This project aims to improve the management of grapevine trunk diseases by developing climate-specific recommendations to minimise infection, optimise wound protection and remedial surgery techniques, assess the susceptibility of commonly cultivated clones and rootstocks and investigate infection thresholds for grapevine propagation material.
Grapevine trunk diseases, caused by fungal infections, are becoming increasingly prevalent in Australian vineyards. While many advances have been made in effective control of grapevine trunk diseases, climatic diversity means that there are gaps in our knowledge. In addition, remedial surgery has yet to be demonstrated as an effective method of controlling all forms of dieback, and methods to improve the rate of vine regrowth are lacking. Evaluating disease susceptibility of clones and rootstocks could lead to identification of tolerant planting material. Concerns with the role of grapevine propagation in the spread of trunk disease also need to be addressed, particularly regarding the threshold of infection and the abiotic factors that lead to vine decline.
Field and greenhouse trials will be established in order to test alternative pruning wound protectants, wound susceptibility, fungicide adjuvants, and remedial surgery techniques. Rootstock and clone susceptibility will be determined using established vineyard plantings. Spore traps will be used in the field to relate timing of release of fungal spores with climatic conditions. A loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay will be evaluated as an alternative field-based method for analysing spore tapes. Detection of infection in propagative vine material and subsequent development of disease symptoms, will assist in determining infection thresholds.
The costs associated with management of grapevine trunk diseases will be reduced by providing improved disease management options, reducing the reliance on fungicides, providing recommendations to nurseries to avoid spread of disease and providing options for resistant planting material.