Tuesday 17 February 2015

The vineyard

I still remember how pruning the vineyard was such a relief at the end of the pruning training week, as it was so straightforward and one could whizz through it, feeling rewarded at the end!

Principles are really clear and so is the putting them into practice.

We use the "double Guyot" replacement system, which consists in a thorough pruning every year, leaving just 2 replacement arms of new wood, plus an extra 3 bud stub in case it's needed.

You choose branches that come from below the lower wire of your post and wire system, around 80 cm from the ground so that there is good airflow but also some warmth reflected from the soil underneath.

If there is no suitable new wood coming from close to the trunk, you don't leave an old rod: the hope is that new wood growth is stimulated, even if you are left temporarily with only one arm.

Cuttign back the old wood
First of all, from the tangle of tied in branches, you start cutting back the old wood to a suitable new branch...

Removing the new wood that is not well placed or strong
Then you remove the new growth that is not well placed, not long enough as an arm, that is weak or diseased. You review your pruning of old wood in the process.

Choosing the stub
You are eventually left with three suitable branches: one has to bend towards the left, one to bend towards the right and one of which you will treat as a 3 bud stub, your insurance for replacement purposes.When  you have made your choices, you have to prune the branches to a suitable length so they can be tucked in up the second wire and down the bottom one, on their respective sides, without encroaching on the surrounding plants.

Job done

We left it to that at the time, but then went back today to tie the branches in as a team hit.
Carefully stretch and bend up the second wire at the back, then down the bottom one at the front, without breaking them; tie; cut.

The ideal Guyot
Crossing of branches not ideal but sometimes necessary
When branches do not want to bend in the right direction...
What will happen next, is that the branches will send up new shoots vertically. These will be trapped between wires tied with chains at the poles on either side of the rows. Any growth that will flop over, will be trimmed away.

The tied in rows, with chains on the poles

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