Dry Weather Tough On Palisade Vines
Dry weather in western Colorado is stressing vines.
Everyone understands how important wine and fruit production is to the region. It's dry in western Colorado. A look at the United States Drought Monitor shows most of the state in the "D2" dark orange color signifying a "severe" drought.
January is typically a dry month in Colorado, but this winter has been drier than normal. There's been very little precipitation in the Grand Valley over past several months. Long dry winters can damage older vines and kill younger plants. It will likely be spring before the damage, if significant, will be noticed.
According to Horst Caspari of the Colorado State University's Orchard Mesa Research Center, "We're basically freeze-drying the vine tissue. Over the last three months we've had virtually no significant moisture, so it's definitely a concern."
It's normal practice to hit the vineyards with lots of water before the irrigation canals are shut off. Most years that plenty to survive the winter and it helps get a head start on spring. This year it may not be enough to make it.
Good news there's rain and snow in the forecast. The question, Will it be enough to make a difference? Here's the latest from the Grand Junction National Weather Service office...