Because of the recent rains, the vineyard soil here in Mahaska County is well irrigated and it is much easier to remove broken posts and Mulberry trees. Posts get broken off at the ground during harvest because they get hit by the harvester, especially when we are turning the harvester from one row to another. The posts don’t usually break off when they are new but after they’ve been in the ground for five or more years, they start to weaken at the point they contact the ground. Replacement involves digging them out, reusing the hole, and replacing them with a new post. Line posts are only driven in two feet deep but the end posts are driven in four feet so this can be a real challenge. We have to dig down about a foot so we can get a chain on the old post and then with a tractor or skid-steer, pull the old post out. We are making good progress in getting the broken posts replaced.

In some places, we have so many Mulberry Trees that our vineyards are beginning to look like orchards! Birds just love the mulberries that are endemic in our world. They eat the berries and then find a nice place to sit like the top wires in our vineyards. Soon, nature calls and they excrete the berry seeds wrapped in a nice Nitrogen package and the whole mess drops down right near our vines. A Mulberry Tree has a tap root that must be removed almost in its entirety or the roots just regrow. So, cutting off the tree at the ground and treating it with Roundup® or Tordon® is usually not effective at killing a Mulberry tree. We have to pull the tree out by the roots. When the ground is hard, the root just breaks off and within a year or two, we have to repeat the process. This year, we are putting a priority on post replacement and tree removal, and we are making some nice progress.

At some point, we will do our final fungicide spray but right now, it is usually too windy in the morning to spray.