Our big objective this week is to remove suckers from the vines at Newport Lane Vineyard. The suckers form on vines that are vigorous, usually because the soil is fertile and well-draining. They either grow directly out of the trunk just above the ground or they emerge from the ground right around the base of the trunk. If we leave them, they will sap energy from the vine that we want to go to the trunk, canes, and fruit that grow up on trellis. Also, the suckers won’t be fruitful immediately. Fortunately, they snap right off. In fact, we can use our V-Mech system that is towed behind a tractor to knock them off quickly. The attachment contains a rotating column with 60–70 “bristles” made of ¼ inch soft plastic.
We are working on ten rows of Edelweiss in the A Block at Tassel Ridge that we cut off at the ground last year. They are now growing suckers that we will train up to form new trunks. We are putting grow tubes around the best sucker for each vine (we eliminate the rest) and tying them to the pencil rod so they grow straight up to the top wire. These vines had been in the ground since about 2007 and we were experiencing missing arms and other problems created by inappropriate pruning at some time in the past. This was hurting their productivity. The new vines should produce more fruit again starting next year.