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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pruning and why we waited

and the end of the Mustard Season
We are finally pruning the vines this week.  We have waited longer than most vineyards to slow down the start of the budding a bit. We always manage to catch up later in the summer.
If we prune later, we can delay bud break for as much as two weeks.  The benefit in doing so is that we can significantly reduce the risk of frost damage to the new buds. The risk of frost damage does not go away until the 1st of May.

It is still raining and cool in the Napa Valley. It will probably continue to rain, off and on, for another month, and then we will not get any rain during the entire summer. Usually not a drop!

The mustard  (that isn't already gone) will also disappear over the next few weeks as the winegrowers (not grape growers) plow it under.  They do so for two reasons. One, to put the green compost into the soil and the other to reduce the risk of frost.  If the ground is mowed and even disked, it will radiate heat more during the night and help prevent early frosts from damaging the young shoots.