Put a Valerian Blanket on your Vineyard and Orchard this Winter.

With more extreme weather events becoming the norm these days, orchardists and vignerons are often experiencing damaging late frosts at blossoming time which severely reduce fruit set.

Hugh Williams, biodynamic orchardist from the Hudson Valley, New York State in USA was recently in Australia and described his use of the Biodynamic Valerian preparation for reducing frost damage.

In early Spring this year, at Hugh’s Threshold Farm big frosts were forecast for blossom time. Whenever a frost was forecast Hugh would rhythmically stir 250mls Valerian Preparation in 250 litres warm water for 15 minutes. He then mist sprayed it out over his 2 ha orchard between 8 and 9pm on the night of the forecast frost. He had to repeat this spray on 5 nights. The temperature went down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit or -20.6 degrees Celsius in the surrounding area which completely killed off any blossom in the district’s orchards. Hugh’s trees were unaffected and have set a complete crop of fruit. Hugh’s Threshold farm is the only orchard with fruit this season in the HudsonValley.

The Valerian plant, from which the preparation is made.

In the compost heap, the purpose of the Valerian Preparation is to surround the heap with protective warmth. This quality can be put to good use for the prevention of late and early frost damage. If there is a serious risk of night frosts, spray the crops with a fine spray late in the evening with a Valerian solution. As a rule there will be no damage from temperatures dropping to -3 or -4°C using a Valerian mist of 10ml Valerian Prep/ha in up to 125 litres water.

If the frost is expected to be more serious than this you can use up to 125ml Valerian Prep/ha.

Vignerons and orchardists who are members of BAA have brought and used the Valerian Preparation for frost mitigation over the past few years.

Valerian is available online in 100ml quantities for farmers and a 5ml option for home gardeners.

Keep your orchard or vineyard warm!