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2nd year CT backyard vineyard - A few questions

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I planted these vines last spring and most are doing great. The pictures here are of 'America' on a TWC. These shot up to the top wire last year, and I began training cordons which split just below the wire on one (because a shoot arosein the seemingly perfect spot to do this). After reading threads here and following advice from Double A Vineyards, I am starting to train a second stem fron the base. Yesterday, I removed the smaller shoot on the left and let the other one remain the wire. You can see the width of the vine in one of the pictures next to my finger. Any advice on my next move? I'm thinking I will let it be and hopefully a second shoot will emerge from the base.

My second question is a general one: With vines that have made ut to the wire and are of pencil width or more, shoukd I remove all buds/shoots from the main stem until it reaches the wire? I understand that it is important to retain some buds in case of winter injury, but I was planning on doing that at the base of the vine.

My final question (for now!) is regarding my Cab Franc vines on a VSP. Some grew well and I have begun to train the stem along the wire, but a few are not even pencil thickness. I let them grow with no pruning last year, and this spring only cut back the dead ends back to live buds. Most have a couple small stems about a foot or two tall and I have left any additional little shoots arising from the base. My thought here was to allow as much leaf tissue as possible to grow in order to develop more roots. I dont have pics of these right now, but my question is do I let them go as is right now? Cut all shoots, leaving the two strongest? Or do i cut them back heavily to stimulate new, more vigorous shoots? I was thinking that for vines that are very skinny, maybe I should have cut them to the base over the winter to encourage new shoots this spring...Thanks in advance!!

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Masbustelo

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Sundown, since no one else has replied, I'll take a shot. On your vines where the growth with good thickness reached the cordon wire, I would say yes, remove the buds on the vertical vines. My understanding is, that if you are growing an extra shoot from the base to insure against winter kill, let one bud grow and train it up to the TW. If you don't need it in the spring, cut back this one and start it over next year. I believe that most would say that any growth that didn't reach pencil width should be pruned and removed. You'll be surprised how much vigor you will see from new growth this year.
 
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Sundown, since no one else has replied, I'll take a shot. On your vines where the growth with good thickness reached the cordon wire, I would say yes, remove the buds on the vertical vines. My understanding is, that if you are growing an extra shoot from the base to insure against winter kill, let one bud grow and train it up to the TW. If you don't need it in the spring, cut back this one and start it over next year. I believe that most would say that any growth that didn't reach pencil width should be pruned and removed. You'll be surprised how much vigor you will see from new growth this year.
Ok, so the vines that are not pencil thickness can be removed now? Thanks for the reply!
 

balatonwine

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My thought here was to allow as much leaf tissue as possible to grow in order to develop more roots.
Normally one supports root growth by managing and limiting leaf growth each year by bud management. Leaving too much green growth above the ground means the plant may put most energy into that year's growth to reproduce ASAP, as today is fine, the future is uncertain, and tomorrow may not exist. So will not put as much into long term (i.e. root) growth. You want to convince the plant that it is in its best interest to "think" this year is not ideal for green growth and reproduction, and to put more energy into roots to use for next (and later) years.

The trick is to have just enough green growth to allow the plant to put max energy into its roots and not divert too much into excessive green growth.

One method to do this (for Vinifera):

First year, leave 2 buds only. If the vine does not make the wire, cut back to 2 buds again and start the year count over again to year 1. If the vine makes the wire, leave buds that are only double the bud count from the first year: so leave 4 to 5 the second year . Third year, double again (8 to 10 buds). Fourth year, normal long term bud load should be okay (20 to 40 buds in most cases).
 
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I understand what youre saying, but for the first year i didnt want to do much pruning on the vines that were not growing as vigorously, so as to allow them to become established and minimize stress. They had nowhere near excessive vegetative growth. Are you saying that now I can cut those that are less than pencil thick and havent made it to the wire to the ground? My concern was that if I wait too long to do this, and the vines have expelled much energy leafing out, I may stress them too much and they wont push much vigorous new growth.
 

balatonwine

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I understand what youre saying, but for the first year i didnt want to do much pruning on the vines that were not growing as vigorously, so as to allow them to become established and minimize stress.
I understand. And I can sympathize. It seems horrible to nip a new vine down to two buds. It seems counter intuitive that doing so helps the vine. I did the same when I first started planting vines. Hated to "inhibit" the vines with just two buds. But the vines all grew poorly. Took six years or more to bear and fruit, when fruit should only take 3 years to appear. I had to learn to be brutal.


