We have experienced hot weather in the 80–90°F range for more than two weeks now. The vines have quickly moved through flowering to fruit set. We are working quickly to get fungicide sprayed and also to start hedging our Marquette. Our Marquette is trellised with a vertical shoot positioning system (VSP) and so canes are trained upward between catch wires. Because these vines are so vigorous, the canes will soon be rising out of the catch wires and down alongside the fruit to the ground. We need at least 15 leaves per cane in order to ripen the fruit and with no trimming, we’ll easily get 50 leaves. So, we hedge these canes to make sure that the fruit has sunlight on it and are still able to leave 20–25 leaves per cane. We accomplish this task with our V-Mech pruning machine.
Our vines are loaded with fruit this year. We dodged damage from late frosts and got through flowering with no high winds or rain. The next big challenge will be enough rain to keep the vines in good health so we can ripen the fruit. There is always something to worry about.
Our Marquette vines have a large number of suckers at the base of the trunks. We also use the V-Mech to remove the suckers quickly.
We have installed grow tubes on our newly planted vines and that protects the vines while allowing us to continue to spray herbicide to control weeds.
Our hot, dry weather makes it essential that we water the new vines on a regular basis.
Finally, we will remove the remaining Mulberry Trees in our Steuben vineyard.