Harvest time for Texas vineyards begins in late July and goes through August and sometimes even early September. It is the busiest time of the year: there are vine canopies to manage, grape cluster health to monitor, sugar levels to test, watering schedules to scrutinize over, and then…. there are the critters.
Let’s face it, grapes are delicious, and we are not the only ones who think so. Some of these critters are easier to keep out than others. For example, you may have seen vines with netting on them.
Those nets are very effective at keeping out birds, raccoons, opossums, and even deer.
But what about the smaller critters like moths, caterpillars, leaf hoppers, and the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter?
Sometimes a good defense is a good offence. Creating a vineyard that has a healthy ecosystem that is made up of natural predators like spiders and lizards can keep the number of the pest at bay.
Likewise, a hawk, falcon, or even an owl can be a welcome visitor to the vineyard.
They keep the population of mice, rabbits, prairie dogs, and moles at bay, ensuring that these burrowing pests don’t affect the roots of the vines.
Certain snakes like bull snakes, king snakes, or rat snakes can also be helpful in the same way.
Many vineyards also employ domesticated critters such as cats, sheep, alpacas, and chickens to help maintain the health of their vines. They can clear away unwanted pests as well as unwanted grass and weed growth all the while fertilizing the vines.
As of right now, Lost Oak is not hiring animalia staff to help with the vines. But, who knows, helpful critters are becoming more and more intrinsic to vineyard life.