Uneven Budbreak

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Flying Blind

Jun 10, 2018
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I have a backyard vineyard in its third year, working towards a cordon and spur trellis system. This year, some (not all) of the vines have only had budbreak at the extreme ends of the cordon, furthest from the trunk and are growing quite vigorously. What are the possible reasons for this uneven budbreak? Is there anything I can do to encourage the othe buds to break, as those shoots are needed for next years spurs?


Senior Member
Apr 27, 2014
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Your cordon is a 1 year old cane from last summer, correct? Along that cane did you retain any buds from laterals? Are these vinifera vines or cold hardy hybrids?

I don't have any great suggestions. Some vines just don't cooperate. Your vines might be trying to tell you that they they don't have the root mass to support how much vine you have retained above ground. Another possibility is that those buds just didn't survive winter.

Here are some things to try:
  • Make sure the shoots that you have are pointing up if you have a VSP or combed down if you have your cordon on a high wire. That is supposed to de-vigor them a bit.
  • Remove all suckers and watersprouts (although you might want to keep one for cordon replacement).
  • Make sure you thin the shoots you do have to the correct number per foot.
  • Rain is supposed to envigor growth, so consider irrigation if you have hit a dry spell.
  • Plan for renewal if none of these work.

There is a poster on another forum who recommends pinching off dominant shoots when they reach a certain length to force energy into weaker shoots. I have not tried this personally.

In the future, keep one bud from pencil thick laterals on new, one year old cordons. The viticulture specialist at Iowa State believes that bud is more viable than the one in the nook.