- Fruits: grapes
- Additional Plants: native plants
- Animals: bees
- Crop Production: cover crops, application rate management
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: agritourism
- Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management
- Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Commercial wine grape vineyards in eastern Washington that have encouraged establishment and maintenance of native plants for 5-20 years have greater populations of beneficial insects and mites than comparable, nearby vineyards that have not established native plants. Populations of grapevine pests are also smaller and have less impact in habitat-enhanced vineyards than in conventional vineyards. Diversity and abundance of butterflies (important pollinators) were greater in habitat-enhanced than conventional vineyards.
More than 100 flowering native plants (mostly native) were examined over three years for their relative attractancy to beneficial insects, including predators, parasitoids and pollinators. Plants are ranked in order of their attractiveness to beneficial insects.
Native habitat enhancement of wine grape vineyards in eastern Washington and Oregon is shown to be a practical strategy for improving and sustaining biologically-based pest management, while providing essential resources for threatened pollinators like butterflies and bees.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
1. Select four demonstration (Native Habitat Restoration: NHR) and four (paired control vineyards without NHR).
Four NHR demonstration and four (paired) control vineyards (without NHR) were selected and used in 2011. An additional two vineyards were used in 2012-13; one in Walla Walla (new control vineyard) and one at Red Mountain (new NHR vineyard). Four viticultural sub-areas within the south central Washington wine grape growing area were used for these sites to give a broad spread of climatic, vegetational and entomological variation.
A) Columbia Gorge AVA: Wine grapes in this sub-area are exposed to a more moderate and humid climate (adjacent to the Columbia River).
NHR site- Klickitat Winery (Robin Dobson) Syrah (two acres). NHR has been implemented at this site for 20 years.
Control site- Dry Hollow (Jose Flores) Syrah (5 acres).
B) Wahluke Slope AVA: Wine grapes in this sub-area exposed to hot and dry growing conditions.
NHR site- White Heron Cellars (Cameron Fries) Malbec (12 acres). NHR has been mplemented at this site for 20 years.
Control site – Jones of Washington (Greg Jones) Malbec (six acres).
C) Walla Walla Valley AVA: Wine grapes in this sub-area exposed to hot and dry conditions and unique terroir.
NHR site- Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyards (Rick Small) Cabernet Franc (six acres). NHR has been implemented at this site for five years.
NHR site- Sevein Hills (Jon Davies) Cabernet Franc (four acres). This was used as a control site in 2011, but habitat improvements make this vineyard ‘transitional’ to NHR.
Control site- River Rock Vineyards (Dana Dibble) Cabernet Franc (four acres).
D) Red Mountain(Yakima Valley) AVA: Wine grapes in this sub-area exposed to hot and dry conditions and unique terroir.
NHR site- Ciel du Cheval Winery (Jim Holmes) Cabernet Sauvignon. NHR is being implemented at this site (two years).
NHR site- Upchurch (Dick Boushey) Cabernet Sauvignon.
Control site- La Coye (Ambassador) Winery (Dick Boushey) Cabernet Sauvignon
2. Monitoring of pest and beneficial arthropods in NHR and control vineyards (April-September) to provide data on abundance and seasonality of pests, natural enemies, butterflies and bees.
Monitoring of pest and beneficial arthropods in the vineyards listed above was conducted during May-September 2011-2013. Some of these data are presented in this report.
3. Establish additional refugia and native perennial ground cover plots in demonstration vineyards. Aim to increase native plant refugia area to 20-25%. Aim to establish at least three ground cover species in each vineyard.
For five of the six selected NHR vineyards there is no need to establish additional refugia/ground covers because each already has a long history (8-20 years) of native habitat restoration/encouragement (Klickitat Winery, White Heron Cellars, Woodward Canyon Estate, Upchurch, Sevein Hills).
4. Conduct survey of abundance of pest natural enemies attracted to flowering native perennials in S and C WA. Collect data for 30-50 potential candidates for ground covers and refugia plantings.
This survey commenced in 2010 and continued during 2011-13. To date we have surveyed the abundance of beneficial insects associated with 103 species of flowering plants, mostly native perennials. Some of these data are presented in this report.
5. Establish native perennial ground cover candidates in field plot trial at WSU-Prosser for evaluation as natural enemy attractants. Select at least 15 species.
Three groups of replicated native plant plots have been established at WSU-Prosser comprising 12 plants. Difficulties with some native plant species prevented a higher number being established.
6. Mass rear and release selected butterfly species in NHR vineyards using the Sustainable Prisons program.
In retrospect, the timing of this objective (commencing after six months of the project) is premature. Time is needed to determine the butterfly fauna of each vineyard before commencing a rear and release program. Preparations for conduct of this objective were made in 2011-13 with initial evaluations of vineyard butterfly fauna and establishment of rearing protocols etc with the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla (WWP), which is the facility which will be involved in this project. Some preliminary rearing programs were conducted by inmates at the WWP in 2012 to test feasibility of the concept.
7. Establish and maintain NHR website regularly detailing progress and providing information for other vineyards wishing to adopt the program.
A website devoted to this project was established in spring 2011 and may be found at:
http://www.wavineyardbeautywithbenefits.com/ In addition, a Facebook page was also set up to provide timely information: