Monday, May 27, 2013

How to protect Grape vines from a late frost

I'm fairly new to grape growing. There was a grape vine here when we bought the place and thus started my grape growing adventure. At the time it was fairly obvious even to a beginner like me, that the previous owners hadn't had much luck with these grapes. There was 1 nice sized vine, but 2 very obvious spots where vines had failed to grow. Of course the first thing I do is try to replace them. 1 stuck, 1 died off. The next year I replaced that one also and now have the 3 growing well. 

This went on for another year until last year when the grape vines didn't produce at all. I puzzled about it for awhile till I spoke to another local who told me the late May frost we had killed off all the grapes. *sigh* Now I know.

Fast forward to this spring when everything is moving right along....warming up and starting to grow. Suddenly the news report calls for 2 nights of frost. What to do? I made grapevine ghosts out of bed sheets of course!

how to protect grapevines form frost


Over a week later, it decides to freeze overnight again. This time I cover them at night with plastic, felt lined tablecloths. The tablecloths were easier to use and seemed like they sat on top of the vines instead of weighing them down. The moisture also seemed to bead on them and roll off unlike the sheets which got a bit damp. Unfortunately the tablecloths are smaller then the sheets. Maybe I'll get some larger ones for next year, but I'm really hoping this is the end of it for now. 

A quick glance at the weather forecast tells me it shouldn't freeze for at least 10 days. By then it will be June and I'm pretty sure we'll be out of frost season by then!

Since I was outside uncovering the vines I decided to check the damage.  During the first frost I had made the mistake of putting the sheets on in the evening and leaving them on for 2 nights. The very tops of the leaves had been damaged and I had to prune them a little. This time I removed the cloths each day and there was no more damage. The grapes themselves are looking good. They look like healthy little clusters to me.

Hopefully they will produce enough for me to make grape jam again this year. Yummmm!

~L

2 comments:

  1. Good luck! I have a grapevine and it really amazes me that the clusters form this early on.

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    1. I know! Aren't they so tiny and perfect though? Amazing!

      ~L

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