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Pruning round two

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shrewsbury

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Thanks for the great replies to the last thread I started on pruning!

I would like to first sum up my plans for dormant pruning, verify, ask a few more things, and then ask a few questions about spring pruning.

This winter be be the second for 120 vines and first for 60.

My second year vines will get pruned down to one or two trunks. I may keep a second trunk if it is near the crown and looks good, otherwise all else will go. If one trunk is left I will keep it up to the top wire, then down the wire till it is close to the post and/or a pencil thickness. if two trunks, I will do the same to the other side.

I will leave maybe 3-4 shoots, with 3 buds each on the top wire, for each trunk. I will cut everything else off level with the truck and do some fine snipping and rubbing at any buds and/or base buds.

My 1st year vines scare me. they are doing well and I am a chicken to cut them all the back. can someone give me the pros and cons of doing so?

now the spring comes.

I am certain buds will begin to pop up in a variety of areas, I should rub them all out if possible? If I miss some and a shoot starts, can I still prune it off? At what point should I not prune it off? Should I use a wax if I do? If so, I am guessing a grafting type wax?

Any input in appreciated.

Thanks
 

salcoco

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walk through the vineyard every couple of days with a leather working rough glove on. rub off the buds you do not what . should you miss one it can be pruned without any ill affect. pruning can be done all summer if you wish.

it is sometimes good practice to prune during the summer to guarantee sun reaches all of the clusters.
 

VillaVino

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What are your varieties and what type of trellis are you using. I find having 2 trunks becomes a pain in the 3-4th year. It took me a while to figure this out. It’s just easier with one trunk. More stability. All my newer rows are down to 1 trunk.
 

shrewsbury

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TWC, Vidal Blanc
this spring I will be putting in Delaware on a TWC as well
 

Jack7033

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The one year old vines: Did they send any of their last year’s growth to the first wire? If so great leave that one or ones. Let them send their new shoots along the wire this coming year, 2018.
If the last year’s shoot did not make it to the first wire, cut it back to two buds. I know that hurts, but is important.
The first two years especially the vine needs to spend its vigor in shoot growth and root development.

Did this help?
Jack T.
 

shrewsbury

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Thanks, I will keep that in mind come February.
Thanks again
 

shrewsbury

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The one year old vines: Did they send any of their last year’s growth to the first wire? If so great leave that one or ones. Let them send their new shoots along the wire this coming year, 2018.
If the last year’s shoot did not make it to the first wire, cut it back to two buds. I know that hurts, but is important.
The first two years especially the vine needs to spend its vigor in shoot growth and root development.

Did this help?
Jack T.
So any vines that are not pencil thick and made it to top wire I should cut back to two buds?
So count two buds above the crown and cut?
Then keep trimming any other growth except the two new buds?
 

Jack7033

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Yes. Yes and yes. But if you see another potential trunk coming up from above the graft let it grow too. I like two trunks. Insurance is good. On a mature vine I like two trunks plus a renewal.
Just my two cents.
Jack T.
 

Stressbaby

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I'm entering year 2. I've grown and pruned a wide variety of fruiting plants besides grapes and some of the practices in this thread have me scratching my head.
Just my opinion, but the "pencil thickness" rule makes no sense to me. I intend to prune back to viable wood regardless of thickness.
Also, the "prune to 2 buds if not to the top wire" makes no sense either. If you have perfectly viable vine 4 feet tall with buds on the top, why wouldn't you use one of those buds for the next year's growth? I'll prune back to viable wood, leave 2-4 buds near the top, remove the buds below that, and then choose the strongest shoot from the 2-4 to continue to the top wire, removing the others.

If someone can present an argument as to why these practices are not sound, I would like to hear it.
 

Jack7033

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1. Where are you located in the country?
2. Dormant pruning of 1 year old vines. It is very important to choose the one or two trunks or let grow this second year. If none of the shoots from last year made it to the first wire, leave one or two shoots but cut them back to two buds. If a shoot made it to the first wire, strip the buds off below the first wire and let it have two to three buds above the wire to branch out to become your new growth for this year, which then becomes your “fruiting” wood for next year. If a second shoot did not make it to the first wire, cut it back to two buds and promote it for a second trunk next year.
Here in the north east, on the south shore of Lake Ontario where it is 9 degrees today, I like a second and even a third trunk as insurance. Keep in mind you can always cut it off if not needed. Plus I like to have the nutrients from roots have two trunks to feed the vegetation and fruit.
Just my two cents.
Jack 7033
 

Masbustelo

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I'm no expert, but... Last spring was the second year for my grapes, but first pruning. The vines I cut back to three buds seem to have grown better and more uniformly than the ones where I left questionable material. The first year roots were grown, the second year you will establish and develop your vine. The third year you will get fruit. Basically as much vines that you can see above ground is equal to root volume below ground. So if you cut back to 2-3 buds the existing roots will cause an explosion of growth this year.
 

Stressbaby

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I live in Missouri. Most of my vines grew much better than this. I had a few Nortons and Chambourcins that didn't make the top wire; of the rest, the only vines that didn't hit the top wire were vines that were damaged by deer before I got my deer fence up. I have probably a dozen vines which hit the 6' top wire and grew cordons with spurs 8' long bilaterally. We'll see what's left after tonight - forecast low is a zone-testing -7F.

