his disease.
The American Vineyard Foundation recently approved the funding for a long-term project focused on the management of PD. This research team will examine entomology, molecular biology, genetics, plant anatomy, xylem chemistry and viticulture in a coordinated effort to control PD.
These researchers will present an overview of work in progress and planned studies during the first half of this spymposium. The second half will be a critique of current management options and a panel discussion including grower experts who battle PD first hand.