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Training Your Plants

Immediate removal of all undesirable growth can stimulate a young vineyard into production at an earlier age, than if it is left to grow until the dormant pruning. Beginnings immediately after the vines are planted tie a piece of sisal twine from the top of the old wood (last year's growth) of the vine up to the wire. A slight tension on the string will help straighten the trunk in its formative stage. Be sure that the string is tied above the new shoot which is selected for the trunk; otherwise the string could girdle and kill the shoot. The trunk of the vine is a shoot which comes out of the old wood, preferably, near the ground. This shoot should be vigorous and healthy and come out of the old wood at an angle not greater than forty-five degrees. After the trunk has been selected, remove all other shoots. This will stimulate growth of the one remaining shoot. Some assistance will be required in getting the young shoot started up the string. This may be accomplished by spiraling the shoot around the string. Tendrils will tie the trunk to the string most of the time. You must remove all tendrils which become wrapped around the trunk; they will girdle and kill the trunk above where the constriction is at. As the trunk grows and the leaves begin to mature, young shoots will start growth from buds in the axil of each leaf. The removal of these shoots, while quite young, will stimulate the trunk to grow faster. If these shoots are left to grow, the result will be an undesirable, bushy vine. The trunk should grow up to the wire by midsummer. Allow the trunk to grow about a foot above the wire, at which time it should mature enough, so that it can be tied tightly to the wire, without breaking. You need to put a slight tension on the trunk when it is tied, in order to hold it straight. Cut off the top of the trunk about two or three buds above the wire. This will stimulate the lateral buds on the trunk to sprout, thus giving a good selection of shoots for the beginning of the main arms. The main arm or shoots preferably selected two to six inches below the wire and from the opposite side of the trunk. Train these along the wire. Continue to remove all other shoots from the trunk so that as the vines grow older, the trunks will be clean. At this stage, the string which has supported the trunk should be removed and the old wood of the original plant from which the trunk began should be removed just above the origin of the trunk. This completes the job of cleaning up the trunk. The shoots selected for main arms should be spiraled around the wire two and one half turns between the trunk and the post. Some support may be needed as the arms grow. Sisal twine is used to tie loops around the shoot and the wire. The loop should be large enough so that the shoot, the wire, and a finger can be passed through the loop. Never tie anything tightly around the arms and be sure to remove all tendrils which wrap around the arms and trunk, to prevent girdling. Cut off all growth when it reaches the post. The first lateral growth arising on the main arms should not be pruned in the summer. This growth forms the foundation of the fruit spurs when it is pruned in the dormant season. < Back