Vineyard Advice After a Wicked Winter: Don’t Prune, Do Weed

Too soon to prune. That’s the advice from Danny Hopper on the first sunny day in February of 2017.

“We’ve still got a long way to go this winter,” he said. “We recommend delayed pruning in this region because we can get freezing temperatures on memorial day weekend and snow down here in the valley.”

Hopper graduated from UNR where his Ph.D. in plant biochemistry emphasized viticulture.

The vines are probably fine, Hopper told Grape Basin News, even after a series of winter storms pounded the region with snow and rain, and temperatures dipped into the 20s

“Vines can survive, especially in January and February, at minus-10,” he said. “Honestly, we had winters that were super dry that I think were more of an issue for the vines, because they essentially dehydrate and the vines die due to lack of water during the winter.”

But not this winter.

“Because we got so much water, the big thing is weeds,” he said. Watch for weeds, and enjoy an easy time for a few weeks before spring requires harder work.

Where a vineyard was truly flooded by the recent stoms, damage assessment will have to wait until spring.

“A lot depends on the age of the vine,” Hopper said. “A mature one can withstand being overwatered more than a very young vine.”

If you’re using root stock, watch carefully to determine if the fruit-bearing vine is still alive. If the scion dies but vines start to come up from the root, you’re not growing what you think you’re growing.

Since graduating from UNR, Hopper has turned his attention to marijuana plants. He’s conducting new research in his job as Cultivation Manager for Silver State Relief, and applying some of what he learned in the vineyards.

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