Pruning Grapevines in Michigan

The 2013-2014 winter in the Midwest and Eastern United States was impacted by the polar vortex; extreme cold temperatures that normally float around the poles year-round, but “thanks” to climate change are unfortunately propagated farther, transporting warmer air to the North Pole and polar air into lower latitudes, directly in our vineyards. Temperatures plunged into the sub-zero digits and the extended duration of the cold events severely impacted the cold hardiness of the vines. Many cultivars that normally survive our winters with little to no damage may have sustained extended levels of damage. The extent of the damage will depend mainly on cultivar and location. This winter will show dramatic differences between cultivars and the spring will reveal what type of damage (bud, trunk, and vine death) growers will have in different vineyard locations. Once the damage is assessed, the challenge is to take the necessary steps for the 2014 growing season.

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