Can a tarpaulin over the vines protect against frost?

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The spring frost has struck again in several places in France. Warm spring weather led to an early budding but then the weather changed again, as it usually does. In the Loire Valley, they are now experimenting with a new way of protecting their vines from spring frost, which can potentially cause major damage. The experiment is to cover the vines with a tarpaulin. If this method works is not yet totally clear.

Does the microclimate change under the tarpaulin? Yes, probably. After all, that’s the whole point. The temperature stays higher at night and during the critical morning hours. But it stays higher also in the days, which gives a kind of greenhouse effect. So, the question is whether to keep the tarpaulin on the vines all the time during the critical days? Or having the trouble of rolling it off in daytime and back again in the evenings?

It remains to be seen if this becomes an alternative to other frost fighting methods such as helicopters and propeller towers, water sprinklers, electric cables, candles, burning haystacks and more.

Here’s how it looks with a tarpaulin over the vines: mon-viti

Frost bitten vines in springtime
Frost-bitten vines in springtime, copyright BKWine Photography

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