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Extension Focus

Second Compendium of Grape Diseases is New Resource for Growers

By Tim Martinson

As a novice extension viticulturist, I turned to the Compendium of Grape Diseases when faced with the (frequent) need to diagnose and subsequently address vineyard problems beyond my narrow training as an entomologist.  The Compendium always accompanied me on field visits as my key diagnostic tool.

The second edition – more than a decade in the making – has just been published by the American Phytopathological Society (APS) press.  Edited by Cornell plant pathologist Wayne Wilcox, it has been renamed Compendium of Grape Diseases, Disorders, and Pests.  It is double the size of the original, with over twice as many photos (375 photos and drawings, including 280 new to this edition), and many new features on diseases that were not yet identified in the original Compendium

Originally published in 1988 and edited by Cornell plant pathologist Roger Pearson, the first edition of the Compendium not only featured photos of major and minor diseases, but also photos of nutritional deficiencies, insect injury that cause disease-like symptoms, and herbicide/fungicide injury.  Photographs were supplemented with plenty of text to understand and help manage these problems. 

All 188 color plates in the first edition were conveniently placed in a 28 page section in the middle of the book. Diagnosis consisted of thumbing through these pages until the matching photo appeared, then reading the text to confirm the diagnosis and get suggestions on what to do next.

The increased size reflects both new knowledge about pathogens described in the first edition and additional diseases identified since then.  For example, the list of viral diseases has expanded from 8 to 14, including Red Blotch, first recognized in 2008.   

 “We know a lot more than we did 25 years ago, and the new edition reflects this,” said Wilcox.  “We’ve included a lot more detail than what was possible in 1988.”

The second edition is accessible to those without formal training in plant pathology, and yet also provides enough technical information for specialists. 

“We made a conscious effort to maintain the focus on practitioners. That’s why we added sections on vine anatomy, rootstocks, fungicides, and spray technology.  The expanded sections on grapevine structure and development and rootstocks provide readers with additional context about the plant itself,” Wilcox said.

With contributions by 79 authors and co-authors from 10 countries, the new edition is a collaborative effort with a world-wide focus.  No other reference—online, printed, or factsheet collection – offers the breadth of coverage and pictures that facilitate diagnosis and treatment of the numerous maladies – disease, physiological, insect-related, or genetic – that appear in vineyards. 

For example, when I found myself confronted with mysterious spots on the leaves of a Chambourcin vineyard several years ago, I found the answer in the Compendium.  They turned out to be something called Rupestris speckle, a physiological issue unique to cultivars and rootstocks with Vitis rupestris in their genetic background.  The Compendium allowed me to put a name to those leafspots, and since then I’ve seen them in every single Chambourcin vineyard I’ve visited.

Modern printing layout technology has made it possible to distribute color photos throughout the text, which makes it slightly more challenging to thumb through the photos that were once bunched together in the middle of the book.  However Rupestris speckle, for example, is still there on p. 67, along with Other Minor Foliage Diseases.  In addition, the index and glossary at the back of the book have also been expanded, making it easier for readers to find and diagnose an issue.

The Compendium of Grape Diseases, Disorders, and Pests, second edition, is an essential resource for growers, PCAs, extension specialists and others who have an interest in diagnosing vineyard problems. The original Compendium was a ground-breaking publication when it came out in 1988.  The second edition marks a great advance as a general reference with in-depth technical information that is accessible to a broad audience.

Thanks to Wayne Wilcox and his co-authors and collaborators for putting this valuable publication together. 

The Compendium of Grape Diseases, Disorders, and Pests, second edition is available online at APS Press, Inc. Single copies are currently $99, and volume discounts apply to orders of 10 copies or more.

Tim Martinson is senior extension associate in the Section of Horticulture and is based at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY.