How to shelter grapes for the winter in Siberia
The cultivation of grapes in Siberia differs from its cultivation in areas with milder climates, so you need to be prepared for the fact that most popular varieties will need good winter shelter. How to organize it and what you should know about preparing a plant for cold weather - read in this article.
Why do you need shelter
Most grape varieties are heat-loving plants, and this applies even to those varieties that are considered to be frost-resistant, withstanding temperature drops to -25 ° C. With prolonged exposure to frost on the root system of these plants (-5 ° C or even lower), it will be on the verge of freezing, and if the street temperature is kept within -20 ° C for two weeks, more than half of the buds or even the vine itself will suffer.
Did you know? According to experienced gardeners, in order to maintain 1 degree of soil temperature, it is enough to place 1.5–2 cm of snow on a bush. That is, a snowdrift of 30–40 cm high will be enough for the plants to calmly survive the winter.
All the values given are characteristic of many regions with a temperate climate, not to mention the harsh conditions of Siberia. Therefore, in order to prevent the death of grapes and provide themselves with a harvest also in the next season, winegrowers cover the vine, thereby protecting not only the aerial part, but also the rhizome from freezing.
When to cover grapes for the winter in Siberia
In the northern parts of Russia, autumn takes a short period of time and after just a few calendar months passes into a full, very harsh winter. For this reason, they begin to shelter the vine in late September or early October in order to complete this process before the first frost.
Preparatory work for frost
Without full preparation, it is impossible to start sheltering grapes. Without waiting for the completion of natural biochemical processes and replenishing the supply of nutrients in the plant’s body, we cannot talk about its good health in the winter. Therefore, before looking for cover material for grapes and proceeding to the procedure itself, it is important to observe the following preparatory recommendations.
Learn how to care for grapes in autumn.
Fertilizing grapes for the winter
Even before harvesting, grapes spend almost the entire supply of nutrients, so to restore the energy spent and preserve the already laid buds, you will have to use certain fertilizers.
- You can spill the soil with a solution of phosphorus (20 g) and potash (10 g) fertilizers dissolved in 10 l of water. In this case, the nutritional composition should penetrate to a depth of about 25 cm.
- If you wish, it is useful to add boric acid, potassium permanganate, iodine and zinc sulfate to the water for irrigation, but not more than 10-15 g of each substance per 10 liters of water.
- Once every three years, when preparing the vine for winter, you can fertilize the soil with a mixture of superphosphate and chlorine-free potassium (25 g of each substance). This amount will be enough for 1 m² of planted area, and as for the method of application of fertilizing, you can just patch the dry mixture into the ground.
Important! Nitrogen-containing mineral compounds are not suitable for feeding grapes in the winter period. They cause the rapid growth of shoots and green mass, which in this case is completely inappropriate.
Autumn processing and spraying of grapes
Not all growers are unequivocal on the issue of winter spraying of grape bushes, so many of them shelter the vine without proper treatment. However, if preventive measures were not taken even in the summer, then, most likely, the plants already have signs of damage by pests and diseases. During the winter, the problem only worsens, and with the advent of spring, young and unripe shoots will suffer first of all.
How to cut grapes in autumn in Siberia
Pre-winter crop pruning is usually performed after removing grapes and falling all the leaves from the bush. In this case, autumn pruning is more preferable than spring pruning, because having formed a bush according to the “sleeve pattern” it is very easy to lay it on the ground for further shelter. The vine, which was bearing fruit this year, must be completely cut, along with unripened shoots.
Did you know? The oldest vine has been cultivated for more than 400 years in the house of wine, which is located in the Slovenian city of Maribor.
The state of the latter can be easily determined as follows: at zero air temperature, slide your palm over the surface of the vine and if it is ripe, it will give a feeling of dry heat, while unripe will give the impression of touching a glass bottle with cold water. Fruit branches are pruned, adhering to the principle of “fruit link”, when only the upper shoot for fruiting remains on the substitution knot, and the lower one is trimmed to the level of the substitution knot.