Are you saying that now I can cut those that are less than pencil thick and havent made it to the wire to the ground?
The time to cut weak growing vines back to two buds was when they were dormant. Now I would not recommend cutting any of last year's growth, as you are more likely to create entry points for disease when you cut old wood this time of the year. But you can "bend off" any green growth at their base of growth and limit the total number of shoots.

Again, I know this seems counter intuitive. But as an example, we have had a very warm April and May here, and I did not have time to do all the pre-leaf out node thinning I normally do. So last week, I had to go through and bend off shoots that had pre-bloom berries on them that were too close together to bring the berry shoots to the correct inter-node distance. One may be saying, but I am loosing grapes! Yes, but to leave the berries there would result in over cropping. Which is a real stress to the vine. And with all those grapes in the vine, the vine probably would not be able to bring them to full ripeness for wine making. So it would be a double problem if I did not remove the excess growth.

This farming after all. It is a process to balance what is best for the vines, versus what is best for human production. The grapes "naturally" just need to become ripe enough to entice birds to eat them and move the seeds around. And if the vine over crops, and dies, it is okay since it maximized it's spreading around of its seeds (basic biology principle that a lot of reproduction in a short time is sometimes better than just a little reproduction with longevity).

But as a wine producer, one must manage the vines for both production by our wine making definition of ideal grape quality and vine longevity.


My concern was that if I wait too long to do this, and the vines have expelled much energy leafing out, I may stress them too much and they wont push much vigorous new growth.
It is about balance. As a wine maker, you need to make (and force if necessary) the vines to put most energy into a good root system. By allowing excessive green growth, you might actually cause more stress to the vine, in the long term. Because a good root system will allow it to live through more environmental extremes in the future (such as drought).
 
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Right, so you answered my main question: the time to cut back weak vines was in the dormant season. I had cut them back to a couple buds when planting and then just let them go the first season. I was thinking that I should have cut them back again while dormant, and was on the fence about whether or not i could get away with it this spring. Thanks again!
 
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I understand. And I can sympathize. It seems horrible to nip a new vine down to two buds. It seems counter intuitive that doing so helps the vine. I did the same when I first started planting vines. Hated to "inhibit" the vines with just two buds. But the vines all grew poorly. Took six years or more to bear and fruit, when fruit should only take 3 years to appear. I had to learn to be brutal.




The time to cut weak growing vines back to two buds was when they were dormant. Now I would not recommend cutting any of last year's growth, as you are more likely to create entry points for disease when you cut old wood this time of the year. But you can "bend off" any green growth at their base of growth and limit the total number of shoots.

Again, I know this seems counter intuitive. But as an example, we have had a very warm April and May here, and I did not have time to do all the pre-leaf out node thinning I normally do. So last week, I had to go through and bend off shoots that had pre-bloom berries on them that were too close together to bring the berry shoots to the correct inter-node distance. One may be saying, but I am loosing grapes! Yes, but to leave the berries there would result in over cropping. Which is a real stress to the vine. And with all those grapes in the vine, the vine probably would not be able to bring them to full ripeness for wine making. So it would be a double problem if I did not remove the excess growth.

This farming after all. It is a process to balance what is best for the vines, versus what is best for human production. The grapes "naturally" just need to become ripe enough to entice birds to eat them and move the seeds around. And if the vine over crops, and dies, it is okay since it maximized it's spreading around of its seeds (basic biology principle that a lot of reproduction in a short time is sometimes better than just a little reproduction with longevity).

But as a wine producer, one must manage the vines for both production by our wine making definition of ideal grape quality and vine longevity.




It is about balance. As a wine maker, you need to make (and force if necessary) the vines to put most energy into a good root system. By allowing excessive green growth, you might actually cause more stress to the vine, in the long term. Because a good root system will allow it to live through more environmental extremes in the future (such as drought).
Ive noticed that most of the vines have pre bloom berries on them. On those that have not reached the fruiting wire, I have been removing them. For those that have reached the fruiting wire I have been removing the lower ones and leaving those above the fruiting wire. Is this correct?
 
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Most varieties on TWC have reached the fruiting wire, and now sending shoots out all over the place. Do I want to only select downward growing shoots to develop spurs on TWC and prune back the rest??
 
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