Most asked question of the week…?
“How are you coping in this heat?!”
No matter where (in Australia) you are reading this, we’re all doing it tough.
Our thoughts are with everyone battling fires and conditions much worse than what we have here in the Adelaide Hills.
It got me thinking though… how do our vines cope? And what can growers do to protect their vines during this horrendous weather?
Water, water and then water some more.
Just like our gardens at home, watering is critical during this time.
Not only does it stop physiological damage to the vines – wilting leaves, shriveled berries, etc. but it can also cool the vines down.
The more moisture the vine has, the more water the plant evaporates (or transpires) through its leaves. Moisture and airflow create some lovely evaporative cooling for the plant. There have been trials done in the Riverland to suggest that at 35°C well-watered vines were about 8°C cooler than water-stressed vines!
A lot of vineyards water their vines down at root level with drippers, so the timing of watering isn’t that critical. However, if the vineyard is watered using overhead sprinklers then it is super important to water at night to prevent leaf burn.
As we all know though, water is expensive and, in a lot of regions, pretty hard to come by. So, the decision to water can often be a tricky one to make.
Maintain good canopy condition
If you have to be outside on a hot day, where is the best place to be? In the shade.
The same goes for our developing bunches of grapes.
So, it is really important to make sure the vines are nice and healthy to create a lot of natural shade from the leaves. Pruning, irrigation and nutrition all play a very important part in ensuring the canopy is lush enough. And these are things the grower needs to take into account from the very beginning of the growing season.
The are other considerations when it comes to setting up a vineyard which can help during heat waves. The orientation of the vines on the vineyard, the trellis system used and also the use of artificial shading. I won’t go into these in detail… just know that growers have a lot to think about when setting up and managing their vineyards!
Plant ‘sunscreen’ products can be sprayed onto grapevine leaves to reduce radiation, reflect UV and infrared radiation, and reduce water loss through the leaves (when water is scarce).
So, really not that dissimilar to us! Slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat and make sure you drink plenty of fluids (preferably water, but… you know!).
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A very special milestone!
We turned 100!
As of today, Somerled has brought you a brand new blog post every Friday for 100 weeks!
I want to send out a big thank you to all of the readers who have been with us since the start. I hope you’ve learned a few things along the way. And thank you to everyone who has contributed by commenting and asking questions. For all of you newbies… never fear, there is much more to come.
Here is to the next 100!
Christmas will have come and gone by the time I see you all next. So…
Wishing you and your families a Merry and Safe Christmas from the Moodys, the Somerled team and me!