First Year Vine Questions

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PittGrad

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Couple questions on my first year backyard vineyard:

Most of what I've read on training first year vines talks about getting vines to top wire (for top wire cordon trellis) in first year, and training the laterals in year 2. Question is all of my vines this year have gotten to top wire and we're not yet to end of July. What do I do from here? Just let them go? Cut them off at top wire? Any input appreciated.

Second question is that just one (of 8) vines has bumps all over the back of leaves. Some initial research suggests it might be blister mites, and if so no real concerns. From the picture here, can anyone confirm mites? Most pictures I see online show front of leaf blisters as opposed to back of leaf, but all of mine are on the back of the leaf.

(apologies that the pictures are sideways...when I attempted to delete and re-upload i'm told I don't have access needed to delete?)

vines.jpg

leaf.jpg
 
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ZHill

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I'll let one of the professionals answer this, but that looks like Phylloxera. We get them on our pecan trees every few years, and I know there are species that attack grape vines as well. That looks exactly like Phylloxera, unless it is a reaction from some other pest biting or stinging the leaves, like the mites you mentioned. If it is Phylloxera you shouldn't worry too much about the aesthetics of the leaves, but grapes aren't pecan trees. The bugs can carry a fungus, which isn't a big deal for a pecan tree, but grape vines are more fragile than a large tree. It may be time to spray fungicide if every leaf on your vine is that bad. If they lay too many eggs on one leaf it will most likely wither and dry up.

Break open one of those bumps with your fingernail. If you see little white dots inside, it's most likely Phylloxera eggs. If you don't find any white specks, give them about a week and try again. Those look fresh. --- I'm a little confused because on pecan leaves the egg pockets are typically more spherical and uniform. I see some trunk-like growths out of the top several of the knots ; that would most likely be fungus.
 
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PittGrad

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ZHill, now that you mention that and I've spent a bit of time googling, I suspect you're right. Not every leaf on the vine looks like that--some completely fine, but from some very early reading it doesn't seem that there's much available to the hobby vineyard in the way of an effective spray. Any others out there with small time vineyards have experience with phylloxera?
 

ZHill

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ZHill, now that you mention that and I've spent a bit of time googling, I suspect you're right. Not every leaf on the vine looks like that--some completely fine, but from some very early reading it doesn't seem that there's much available to the hobby vineyard in the way of an effective spray. Any others out there with small time vineyards have experience with phylloxera?
Those vines are small. Since they seem to be isolated, if you're feeling spiteful, cut the infected leaves off now and burn them. That will keep the fungus from spreading if it is in fact Phylloxera. It would be harder to do on a large vine or a tree.
 

Stressbaby

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I'll be watching this thread. I have first year vines as well, and I've gone ahead and trained them along the top wire. Some of the cordons are 2-3 feet long already on my Traminette and Vidal.
 

semenn

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Question is all of my vines this year have gotten to top wire and we're not yet to end of July. What do I do from here? Just let them go? Cut them off at top wire?
Leave your vine alone, let it grow. In early September, you can prune the tops in order to improve the maturation of the vines.
And yes, in your photo, the struck grape leaf is very similar to the phylloxera
 

shrewsbury

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I let mine grow and dormant pruned in February. Mine seemed to grow out of control and even after an intense dormant pruning they have gone hog wild again this year. I would not prune them, but I am no pro.
 

BigH

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Generally, you only want to keep pencil thick canes for future development. Although you have reached the top wire, and that is great, there is a good chance that the material up there won't be thick enough to keep. IMO, what you need most is a little more leaf area to balance root development.

Here is a run down of a few things you could do at this point

1- Nothing
2- Cut the vertical shoot off one bud or so above the cordon wire to encourage laterals to grow and become cordons (I vote no)
3- Carefully lay the primary vertical shoots down on the fruiting wire.
4- Cut the the very end of the primary shoot to encourage laterals and more bushyness

Option 1: is a decent option. I worry a bit about those shoots sticking up too high and getting snapped off on a windy day or in a storm. You would lose a lot of leaf area.

Option 2: If you had plenty of leaves and good thick shoot all the way to the top, the typical way to get the cordon's going is to cut the vertical shoot one bud or so above the wire to encourage laterals to shoot out down the wire. I don't like that idea for your vines right now. You would lose 30% of your leaf area, and there may not be enough growing season left to grow a worthwhile cordon.

Option 3: Another way to get a cordon going is to simply lay the vertical trunk down on the top wire. Some people don't like this approach because they feel it can create an imbalanced vine when the main trunk turns into one cordon, and a lateral becomes the other. I do like this option for you though, but only to protect those tall shoots from breaking off in a storm, not really to develop a cordon.

Option 4: Cutting off the very tip of a shoot stimulates the growth of lateral shoots. Right now, you could use more green leaf area to support growth of your root system. Plus, your shoots are starting to get pretty tall anyway.

If i was in your position, I would either do nothing or mix options 3 and 4 to protect existing leaf area and to encourage more bushyness. Next spring, you will either cut back to pencil thick wood and try to finish your trunk and start your cordons, or you can cut all the way back to 2 or 3 buds at the ground.

Disclaimer: I am only in year 4 of my small vineyard. I am an expert at making mistakes, but that is about it.

H
 
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PittGrad

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Expert or no, I really appreciate your input and thoughts on those options! I particularly like the idea of laying down the tops, maybe not for eventual use as a cordon but just to protect it as you mentioned, and then I'll let it keep growing as much as possible for this season. Thanks again for feedback, much appreciated!
 

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