We conducted studies in a Paso Robles, CA, grape (Vitis vinifera L.) vineyard in 2002 and 2003 to estimate the impact of regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) intensity and duration on western grape leafhopper, Erythroneura elegantula Osborn. Treatments were based on deficit intensity, 50 and 25% of standard irrigation (moderate and severe deficits, respectively), and deficit duration, 3 or 6 wk time, initiated at the grape phenological stage of berry set. The standard irrigation served as the control, and was intended to be as close to 100% of evapotranspiration (1.0 ETc) for grape in this area. Each week we took counts of leafhopper nymphs and estimated stomatal conductance, and at the end of each leafhopper generation we counted live, hatched and parasitized leafhopper eggs. Second generation leafhopper nymphal density was lowered by about 38 and 70% in 2002 and 2003, respectively, but in 2003 only the severe deficit had a negative effect on the third generation. This same pattern was seen in oviposition: second generation egg density was reduced by about 44% in the deficit treatments, but in the third generation only the severe deficit was lower than the control. There was little difference between the 3 vs. 6 wk duration in nymphal or egg density. The differences among treatments in second generation peak nymphal density were greater than the differences in second generation hatched eggs, suggesting that in addition to egg mortality, the deficits also affected nymphal mortality. Management strategies for maintaining leafhopper density low in the second generation and third generations include maintaining a sub-1.0 ETc irrigation strategy after the main RDI period, or reinstating the RDI to correspond to the third generation.
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Vol. 105 • No. 4