The vineyard crew started mechanical pruning of our Marquette vines with the mechanized sprawl pruner. This takes three people with one person driving the tractor that pulls the V-mech mechanical platform and two people in the V-mech. One person prunes the right hand row while the other prunes the left row. The machine cuts off canes that grow outside a “box” that is 12–14 inches from one side to the other and roughly the same distance to the cordon. This is a pretty fast process because we move through the vineyard at 1–2 miles per hour. That may sound slow but it is the equivalent of up to 10,000 feet per hour. When we are pruning, that is screaming fast!
We have a new attachment for the V-mech that will allow us to mulch up the wood we are pruning off the vine rather than just cutting it and leaving it in the canopy. When we leave it in the canopy, we have to go back and remove it by hand. If that doesn’t get done before the vine starts to bud out, we almost certainly will also rip off good buds when we remove the canes we have cut off. That results in reduced production. We mounted the barrel pruner on the V-mech and are trying it out this week and next week.
And, we have had to stop trying to remove trees at Maple Woods because the soil is so dry that the trees just break off at the ground. This leaves the tap root in the ground and it will grow back with a vengeance next year. When the ground is wet or at least damp, the entire tree, tap root and all, comes out easily.
Weather permitting, we will spray herbicide and we will be doing some trellis repairs.