Wow, don’t know about you but the time between fall and spring seems to be getting shorter every year. Seems like just yesterday we were harvesting our grapes and making wine!
Every year the vines have to be pruned back to provide room for new growth, and if done correctly, provide balance between the amount of fruit and the vegetative growth. Pruning is done early spring. If it is done to early then your trunks can become infected with fungi, or Eutypa Dieback. Basically…your vines get infected and dieback over a number of years. Given all the time and money you have invested in them, you want to prevent this from happening so that your vines will last a few lifetimes. There are a few easy things to try and prevent this.
– Delay your pruning as long as possible in the spring. If the phloem and xylem (blood of the vines) are flowing when you prune the vines, the diseases will not adhere to the wood.
– Double prune – prune the vines in the winter to an intermediate length and then prune late when the phloem and xylem is active. You can see from the picture above that we have done this. Basically we cut the vines to about 6″ close to where they will eventually be pruned. One of the more difficult items in pruning is removing the old wood that is tied to the wires. If you do this first it makes the final pruning much easier to do and easier to see where the final pruning cuts should be located.
– Protectants can be used after you prune to inhibit the growth of fungi. In the case of an organic vineyard the only item I have found is Serenade at 3% which will out compete the bad fungi. We have used this in previous years.
– Lastly, make sure as you prune you sanitize your pruning shear initially and during your pruning session so as not to spread any diseases.
So, for Turtle Vines…pre-pruning is complete and now we are waiting for the correct time to prune! Can’t be to late as we had bud break the last week of February last year.
Below is a picture of a row that has been pre-pruned and the old canes removed. Notice that all of the vine ties are gone from last year. (the ones connecting the vines to the wires)
We now have 5 big piles of canes from 2015 around the vineyard. Soon they will be chipped and used around the property.