Wednesday, January 06, 2010

On to the Backyard the Original Haut Tubee

These vines are what we've left in the backyard. Originally there were 20 vines packed in. We've thinned it down to 8 and last year began the process of converting them from Head trained to Cordon and Spur on a 5 wire Vertical Shoot Positioning system (VSP). This is the system we use in our other vineyards and all the pruning from here on out will be Cordon and Spur on VSP.

On this Syrah vine you can see the remains of the arms and head from the previous pruning. When doing a conversion we try and get a shoot to come out and pull that down to the wire. The thing is we never really know where a good shoot might come from, so we end up leaving a 'mess' of arms.

We were excited that we got good shoots to start cordons on these plants. The plants were in such good shape too that we were able to get vertical shoots started last year. We do this by pruning off the end of the shoot when it reaches the right length. The plant will then send shoots up since it can't grow out any longer.

Sometimes these side shoots can be weak and we end up removing them, but you can see this one has a small but healthy bud. I'll keep these two buds on this plant and it will become the spur on the plant.

After pruning and cleaning up the plant is all set up like a three year old Cordon and spur trained VSP vine. The vine is actually 9 years old this year, but the training is like a three year year old vine.

This vine gave me the chance to show pruning on a three year old and four year old vine at the same time. Last year I was able to pull a cordon down and get it started on the right side of the plant. So that side is like a four year old plant, while the other side is like a three year old plant. That is the hot tub in the background.

This is the four year old section of the plant. You can see the different wood colors and that the spurs have already started.

This is the three year old side of the plant. It has thrown some new spur starts, but not at every junction. On this side we will have to use buds on the new cordon to start the spurs.

On the four year old side I had this spur started and in good health.

I count up two buds and make the cut. Like roses it's best to cut at a slight angle so that moisture can not build on the cut and start rot.

This is the new spur. It will have two shoots and 2-4 bunches of fruit.

The finished vine showing the 3 year old side on the left and four year old side, with spurs started on the right hand side.

Here's a close up of the spurs, each with two buds.

Here's a good example of why it's called a Vertical Shoot Positioning system. This spot had a bud that was pointed out horizontally. The shoot would have come out at a horizontal angle to the cane. I nipped out the bud so it will not grow.

This is a little blurry but it is a vertical bud, pointed straight up. This is what we want on the three year old side. This will send a shoot up into the wire system and establish a new spur.

The plant usually cooperates pretty well with this pruning method. One bud tends to point up and the next tends to point down. This is a shot from further away of the bud above. In this picture you can see it pointed up.

Next up we'll do the little church vineyard and then on to Chaine d'Or this weekend. Both are VSP systems. We'll be able to do those pretty fast.

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