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Shoot Thinning Northern Hybrids?

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Masbustelo

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I Have some Petite Pearl using HWC cordons and spurs. This is their fourth year. I've had problems with excess vigor, with canes running for 20 feet etc. This spring I pruned the majority of the spurs to 3 or 4 buds, thinking maybe I can control vigor this way. I've read a few articles on shoot thinning, where it is advocated. These articles, as many were in reference to vinifera varieties. I'm hesitant to apply vinifera cultivation practices to my vines.Should I let my vines go ahead with excess shoots, or am I asking for trouble? Also when shoot thinning, how do you know which to keep and which to get rid of? You keep the ones that have blossoms, and get rid of those that don't? Also is their a consensus on when is the best time to pull leaves near the bunches?
 
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jgmillr1

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One piece of advice I've gotten from the viticulture prof at Purdue is to allow more buds per spur as a means of handling excess vigor. Too late once you've pruned of course.
 

BigH

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I've had problems with excess vigor, with canes running for 20 feet etc.
Shoot thinning is going to invigorate the vine. It should be done with the goal of obtaining a uniformly ripened crop without causing too much excess vigor.

Also when shoot thinning, how do you know which to keep and which to get rid of? You keep the ones that have blossoms, and get rid of those that don't?
I keep 4-6 shoots per foot (all cold hardy hybrids). Keep shoots that have nice clusters forming, plus shoots from base buds that might make a nice spur next year. Those shoots usually don't have fruit, but you need to keep a few for spur replacement. I try to always prune the weaker of two shoots coming out of the same node (rabbit ears as Grapeman calls them)

Ideas to control excess vigor
  • Stop controlling weeds
  • Keep some kicker canes from the truck
  • Be diligent about combing shoots down in the summer
  • Avoid fertilizers and irrigation.
Also is their a consensus on when is the best time to pull leaves near the bunches?
I never get this done on time. Before veraision to avoid sunburn, especially in whites.

H
 

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