The vineyard crew finished long pruning and tying all of the vines in our Maple Woods vineyard last week. Next week, they will work on one block of Edelweiss at Tassel Ridge to get it long pruned and tied up on the trellis.
We are “long pruning” at this point. What this means is that we focus on shortening long canes from last year. We leave 3-5 extra buds on each cane. Because it is only early March, we can expect to have one or more killing frosts before mid-May. Since grape vines grow apically with growth starting at the ends of the canes, any growth now because of the warm weather would likely be killed in a hard frost. We can go back after that frost and just prune off the dead buds (short pruning) and we are likely to get growth from the remaining buds.
One indication of how soon vines will bud out is the amount of sap running from the vines after we prune a long cane. A couple of weeks ago when it was warm, we were seeing a little evidence of sap, but not enough to cause the buds to form and open up. Then, it got cold again and now we are not seeing any sap running.
We will get our mechanical pruner ready to start pruning in another week or so.
And, we will be spraying Sulforix and a herbicide under the vines. The Sulforix will kill any fungus that overwintered on the trunk and canes of the vine. The herbicide is another effort at reducing the number of weeds under the vines. They compete with the grapevines for water and nutrients. Finally, we are using our Weed Badger to reduce the amount of big weeds in the rows. It is just one more step we can take to reduce the amount of weeds in the vineyard.