EFFECTS OF EVAPORATIVE COOLING ON COLD HARDINESS OF CHARDONNAY AND CABERNET SAUVIGNON BUDS DURING DEACCLIMATION

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  • 1 Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Rt. 3, Box 219, Lubbock, TX 79401

Freeze losses to grapes in March, after mild deacclimatizing winters, is the major production risk on the Texas High Plains. Earlier studies indicated the effectiveness of evaporative cooling in reducing grape bud heat summation with a correlated delay in budbreak. Parameters relating to water-use-efficiency were identified. In the current study, these parameters were incorporated to minimize water use. Water was applied through microjets for 25 seconds every 4 minutes any time air temperature exceeded 10°C, 15°C, and Control. Bud temperatures were monitored continuously by thermocouples and data logger, and correlated with budbreak and plant development. Random bud samples were taken weekly prior to budbreak and subjected to differential thermal analysis. A freeze on March 23 (-3.5°C) resulted in differential primary bud losses to Chardonnay during budbreak, and to Cabernet Sauvignon 15 days prior to budbreak. Evaporative cooling significantly increased yields in both cultivars. Differential thermal analysis verified differences in cold stress tolerance in Chardonay prior to budbreak.

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