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Finger Lakes Vineyard Update – April 19, 2010

With permission from
Hans Walter-Peterson
Viticulture Extension Specialist
Finger Lakes Grape Program
Budbreak Status

The warm weather over the past couple of weeks has pushed most varieties to some level of budswell to budbreak here in the Finger Lakes.  Budbreak is usually defined as the point where the first leaf tips are visible on the emerged buds, but however you define the term, the new shoots are coming out much earlier than normal, by about 2-3 weeks depending on the variety.  Varieties that are furthest along that I noticed late last week included GR7, Chardonnay, Foch, Concord and Niagara.

 
At this stage of development, buds are still fairly hardy to temperatures slightly below freezing, but not much more.  According to some data from Michigan State University, the LT50 level for buds at the late budswell to budburst stage is around 26-28°F.  If the first leaf is starting to separate from the shoot and the young shoot tip is exposed, as is probably the case in a few vineyards with early varieties, temperatures closer to 32F can damage them.  Remember that LT50 means the temperature below which 50% of the buds die, so some damage can happen even a little above these temperatures.  The current forecast includes a frost advisory (April 19, 2010)for tonight and tomorrow night in the region, especially in low spots or along wooded edges or buildings at the bottom of a hill where cold air pools.  The Weather Service is also forecasting temperatures even a little lower later this week as well.

 Stay tuned!  We have definitely hit the ground running! 

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