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Gardening tips for growing grapevines in the low desert

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: May, 2013, Page 119
Western grape skeletonizer


Q - I purchased a property that had an existing grapevine. It lost its foliage in winter, but now it is full of leaves. How do I care for it?

A - Grapevines are deciduous, so the loss of leaves in winter and flush of new foliage when temperatures warm is normal, explains University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension (MCCE) Master Gardener Olin Miller. The article, Start Thinking About Grapes by Yavapai County Cooperative Extension Director Jeff Schalau at, covers watering, fertilizing and pruning grapes in a home garden.

The Western grape skeletonizer is an insect that will likely appear on low-desert grapevines. These caterpillars, working in groups, can munch up most leaf tissue overnight, leaving only the leaf ribs (hence their “skeletonizer” name). The adult is a small, beautiful, dark-blue moth. University of California’s Integrated Pest Management site describes control methods at

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