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Aug 14, 2023
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Lees Summit, MO
Hi, I'm a new member from Missouri. In 2021 I planted 25 bare root St. Vincent vines. The vines have been nurtured and babied through cold, snow, and deer with only minor but fixable problems. All vines survived their first year. In 2022 we had a beautiful leafy canopy and, thrillingly, 2 clusters! Along came July and almost overnight Japanese beetles wiped out half the canopy. Disheartening, but now we know about the beetles, live and learn. In 2023 the canopy was better than the year before and the vines were full of grape clusters. A fine mesh net was draped over the canopy and stapled closed to protect from the Japanese beetles and deer. However, aphids decided to take their turn at the leaves and shortly we were over-run by aphids trapped in the net. Sprayed with Neem, peroxide and Castile soap that solved the aphid problem. The net seemed to be doing the job and all was well until the canopy continued to grow, completely filling the net to near bursting. Ok, pest problem solved, no reason not to take the net down. Time to prune back some of the longer shoots and open up the canopy for air and sun.

That week the temps were in the high 90s and a quick tour showed that almost 20% of the grapes had disappeared, clusters just gone. Nothing can be done about the heat so I decided I would just give it time to see what happens as it continued to get hotter and hotter. Next day I noticed squirrels romping around the vines, running off as I got closer. That's when I noticed that the squirrels had taken over 90% of the crop. Live and learn!
Welcome to WMT… and sorry about the squirrels… we had a hawk take up residence last year and now have very few squirrels. Previously, same problem. Keep netting! Birds will do just as much damage. And raccoons. And…..
Thanks for the reply. We also have eagles and a hawk but I think squirrels are on their diet yet. Next year the net stays on till harvest, unless mother nature finds someother way to plague us.. . .