Friday, May 28, 2010

Clearing the Land - Frost Pocket

We had the land cleared around th existing vineyard spot in late April and to our surprise we found that the vineyard test spot is actually located in a small low area. So actually clearing the trees here will have a negative effect as it will allow all the cool air from the area recently cleared to pool at night in the vineyard. April was preety warm and the last week or so the vines were about a week from bud break if the weather were to stay the same.

As it happens, the spring and specifically the month of May has been the coolest of those recorded. Significantly so that the the vines as of May 25th were just slightly into bud break and we have had some tremendous variations in temperatures. Mid may we hit 31 degrees high and on the night of May 23th we had a low of -2 with obvious frost that cuased damage.

What is particularly interesting is that I took separate reading from separate data loggers on the 23rd, 24th , and 25th of May to capture the night time lows at the 6" height level and at the 4'6" height level. Here is the night time lows recorded for a few of the dates at the different heights.

Height___ 6"___ 4'6"
May 23 ___-3____ -2
May 24 ___0_____ 2.4
May 25 ___0_____ 2.6

The higher elevation the warmer it is and one or two degrees can make a huge difference. Many vines in the early bud break stage can withstand a -2 low but not a -3 low. This is why a higher fruit wire cordon can bennefit the vines in a area that is prone to frosts.