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March 24th

So we are 4 days into spring and are still a ways off from budbreak. Last year my apricot bloomed in mid-February and this year it has yet to bloom. And what about all that RAIN! I am an Oregonian but I still get tired of it. It gets tricky to find work to do in the vineyard with everything so wet.

We are done pruning and are busy installing trellis wires. The cover crop is growing green and tall. Hopefully it will dry out again in time to tame the cover crop! In the last couple days I collected soil samples from several vineyards so we can address any soil nutritional imbalances.

My curent guess for budbreak is toward the end of April. This will be closer to "normal". Last year we had budbreak at the end of March and then the buds just sat there in the cold getting hammered by hail, suffering nutritional deficiencies due to cold wet soils and were damaged by very small rust mites inside the buds. Consequently, having budbreak later will reduce the risk of frost and mite damage. The shoots are less likely to be damamged by mites if they put on rapid growth after budbreak and can outgrow the mites. So having budbreak late April will be good in a lot of ways as the timing of budbreak does not necessarily have any influence on when bloom occurs.

The timing of bloom is very important as harvest is generally 90-110 days after bloom. Let's hope we have bloom BEFORE the 4th of July this year!