Watering grapes before wintering
Moisture-charging irrigation of the vineyard is usually carried out in early October, when it is already cool in Siberia, but there is still no frost. For fruit-bearing plants, the irrigation rate is 100–150 L per 1 m² of plantings. Moisture should be distributed throughout the entire root system of the grapes, because good moisture of the substrate will prevent freezing of the rhizome with the advent of frost.
How to prepare young bushes for winter
Young bushes planted this year do not need to be trimmed; just remove the leaves that have not fallen. Plants planted in the previous year can be cut to 3-4 buds, leaving no more than two shoots intact. In the future, pruning of the entire matured vine to 3 or 7 fruit buds is also performed.
Read also about how to grow grapes from seed.
In the fifth year of the life of grapes, fruit links are formed on it. As for irrigation, 50–80 liters of water per 1 m² are poured under each one-two-year-old bush, so that the soil is well saturated with moisture. All other actions are performed in the same way as for fruit-bearing grapes.
How to shelter grape bushes
There are no special requirements for the covering material for grapes, however, when choosing a shelter, it is necessary to exclude the possibility of moisture on the vine, because of which it subsequently freezes. If you intend to use polyethylene or other similar fiber, take care of the presence of filter holes in it. In addition, the strength of the selected product is also an important feature, so if you focus on the plastic film, then choose only dense varieties that can retain their qualities for several years.
Important! In addition to protection from the cold, grape bushes should be protected from rodents, so it is better not to use sawdust and hay for warming the shoots so that mice do not get wound in them.
Of the finished products, for sheltering grapes, you can buy agrofiber, although some gardeners prefer to use it only in the spring, when there is a risk of light return frosts. In winter, this material often passes moisture, so in addition to it, you will have to use an intermediate layer, which provides a more reliable shelter.
How to cover grapes for the winter in Siberia
There are many methods of sheltering grapes in the Siberian regions, because each gardener chooses the option that will be the most accessible and simple for him.
- Option 1 After removing the shoots from the supports, they are cut and laid on sawdust or boards, additionally covering with a spruce top. It retains snow well, but for additional warming it is advisable to use a layer of covering material (for example, you can wrap the vine with polyethylene or roofing material in front of it). So that the vine does not rise from the surface of the earth, it is attached to it with special metal brackets or wooden hooks.
- Option 2. It is used more often than the previous one, since it does not require practically any special materials from the grower for sheltering bushes. To protect them from frosty winters, mainly only soil and snow are used, under which grapes are well preserved even in the most severe winters. In this case, the vine is tied up in bundles and laid in specially dug trenches, which are then covered with soil to a height of about 30 cm from the surface of the earth. When the snow falls, the layer of shelter will become even larger, which will additionally insulate the branches.
- Option 3. Sometimes fallen foliage is used as covering material. It is poured with a thick layer (at least 30–35 cm) over grape shoots fixed at the very ground, and a film is pulled on top. So that the snow that doesn’t slip on it, you can also lay on top a layer of raspberry stalks or dried sunflower tops. After snowfall, place it in a layer of at least 50-60 cm.
Video: grape shelter in Siberia
What to do in spring
In the spring, as the snow melts, the insulation structure can be disassembled. In the early days of a steady thaw, snow-holding devices are removed, and after the snow has completely melted, the waterproofing layer can also be removed. The main shelter is removed only at the end of the second half of April, after which the vine can be raised from the trench and hung on supports for further ventilation. As soon as the shoots are sufficiently dry, the attachments of the bundles are removed and the branches are put back into the trenches to be covered again when necessary. Return frosts are a frequent occurrence in Siberia, so there is no reason to hope for early heat.
Important! After removing the vines from the supports, it is necessary to bend it to the ground very carefully, without sudden movements. Even if outward cracks are not noticeable, inside individual fibers can break, which will harm the further development of grapes.
It will be possible to finally open the grapes and fix it again on the supports not earlier than the middle or even the end of May. In general, caring for vineyards in a harsh climate provides for the implementation of the same actions as when growing in the rest of Russia, though with a slight shift in the usual terms. Having properly prepared the vine for wintering, you can not worry about its safety until the new season, which means there will be no doubt about the abundance of the future harvest.