How to start a new cordon on established trunk

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Kiwi

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Hi,

I have 20 vines along a fence that have been growing well. Syrah vines trained on cordons and spur pruned VSP. Each year the fruit gets a little higher on the fence based on last years wood etc. The cordons are higher than I want anyway so dropping them is of interest.

With my limited knowledge I see my options to bring the fruit back down and have enough leaves above is to:
- let new shoots from the cordon grow (no fruit first year) then fruit after.
- somehow induce new buds on an old truck. Is this possible without major surgery?

Anyone have any recommendations?

Many thanks.
 
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BigH

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The vine will occasionally pop a bud at the base of a spur. When you shoot thin, keep an eye out for these and make sure to keep them through the growing season and prune them to be a spur next season.

Heavy pruning will invigorate the vine and encourage more latent buds to pop. I have not heard of anyone consciously using heavy pruning to encourage more base buds to pop, but in theory, retaining fewer fruiting buds during your winter pruning should give you more renewal shoots to choose from.

There is a 3rd option: lay down a cane from the head area and make a new cordon. This might be an option for vines that already have some other flaw in the existing cordon (ie a large gap between good spurs). Might be wise to only do this for one side of the cordon per season. If you replace both halves of the cordon, you might not retain enough buds to keep the vine's vigor in check.

H
 
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Kiwi

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Thanks BigH,

This is great thanks. Definitely good ideas and totally agree, I had forgotten there are lots of buds that do start just above splice (which all these vines have) so cultivating a couple of these to develop over a few seasons is a good plan. They are only 6 year old vines so both the trunk and cordons are not major yet, I just set them far too high initially. I will look out for canes as well to lay down. This gives me a few options over the season which is great. Definitely keen to keep the vines producing and strong through this process.

I had a sick older Syrah vine with Eutypa Dieback in both cordons and gave it a full cut back to first healthy trunk wood (about 18" above ground) very early in the season and popped buds everywhere over the next month and now on the road to recovery. Didn't want to do this method as it is far too drastic. I tried this after talking to a grape grower I know that said he was a shocking driver and had run over a few vines with his tractor over the years and they all grew back fine.

Many thanks for your help!
 

Kiwi

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Thanks Balatonwine, yes I have done similar. Will dig out the photos. And some nice grapes there!

I saw a Youtube clip on moving vines and the guy spoke in the commentary about "coaxing" a new bud on a trunk by cutting the trunk at the required location. That did not make sense to me. Has anyone heard of this process?

Cheers.
 

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