Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Heather Darby

Second Advisor

Josef Gorres

Abstract

The demand for locally sourced hops from Northeastern microbreweries began the recent resurgence in local hop production. The farming community has increased acreage and improved the quality of hops grown and processed in the Northeast region over the past five years. There was a sharp increase in the number of Northeast hop producers from six in 2009 to over 175 in 2014. Hop growers in the Northeast are new to the crop and have limited experience with pest identification and management. This dissertation encompasses three research projects that were conducted over the 2012-2014 growing seasons. These projects were the first critical steps taken to develop arthropod integrated pest management (IPM) tactics for Northeastern hop growers.

First, the arthropod community in seven Vermont hop yards was evaluated. The objectives of Chapter 2 are to 1) present current hop pest biology and management strategies, 2) report the phenology of arthropod pests observed over three growing seasons, 3) report abundance and peak date for each pest, and 4) document natural enemy abundance in Vermont hop yards. The survey indicates that in cool, wet seasons hop aphid (Phorodon humuli Schrank) is expected to be a pest of concern. Two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) is expected to be a pest of concern in hot, dry conditions. Potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae Harris) is an unpredictable pest of special concern for first year hop plants. When hop aphid or potato leafhopper are sprayed for with broad-spectrum insecticide, two-spotted spider mite secondary outbreak can be expected.

Second, the abundance of major arthropod pests and their natural enemy groups were evaluated under drive row flowering cover crop treatments. The objectives of this study were to 1) measure the effect of cover crops on natural enemy group abundance, 2) measure the effect of cover crops on the three major Northeastern hop pests, and 3) measure the effect of cover crop presence on hop yield and quality. Natural enemy groups and pests were positively correlated yet cover crop treatments had no significant effect on natural enemy abundance. Red clover cover crop treatments served as a trap crop for potato leafhopper. No significant difference in hop yield or quality was observed between flowering cover crop treatments.

Finally, potato leafhopper is a documented but understudied regional pest of hops. The objectives of this study were to 1) measure the physiological response of eight hop cultivars to adult potato leafhopper feeding and 2) measure hop leaf recovery from potato leafhopper injury. Gas exchange (net photosynthesis and transpiration) and chlorophyll content were measured to quantify injury by adult potato leafhopper to first year hop leaves in field and greenhouse studies. Cultivars did not vary significantly in their physiological response to potato leafhopper feeding. Injury significantly reduced gas exchange measures in the field (P < 0.05) and greenhouse (P < 0.05) and when leafhoppers were removed, gas exchange was restored.

Language

en

Number of Pages

163 p.