March 16, 2018
You know the right thing to do and you fully intended to do it but life got in the way. Something else happened. Someone else needed your attention more and the first task was laid aside to attend to the second.
This was the case with one of my vines. I knew she needed support. It just never happened at the right time so I let her go and she grew sideways. She was dubbed BeatNick by some friends. In all honesty, she was bent when she was chosen but they thought it was cool. So I let it go longer. Bad choice.
Today I had to make a vineyard management decision. I cut her down to the ground.
She still bears fruit but one idea nagged at me and wouldn’t let me go. It is not loving to allow her to remain bent when correction can occur. Now is that time. It is late winter and the buds have not yet broken through. The trunks and last year’s shoots are slightly pliable.
The first time I had to do this it devastated me. Now when I have to cut one down I am reminded that the plant is a vine. It wants to grow. The roots are still growing. It will survive to be better than it was before. I am the farmer. I have the power to make her life better.
Here’s what I did:
- Cleaned my hand saw with Lysol concentrate. Rinsed the tool with water. Wiped with the concentrate. Let it stand about ten minutes. Rinsed off tool so that no Lysol residue remained. If you love your vines, clean your tools
- Made the cut. Cut at an angle above the very first node. Left two shoots at the base with three buds.
Vines bleed. They remind me of straws… earth straws. Seal the wound. My first choice for wound sealer would be pine tar. It has anti-fungal properties that are useful here in our cool climate. But since I didn’t have that around, my second choice was to seal the wound with wax. I used an old discarded candle held to a flame and gradually moved the candle around so that the dripping wax would cover the entire surface of the wound. It’s not a perfect solution but its better than nothing for now.
- Chose which of the two shoots I wanted to train up as the next trunk.
- Set a metal U-channel post for its support. I have used grow tubes in the past but don’t prefer them. They attract bugs that do not benefit the vine and become a breeding ground for algae, moss, and fungus all of which I fight against here on our cool weather site. Vines trained up in grow tubes tend to be weaker initially as well. Yep. Not a fan. Use metal where you can.
- One last thing. The buds I’ve chosen need to be positioned in the sun. They will be healthier that way and grow stronger shoots which is what we’re aiming for in a trunk.
Don’t be afraid to correct the vines. It will be better for both of you in the long run.