Although we have not had any overnight freezes yet in Mahaska County, our vines are showing signs that they think it is time to go dormant for the Winter. This is most evident with Steuben which is a labrusca vine native to New England. Leaves on these vines are almost all dark brown or black. Soon, a windstorm will strip these leaves off the vines. The sap in the cordons and trunk will drop down into the extensive root system that every mature vine has. Our other vines are all cold climate varieties and they are a little more resistant to cold weather, but within a week or so, they will also be showing signs of the approaching winter.
We removed all of the St. Croix vines from Meadowcreek and are continuing to pull mulberry trees wherever we find them. The recent rains have really helped to soften the ground. We are also setting badger traps at Tassel Ridge. The badgers dig holes that our employees can inadvertently step into leading to broken ankles. We are cleaning up and putting away most of our sprayers and are shutting down our irrigation system. We will pump down our waste water lagoons and drain the irrigation backflow preventer. And, as soon as ground temperatures drop below 55°F, we will spray herbicide under the vines.