This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
THE frosts which occurred in some parts of California early in April, and which for a time threatened serious damage to the grape crop of the current year, have called out investigations that may be of good service to vineyardists in the future. A correspondent of the Pacific Rural Press, writing from Anaheim, May 11th, reports the vineyards again in full foliage, and thus notes the effects of the frost:
"The frost of the 4th and 5th of last month (April) were said to be the most severe ever felt in this part of the State. The thermometer on the morning of the 5th, at Anaheim, was down to 28° Fahrenheit, which is the lowest point it has reached at any time during the past three winters, and then on not more than five or six occasions. Therefore it is safe to conclude that anything which escaped injury, on this occasion, might be considered safe in the future.
"Previous frosts have been partial, affecting only certain vineyards and parts of vineyards, and no facts were developed upon which to base a theory; but this was general, no vineyard escaped, but some were much more seriously affected than others. A close and earnest investigation developed the following facts:
"The vineyards protected by thick hedges of trees were the most severely frosted, and per contra those more open to a free circulation of air, were the least severely frosted, those near buildings or planted among the fruit trees (trimmed up so as not to prevent a free circulation of air), entirely escaped.
"The Anaheim vineyards for greater convenience of cultivation are trained low, rarely raising more than two feet above the ground; this I am certain is a mistake, for I have long observed, that the closer to the ground, the greater the damage from frost. In proof of this I noticed that vines trained upon trellises, in the open vineyard, to a height of from four to six feet, entirely escaped, whilst the surrounding vines trained low as usual were all badly frosted; with the exception of the differ-ence in elevation the conditions were exactly the same; there were several instances of this, with, in all cases, the same result.
"The frost was much less severe on the mesa or table lands, which is owing to the elevation; the low-lying lands are always the worst frosted.
"My young tomato plants growing in boxes raised three feet from the ground, were scarcely touched and not materially injured, proving a wise foresight in raising them up; the volunteer plants growing on the ground were killed.
"The Mission priests were probably aware of this fact, for they, so for as I have seen, invariably trained their vines from three to four feet high. They were very intelligent observers, and rarely did anything without being able to give a good reason for it."