If none of the shoots from last year made it to the first wire, leave one or two shoots but cut them back to two buds. If a shoot made it to the first wire, strip the buds off below the first wire and let it have two to three buds above the wire to branch out to become your new growth for this year, which then becomes your “fruiting” wood for next year.
Let's say my top wire is 6 feet, and vine #1 makes it to the top wire. I would in fact do just as you suggest, remove the buds below the top 2-3 and let them grow out as cordons year 2, hopefully to fruit year 3.

But let's say vine #2 only makes it 5 feet. To me, there's nothing magic about hitting the top wire. I get that the growth rate of that vine may be greater than vine #1. But I don't really care how it grows compared to vine #1. I care how it would grow compared to pruning it all the way back. And assuming I keep the trunk clean, the growth rate from the remaining buds on vine #2 is likely to be the same whether those buds come off at the end of a 5' trunk or whether they grow up from the base.

If I manage vine #2 by leaving 2-3 spurs at the top, removing any spurs/buds/branches below that, then I enter year 2 with 5/6ths of the height of my final trunk, and some reasonable expectation of adequate cordons in year 2 and therefore fruit in year 3. If I prune vine #2 all the way back, I set my trunk back at least 4 feet, reduce the odds of getting fully grown cordons year 2, and additionally expose the growth to all manner of critter damage which would be out of reach for buds from the end of a 5' trunk.

The vines I cut back to three buds seem to have grown better and more uniformly than the ones where I left questionable material.
I'm not talking about leaving questionable material. I think we all agree, dead and diseased material gets pruned out no matter what.
 

Jack7033

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I think we are not on the same page. I am talking the “first” wire not top wire. My first wire is about 33” from the ground and second wire about 50”. My two “catch” wires are seven feet high to position new long growth of new shoots to prevent them from falling and shading the fruit.
I cut back to 2 Buds on one year old vines that do no make it to the first (33” high) wire.
If at the first wire or higher I let them grow the second season with buds a couple inches below that wire to allow shoots to ty to that wire. Plus a few buds above that first wire to grow to the 50” wire.
The third year I want two cordons on each wire if the vines vigor will support it.
All this is dependent on the vigor of your vineyard.
There is no one fits all solution. I have extremely vigorous Merlot vines and have four trunks on a lyre trellis system to split the canopy to allow sunlight and ventilation. On this I have one fruiting wire 33” and then a top 50” wire plus catch wires to hold the vigorous growth of shoots.
I hope I not confused you.
 

Stressbaby

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I think we are not on the same page. I am talking the “first” wire not top wire. My first wire is about 33” from the ground and second wire about 50”. My two “catch” wires are seven feet high to position new long growth of new shoots to prevent them from falling and shading the fruit.
I cut back to 2 Buds on one year old vines that do no make it to the first (33” high) wire.
If at the first wire or higher I let them grow the second season with buds a couple inches below that wire to allow shoots to ty to that wire. Plus a few buds above that first wire to grow to the 50” wire.
The third year I want two cordons on each wire if the vines vigor will support it.
All this is dependent on the vigor of your vineyard.
There is no one fits all solution. I have extremely vigorous Merlot vines and have four trunks on a lyre trellis system to split the canopy to allow sunlight and ventilation. On this I have one fruiting wire 33” and then a top 50” wire plus catch wires to hold the vigorous growth of shoots.
I hope I not confused you.
Gotcha, thanks for clarification.
 

wxtrendsguy

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But let's say vine #2 only makes it 5 feet. To me, there's nothing magic about hitting the top wire. I get that the growth rate of that vine may be greater than vine #1. But I don't really care how it grows compared to vine #1. I care how it would grow compared to pruning it all the way back. And assuming I keep the trunk clean, the growth rate from the remaining buds on vine #2 is likely to be the same whether those buds come off at the end of a 5' trunk or whether they grow up from the base.

If I manage vine #2 by leaving 2-3 spurs at the top, removing any spurs/buds/branches below that, then I enter year 2 with 5/6ths of the height of my final trunk, and some reasonable expectation of adequate cordons in year 2 and therefore fruit in year 3. If I prune vine #2 all the way back, I set my trunk back at least 4 feet, reduce the odds of getting fully grown cordons year 2, and additionally expose the growth to all manner of critter damage which would be out of reach for buds from the end of a 5' trunk..
One of the reasons to cut back to pencil thickness is to form strong trunks. If a vine didn't make it to pencil thickness but is say 5 feet tall you can do as you describe by leaving the top buds and rubbing off the lower buds. However, what often happens is the new shoot that originates from the top bud will grow really well and actually end up being much thicker then the trunk below from year 1. This results in a vine with a very weak trunk that is prone to bending and will need extra care to ensure the trunk is stable. Eventually the trunk will thicken and all will be ok but if you have a vineyard with 1000s of vines its more efficient to just cut it back to pencil thickness or down to two buds...
 

Stressbaby

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That's an explanation I can work with - although after last night (-9F) I doubt I'll have anything viable under pencil thick anyway...
 

Jack7033

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I would suggest getting Richard Smarts guide called “Sunlight in Wine”. If not the Bible on growing grape vines, I don’t know what is better for starting a vineyard ( spacing, trellis choices, etc) and then managing the canopy after the vines are mature. In the vineyards I have had the experience of working in, canopy management and vine balance are the two most neglected aspects. Native, hybrid and Vinifera grapes vines need different thought processes to manage them. Smart does a good job in addressing these aspects.
Jack T.
 

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