Kern County’s grapes are off to a fairly normal start, according to reports around the county.

“The early to mid-season varieties are blooming,” says Jennifer Hashim-Buckey, Kern County Farm Advisor. “We did have some cane die-back due to the cold weather we experienced early in the year. Then we had some light frost damage in low-lying areas in mid-April.”

Water is a bit of an issue in the southern San Joaquin Valley due to below-average winter rainfall, according to Buckey. “Growers who didn’t irrigate sufficiently had delayed bud break and shoot growth that is behind schedule,” she says. Insects and disease are not too much of a problem yet, but growers should be on the alert.

“We’re finding vine mealybug males in the traps around Arvin. We’re still looking for crawlers making their way up the trunks. Growers have been treating for Western Flower Thrips. We’ve had very low levels of glassy-winged sharpshooters so far. They’re in the citrus, but there hasn’t been any migration into vines at this point. We’re starting to see powdery mildew, so that is definitely something growers need to be aware of.”