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 Grape vine protection from the cold? 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:30 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Portland, Oregon
Post Grape vine protection from the cold?
SW Portland

I caught the tail end of a program on NPR; it sounded like an Oregon commercial grape grower saying that with the severe cold he may lose all the plants and need to cut them to the base, let them regrow, and miss a year of production.

I only have two grapes, now about 2 years old (one year in the ground), a Canadice and a Himrod. Both grown from cuttings picked up at the HOS scion fair two years ago. They have both been trained straight up about 5 feet and then with lateral vines as well.

Should I do something to protect the trunks and lateral vines from the 25 degree weather? Is it too late?


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Brian
Portland, Oregon
Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:55 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 421
Location: SW Washington
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
I'm curious what was said.

I wouldn't worry about dormant grapes until temperatures are in the single digits and below. Canadice is supposed to be cold hardy to -20 something Fahrenheit.


Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:34 pm
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:30 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Portland, Oregon
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
Here's the OPB link to the very short report:

http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-nor ... ld-damage/

Discussing NW vineyards and the cold, one grower said 'every so often he has to cut vine trunks back to the ground, and that means it will be several years before a fruit harvest comes again'

Perhaps a difference between table and wine grapes? Or Washington and Oregon weather?

Sounds like my Canadice are safe, thank goodness!

Brian

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Brian
Portland, Oregon


Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:37 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1165
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
Good catch and question, PDXBrian. I’ve grown both Canadice and Himrod for decades and have never knowingly dealt with cane damage from winter cold. Late spring frosts surely take more of a toll on the vines here in ‘the heart of wine country’ (Yamhill County) than winter cold.

I listened to the report and first noted the vineyard’s location, “Walla Walla Washington” … right up the Gorge -- and given the Gorge (Coho) winds, I’d consider their weather closer to that of ‘Eastern Oregon’ than Portland or the Willamette Valley. It’s been cold, but not down to the “6” they’d predicted a few days ago ... maybe 12 to 17, without the wind (around here).

You could have wrapped them up in something insulating, and though it’s too late for that, I wouldn’t worry. That report sounded fairly sensational to me … and not what I’d have expected from OPB. But surrounded by vineyards, I'll keep my ears open for damage reports :|

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Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:17 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1374
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
I wouldn't worry too much either Brian.

Wine grapes are almost exclusively Euro grapes-vinifera, a different species.

Most table grapes are native American grapes, labrusca-much tougher.

Euro grapes tend to be thin, chain-smoking and spend lots of time at cafes eating tiny French desserts.

Our grapes drive monster trucks and get into fist fights with grizzly bears. Well the last two sentences may have been exaggerations.:)
John S
PDX OR


Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:02 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
John - great additional points, each one - and for starting another cold day off with a green grin :mrgreen:

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Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:44 am
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:30 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Portland, Oregon
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
Great, good to hear guys! The vines are safe as long as we don't go into extreme global cooling...Just have to look forward to trouble-shooting racoons...But I'll wait until I actually see grapes!

Viron, since you have grown canadice and himrod, perhaps you can direct me in a side topic on training the vines.

I've seen it written that both can be either spur or cane pruned, but also seen that Himrod can't be spur pruned and that Canadice does better with spur pruning...

I guess I am going with 'cordon-trained, spur-pruned' for both. HOWEVER, I can't see info if, from the cordon (yellow in the picture), the new shoot/cane should be be trained up to the top wire from below (lower yellow cordon with green canes going up to top wire) OR should the trained cordon be at about the level of the top wire (top yellow) with the new shoot/canes be trained out and down/over the top wire. I'm kind of doing both now until I figure it out! And plan to get rid of the cordon at 3' or 5' later on...

I may have my terminology mixed up...but I'm trying...


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Brian
Portland, Oregon
Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:11 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
Brian,

I’ve only cane pruned my Canadice, but due to a couple different locations, both spur and cane prune my Himrods… Canadice are less vigorous than Himrod and are likely more akin to ‘American grapes’ (Vitis labrusca, ‘foxy,’ with ‘slip skins’). I’ve long runs on a trellis built above the reach of deer - with plants around ten feet apart, thus training long canes from ‘last years growth’ across them has worked well. Fortunately the Canadice are usually vigorous enough to produce canes five+ feet per season.

Himrod has no problem producing that length of cane, if usually three times as long…

Just keep in mind that grapes produce on ‘last years’ growth, so you’ll have to leave enough of it for them to set fruit; either one long cane, refreshed/ replaced every year; or a cane that’s allowed to remain, with short ‘spurs’ of two to three buds left yearly for fruit production.

To me, a slower growing vine will fill the trellis or cover the wire at too slow a pace to renew itself every year, thus I’d train it (the cordon) completely across, then prune it’s shoots as described for spur production; renewing them yearly.

For a faster growing vine I’d replace the full length canes along the wire yearly, beginning as close to the ‘main trunk’ as the shoot/s appears. If it’s vigorous, you can leave the trunk short of the top wire and lead the year old ‘runner canes’ up and across; giving slightly more buds for fruit production…

I can prune apple trees with my eyes closed … feeling for buds. But grapes – you gotta be watching and planning every cut. They’ve taken years for me to figure out, and, each has a somewhat different growth habit; even variations in soil fertility around my yard/ orchard will dictate which pruning method I use… But once you’ve figured them out – it’s like a living puzzle. Out here in ‘wine country’ it’s interesting to see the strategy that goes into pruning them for wine production, almost exclusively spur pruned and trained … then leaf removal for ‘color.’

Actually, I’ve let most of my grape arbors go… too many, too time consuming, and after predation …too few. And you’re right …raccoons love them… and robins and deer… So I hope my terminology’s correct as well :roll:

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Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:29 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
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Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Grape vine protection from the cold?
I cane prune, because my grapes are exclusively American. I'm a grape anti-snob.
John S
PDX OR


Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:54 pm
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