Winter cold and pruning grapevines

April 11, 2014
Terence Bradshaw, UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Specialist

I just want to drop a quick note to growers after hearing the weather forecast this morning. We have not yet performed our winter bud damage at the UVM vineyard, but will be collecting canes today and assessing tomorrow. I noticed a lot of dead cane ends while walking through the vineyard this week, and I’m anticipating a fair amount of damage to what would be retained nodes. My bigger concern is the roller coaster weather ahead of us. Temperatures are forecast at 75 degrees on Monday, which will surely deacclimate vines to some degree, but the scarier part is that Thursday morning the potential low, according to the European weather model, may be as low as 5 degrees. Vines pruned just prior to that event, especially in a warm spell, will be more cold tender going into that cold morning. I know everyone wants to get out and get their pruning done, but it may be wise to either hold off on pruning early next week. If you really need to get some work done, consider long pruning and leave at least 8-10 nodes that you can remove later.

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The UVM Tree Fruit and Viticulture Program is supported by the University of Vermont Agriculture Experiment Station, a USDA NIFA E-IPM Grant, and USDA Risk Management Agency Funds.

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