Grapes in cold climate

Fri. Jan. 27, 2017

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Grapes in cold climate

The headline reads “Local grape growers brace for damage”.   While the University of Minnesota has come up with some incredible grapes hardy,  harsh winters can still be pretty brutal.  Grapes such as ‘Frontenac’, ‘Marquette’ and ‘La Crescent’ are supposed to be hardy to 30 below, however, that doesn’t mean that they won’t suffer damage.   Click on the names of the grapes for detailed information from the University of Minnesota.

Grape - frontenac

Grape - marquette

Grape - la crescent

University Enology Project manager Katie Cook says the timing of the seriously low temperatures plays a part in how much damage might occur.  Even if the vine’s buds emerge in the spring, there can be trunk damage that might restrict sap flow.   By the way, her blog is loaded with grape information.  

There’s an accumulating factor at play as well.  What I mean is that years of tough conditions, drought, floods, cold snaps and even excessive heat can play a role in damaging vines and, of course, our other plants.  Right now parts of Minnesota are not looking at a lot of snow cover, which is a great insulator and is wonderful liquid when it starts to melt.  That is, if it melts at a rate that will allow the soil to take it in rather than just run off the top.  Again, another factor.  I’m not saying that they’re doomed, I just want to prepare you for the “just in case”.  I have a newly planted crabapple tree in my front yard.  Every time it snows I add shovelfuls to the base of this beauty.

Crabapple 'Royal Raindrops'

Crabapple ‘Royal Raindrops’

The grape vines I planted at a former house produced well last year. ‘St. Croix’ and ‘Edelweiss’.   They’re established, meaning they’ve been in the ground for years, seven in fact.  That means those roots are deep, giving them a better shot at survival.

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