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-50 Degrees F Windchill

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KevinL

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To my fellow cold climate growers. I'm staring down -50 windchill in two days. Ambient temperature is supposed to get to a low of -26. I have pretty good wind breaks in trees and structure around the vineyard, but I don't think I'll be lucky enough to avoid the worst of the cold.

I've seen some northern growers ice their vines when looking at conditions like these in order to protect them from the wind damage, and I'm a bit curious about the effectiveness and process. How thick does the ice need to be to be effective? Do you only ice the canes and leave the trunks alone? Is it effective?

Any tips would be great.
 

Masbustelo

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Kevin I can't answer your question, but want to throw in a comment not directed at you. This cold snap is a good example why it's not a good idea to try varieties marginally acceptable in your zone. Imagine working hard to bring your vines into production, and have them killed back to the ground every 4-6 years. With minus 26 temperatures we will learn about cold hardiness in Northern varieties, first hand.
 

ThreeSheetsToTheWind

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Plants are generally not affected by wind chill. Windchill only affects the speed at which heat is dissipated.

I do hope your vines can survive the minus 26 temps however. Best of luck!
 

askins3097

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It’s going to be single digits in the Pittsburgh area. My little vineyard should be fine tho.

I imagine there’ll be a lot of vineyard damage after this is said and done. I know there’s a lot of vinifera planted in Michigan and even parts of Ohio. That’ll all be single digit highs, subzero lows. I just read an article that said the wine industry has been impacted by climate change more in that past 40 years than the past 500. Not to start a debate about climate change, but I found that interesting.
 

GreginND

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Yeah, I feel your pain. I don’t think ice will help as it will stay cold for several days. What varieties are you growing? I’m hoping my Frontenac survives. -35 F is the coldest my vines have ever faced.

FM-cold-1-28-19.JPG

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KevinL

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I read up on things and it looks like freezing the vines is more for a late frost after bud break. Thanks for the info everyone. Also I concur with the assessment about variety selection and zones. Go with one zone hardier than the USDA map says if you can.

I've got Vidal (Which I expect to die), Frontenac, Petite Pearl, Itasca, and Frontenac Gris. Updated forecast for Wednesday is now boasting -28 low, with a balmy high of -15. I expect most of the vines to survive overall, but I'm concerned about bud loss. I've got a handful of Concords as well, but not for the commercial side of things.
 

Masbustelo

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To GreginND I can't imagine minus 35 and I've lived in the Midwest my whole life. I'm parallel to the Southern tip of Lake Michigan and were only forecasted a balmy -23.
 

sour_grapes

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I did think of you Greg, when checking out all the weather forecasts! Good luck!

Temperature is dropping like a rock for us, like 5 degrees an hour. Fortunately, it will "only" bottom out at -21 F here on Wed. morning. There is an advantage to being next to a large body of water! :)
 

RonObvious

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Here in the Northeast we're not going to get quite as cold as those of you in the upper midwest, but I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your vines (and people!) come through it OK.

I find it all a bit frustrating. It seems like the new norm is that, generally speaking, winters are quite a bit warmer than they used to be. Which would lead one to believe that maybe, just maybe, we can think about planting vinifera. BUT... every year lately we get one or two episodes where the polar vortex weakens and a giant blob of really cold air that is supposed to be over the pole sinks South and plunges us into a deep freeze for a few days. Goodbye vinifera dreams. And if this gets worse and the temperature swings become more dramatic, how well will our hybrids even hold up? I mean if it's 50 degrees one day and -20 the next, that CAN'T be good for ANY plant, hybrid or not, right?

And don't get me started on skiing! It finally snows, then gets warm and it rains, then it gets really cold and it freezes to bullet proof ice. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, all winter long.
 

Ignoble Grape

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Maybe call your local university extension. They should have data/recommendations for the different varieties, especially the Frontenac which is a cold-hearty varietal. Maybe even call up the Minnesota Univ. extension, IL might not have the expertise.
 

montanarick

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Good luck but don't think the ice thing will work even if you can get wtar to flow at those temps without freezing in the hose/sprinkler. Ice on vines works for late frost when temps are in the 20's and low 30's not -20's
 

Stressbaby

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Icing works because of the latent heat of fusion. As the water under goes phase change from liquid to solid, it gives up heat. It is the process of freezing that protects the plants, and so once ice has fully formed it gets just as cold as the surrounding air and provides little additional protection. I agree with @montanarick and others, it's only good for temps in the 20s, overnight freezes, etc.

Edited to say we're at -8 this morning in central MO, heat on, no frozen pipes. Sun coming up so hopefully we're past the worst of it. Won't know about the vines for a while. Good luck everyone.
 

Dennis Griffith

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Well, it was 0 here this morning (Ohio) and it is supposed to drop throughout the day. And I'm appreciating my past decisions on not to plant vines that were marginal Zone 6 ones. Even though they are rated for 6A, it's times like these that would make me worry about whether I would see green on them in the spring. I've only ever lost one vine to winter kill, and would like to keep it at that. Now if I can just keep resisting buying a muscadine Nesbitt variety vine!
 

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