Tops or Cordons?

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Background, I've got a variety of north American hybrids including Marquette, petite pearl, frontenac blanc, etc. 30 of them are entering their 3rd season and 103 entering their second. I plan on trying a variety of trellis systems including GDC, TWC, and it appears at least the petite ami will be more suited to a VSP and I am looking to see how they do at our location.

The second year vines will be taken back to the ground again this year even though they did have great growth last year ( thanks to Double A vineyards and NE Vine supply). With the 3rd year vines, last year I had just bent the tops and trained them along the top wire.

1.) was it a mistake to not top them and bend the tops over? Should I cut the tops this year and train a true cordon off of the trunk?
2.) i think I've read when you top them, you should cut through the node nearest where you want the top, correct?
3.) when pruning off other branches from the trunk, does it matter where that cut is? Can you just make a clean cut an inch or less from the trunk or should that be through a node?

Thanks!
 

grapeman

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1.You can certainly just bend them over and tie down. If they are thick enough just leave them and shorten if needed to get to a pencil thickness.
2. Don't cut the node where you want it. If you do you ruin the buds in it. Leave about a quarter inch above it.
3. When pruning off the other canes from the trunk, clip them as close as you can to the trunk. You do not want to leave one inch nubs. Beside looking horrible it allows the trunk to form over them and leave future pockets for disease to get hold. By cutting close to the trunk it also gets rid of the buds there and they aren't as likely to grow back there.
 

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