Agronomic practices may cause cold damage prevention

Asked February 6, 2019, 10:15 AM EST

Is there any agronomic practices can improve the resistance of grapevine to winter cold damage?

Grand Traverse County Michigan grapes horticulture small fruit

3 Responses

There are actually several things that can be done. One is to control vine vigor, aiming for moderate cane size. Big, large diameter canes (called bull canes) that develop when there is excess vigor have buds with poor cold tolerance. Weak, thin canes have similar problems. Vine vigor is managed by "dialing in" the appropriate fertility levels and crop loading to match the variety, training practice, and site conditions.
It is also possible to drop some canes to the ground each year and hope that they will be snow covered during the coldest weather. Some growers put down canes and then actually bury them with soil. A lot of work to do and undo, but it really does assure bud survival. MSU Extension's new viticulture specialist in NW Michigan is planning projects to explore winter cold protection, he'd be agreat person to connect with. His email is todaroth@msu.edu

Thank you so much for your time.