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Overwintering grapes

Posted by snowguy716 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 5, 07 at 19:51

I hope this is the right forum for this!

I purchased 3 Kay Grape vines this summer at a nursery. I live in northern Minnesota (zone 3a/b). The U of MN extension says that Kay is very hardy but might need winter protection in northern Minnesota.

I planted the grapes pretty close to our house (about 2 feet from the house) on the side that faces directly south, so it gets full sun plus reflective heat from the house, which I've heard is best for grapes, especially this far north.

What should I do to protect the grape vines? Should I wrap them in burlap?

Also, should I trim them back now to make protecting them easier or should I wait until spring to trim back some of the excess growth?

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.


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RE: Overwintering grapes

I'd recommend posting this over on the fruits and orchards forum and see if any of the experts there have some ideas. You're pretty far north of me so I can't be of too much help - for me, winter prep of grapes entails only a little trimming and a light layer of mulch for the roots. Normally I'd recommend a dormant pruning either in the fall or early spring back to 10 or so buds based on the trellis system but I don't know how much winter kill you'll get thus it's a little hard to tell (leaning towards pruning in spring).

I think your positioning of the grapes is excellent for your climate in that it'll keep them warmer by a bunch and the summer growth should be early. I don't know whether burlap or a combination of painting leaders white and providing some cover will be the best protection. I can tell you that rodents really love it if you get any mulch directly against the grapes so please be careful on that aspect. Good luck and let us know how it goes.


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