An unseasonably warm winter causes concern for crops

An unseasonably warm winter has crops in Niagara region waking up a little early

Normally, crops start maturing in early to late April. However, after a weekend that enjoyed temperatures in the mid to high teens, mother nature may have jumped the gun.

“Starting to see some buds starting to move on the trees, sap is flowing in the grapes as I noticed on the weekend.” said Michael Kauzlaric.

Growers aren’t worried about the expected late-week chill. However, they are keeping their fingers crossed over the risk of the spring frost which can happen right up until Victoria Day.

“Right now if we get blossom April 1st we extend that window by two weeks and -5 is still possible in mid April and that’s a big concern.”

So to protect against the spring frost, growers are using wind machines that bring the warm air above down to the crops to keep them from freezing.

Growers at Vineland Estates took that concept to extremes by hovering their helicopter over their crops for 2.5 hours during a spring frost late last May.

That same cold snap devastated vineyards in Prince Edward County. Some growers said up to 70% of their crops were destroyed.