Term 2 – Week 7 & 8 – Pruning

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Winter sunrise over Alexandra

At this time of year the major job going on across vineyards and orchards is pruning. It can mean some very chilly starts!

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Pruning the Bannockburn campus vineyard

Setting up the vines/trees for next seasons growth is essential for crop management and maximising yields.

In New Zealand grapevines are mainly spur pruned or cane pruned on a trellis system. There are so many different ways it can be done though.

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The main different between cane and spur pruning is that with cane pruning you are cutting off nearly all of last year’s growth and laying down two canes (shoots) to act as the arms of the vine. With spur pruning the arms (cordons) stay in place permanently and the shoots are cut back to new buds.

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Before spur pruning

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After spur pruning

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Close up of a gnarly spur

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Before cane pruning

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After cane pruning

There are advantages and disadvantages for both. Spur pruned vines can lose their fruitfulness over time; cane pruning doesn’t since you’re laying down young wood each year. Also, since cane pruning removes most of the old wood it removes disease and pest damaged wood. Spur pruning is a lot quicker and easier to teach, but you may need to spend more time and labour on canopy management later.

Only one more week to go!

Last two week’s weather:

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weather2

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