Bruce Bordelon

Professor of Horticulture
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Area(s) of Interest: Grapes and Small Fruit
Bruce Bordelon's website

120 articles by this author

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We are seeing a lot of powdery and downy mildew on grapes this year. These diseases often get established in the late season after harvest. It is important to maintain healthy foliage all the way until frost to maximize winter hardiness. So managing these diseases is important in years like this. Growers should consider a late season application of fungicides to keep these diseases under control to protect the foliage and assure adequate cold acclimation. Downy can be controlled after harvest (when PHIs are no longer a concern) with phosphorous acid products, mancozeb, captan or one of the newer products such as Presidio, Ranman or Zampro. However, none of those fungicides will control powdery mildew (which is much worse in our plantings). So a tank mix including one of the above with a DMI fungicide such as Rally or Tebuzol would be a good approach. There are several other options[Read More…]

I wanted to let you know that ISDA/IG was recently awarded a grant in partnership with the Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Dept of Education and Purdue Extension to create an all-inclusive local food sourcing guide for schools called Indiana Grown for Schools: School Food Service Resource Guide. This 2 year project will start with gathering information from Indiana farmers, producers and distributors then compiling it into a county by county guide that will be dispersed to all schools in the state of Indiana. Needless to say, we are pretty excited about how many people will be positively impacted with this project. For more information about the grant to promote locally sourced foods in schools, click here:–indiana-sourced-food-in-schools/ In order to have as many participants as possible, I am reaching out to Indiana Grown partners to ask for them to share this survey within their network. To make this program successful,[Read More…]

pf fruit

Apple harvest is ongoing with Pixie Crunch being picked this week. Grape harvest continues as the warmer conditions hasten ripening. Most growers are getting into late season varieties. Powdery mildew on grapes is worse than we’ve seen it in quite a while. Primocane blackberry harvest continues and most cultivars are still blooming so there is potential for another month of harvest. Hopefully cooler weather will improve fruit quality. Red raspberry harvest is about over. Paw paw harvest is on-going as warm temperatures hasten fruit drop. Dr. Rick Foster spoke to the Hort 318 class this week about managing corn ear worm. The class also planted a fertilizer trial with cabbage, cauliflower, peas and beets.    


Grape harvest is underway for early and mid-season varieties. Downy and powdery mildew are showing up in vineyards. Table grapes have been especially nice this year. Primocane bramble harvest is also underway. Surprising low number of spotted wing Drosophila have been found in grapes or brambles. Frequent rains are very unwelcome as they generally have a negative effect on fruit quality in both grapes and brambles. Gala and Honey Crisp apples are being harvested. Weeds and row middle covers are growing excessively with all the recent rains.

rotting grapes

2018 is looking a bit like 2016 with all this late summer rain. We’ve had statewide rainfall each of the past 5 weeks. Most unwelcome! Sour rot and Ripe rot are becoming common in our research trials and vineyards around the state. Early ripening thin-skinned varieties are especially prone to skin splitting and cracking due to rain. Once opened, the berries are quickly invaded by yeasts, bacterial and fruit flies. Sour rot with its characteristic vinegar odor is the end result. There is nothing a grower can do to stop the rain, but there are some approaches to reducing sour rot. Canopy management is an important aspect for many varieties. Sprays of insecticide to control fruit flies plus an antimicrobial such as Oxidate or Fracture have shown some success. Best results occurred when sprays were started at 15 Brix. Sour rot is mainly a concern on the thin-skinned, tight cluster[Read More…]

Grape: Full veraison on most varieties

Apple harvest has begun with early varieties still being harvested. A lack of cool nights has delayed red color development but many varieties are still developing acceptable red color. Quality generally looks good.  

With harvest around the corner for many fruit crops, I thought this would be a good time to remind readers about our email lists. Various forms of social media is used by just about everyone in today’s society.  While Facebook and Twitter are much more commonly used than email, there is still a place for email lists. Mail lists continue to be a successful communication tool for groups of people. The way a mail list works is that people subscribe and then have the authority to post messages to the list. All other subscribers on the list receive the messages. One message can be sent to hundreds of readers at once. Replies to messages on a mail list can either go only to the sender of the message or to the entire list. Purdue HLA Extension maintains two mail lists for users. The “Fruitveg” list is for all fruit and vegetable growers, farm[Read More…]

Grape harvest is just about to get started in the southern part of the state. Growers will start harvesting early varieties next week. Most varieties are slightly ahead of normal this year. In Lafayette, early varieties are at full veraison and should be ready to harvest in the next couple of weeks. We generally harvest early varieties such as Brianna, Edelweiss and Prairie Star about the third week of August and many other early varieties starting the first week of September. Depending the weather for the next couple of weeks, we might be a bit early this year. Fruit quality overall is very good. The cooler conditions lately have favored fruit quality. With wine grapes, all fruit of a given cultivar is typically harvested from the vineyard or block at a single time to coordinate winery activity and to reduce costs. It is important to plan carefully so that the[Read More…]

June bearing strawberries are “short day” plants that initiate flower buds in response to short days (less than 14 hours day length). Day length for Indianapolis drops below 14 hours about August 10.  As we get into late summer, strawberry plants respond to shorter days by setting the flower buds that will result in the crop next spring. It is important to maintain appropriate nutrition and soil water status during this time. General recommendations are to fertilize strawberry fields with 20 to 50 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre per during late summer.  Nitrogen rates depend upon amount supplied at renovation and plant vigor. New fields with high vigor may not need additional nitrogen now, but older fields should benefit. Irrigation during this time is also extremely important if rainfall has not been sufficient in your area. We suggest about 1 inch per week. Continue to irrigate strawberries through fall[Read More…]