mostly wood posts of 6-9 inches by 8-9 foot long. End posts hold
the pulling force generated by vines, winds, and temperature
difference. End posts are needed for rows longer than 100 feet.
There are many types of end post set-ups, commonly with 60°
angled posts or H-type posts.
materials of end posts can be woods treated with preservatives (penta
or diesel oil). Pressure treated fence posts are also nice.
Black locust and cedar are naturally rot-resistant and therefore
are excellent for end posts (and line posts).
Line Posts: posts used in the rows
are called line posts. They can be metal or woody. Metal posts
of 6-7 foot long are excellent. Wood
posts of 4-6 inches by 6-7 foot work fine. You may also need to
purchase other supplies depending on the training systems you
want to use, for example, supplies for GDC or Lyer.
Anchors: for the 60°
angled end posts. Earth anchors are
large screws with rings on top and are twisted into ground with
a bar. For H-type end posts, the earth anchors are not
necessary, but a brace and two end posts are needed for each
Wires High-carbon or other high
tensile wire of 9-13 gauge, with 12.5 or 12 gauge more common.
If you want to plant Muscadine or Concord grapes, 11 or even
lower number gauged wire might be necessary.
Staples: Large galvanized staples
or brads used to attach the wire to the line posts.
Drilling holes in the line posts and passing the wires through the
holes are not recommended.
Springs and Wire Tensioners: Those
are optional but will buffer the tension and make strengthening
wires easier. TOP
Sleeves or Other Wire Joiners: to
join two wires together.
Tools: drill, pliers, hammer,
shovel, post hole digger, tractor/auger, etc.
time to set up your trellis is the fall prior to your planting
or after planting. Posts can be driven into the ground by a post
driver, so check the availability, it is worth the money. Be aware
that trellising is not a one-person job.
need to be lined up in the row. You may want to flag out the
field and stretch a cord across the row. Usually do the end
posts first since it will help line up the posts. The distance
between two line posts can be 18 feet for vines spacing at
6-foot or 24 feet at 8-foot, allowing 3 vines between the line
posts. Wires can be strung after all posts have been set or after a
setting single post, especially when you are not using a post
order your vines or propagate your vines the year prior to planting.
in Kentucky can be tricky since the latest frost occurs in May,
after a month's warm temperatures which has boosted rapid growth of
grapevines. I would wait until early May to plant my young vines to
avoid damaging frosts.
Planting: Check your vines before
planting. Choose healthy, disease free vines. Moisten your vines
before planting, for example, sit vines in water for about 6 hours
(but less then 12 hours). Drill holes, plant the vines and bury them
with soil. Trim the roots if you have time although this is not a
must. Some books also mention pruning vines to 2-3 buds, which
may be not necessary here in Kentucky since the frost would possibly
occur. I would prune the new plantings after the latest frost to
about 3 buds.
pre-emergent herbicide after planting (but make sure cover your
young vines) will greatly reduce the time for weed control later.
Water the new
plantings well ("soak" them!). Choosing an appropriate day when rain
comes after planting will save you lots of time. Kentucky usually
has lots of rain in spring which would help young vines to survive,
but, keep the soil moist at least for the first month.
a training system refers to the way we position vines in space. It
includes Trellis and Training (Training
includes Pruning and Positioning).
with your vines by looking at the image to the right. Know these basic terms before pruning:
arm, cane, spur, fruiting cane.
Training of Young Vines (The first two years):
The principle of young vine
training is to develop two straight and strong trunks which would
reach the bottom wire. If the first year growth does not grow that
high, vines should be pruned back to 2-3 buds again, as you pruned
vines last year after planting. It is important to leave 2 trunks in
Kentucky in case one of them gets damaged (especially cold damage).
and new shoots getting longer, stake up young vines and tie up the young shoots
to the stake,
which will help vines to be straight and grow fast vertically.
Bamboo sticks of 5 to 6 foot long will be enough to finish this task.
When tying the tender shoots, be sure to ease on them--not too
tight. High Tubes can also be used.
vines have reached the bottom wire after the first year's growth, but
after winter, the top part of the shoot may have dried out or
been damaged by the winter cold. In this case, prune vines back to
2-3 buds in spring and develop new "future" trunks
in the following growing season.
How to Prune Mature Vines?
Why Pruning? The aims of
pruning are : to establish and maintain the vine in a form that
facilitates vineyard management; to produce fruit of desired
quality; to select nodes which produce fruitful shoots; to
regulate the number of shoots and hence cluster number and size;
to regulate the vegetative growth of the vine.
Know Your Fruiting Canes. A
cane is a mature one-year-old shoot from the
season. It becomes a cane after periderm formation. This one-year-old shoot is the fruiting cane. All other shoots will
NOT bear fruit.
Time to Prune. In Kentucky,
hold pruning as late as you can to avoid frost damage to the
expanding buds. You can prune your vines in late March or early
April, just before the buds start to swell. The theory behind is
that pruning posed physical harm to the vine so budbreak will be delayed. But you also have to consider your time and the
number of vines to be pruned. Theoretically, pruning can be done
anytime during dormant season. After pruning, it is normal for
vines to "bleed" (running of sap) for a couple days.
Pruning vs. Spur Pruning. A cane bearer generally has
more than 6 countable buds, while a spur is a shorter bearer
with 1 to 3 buds. You need to choose cane or spur or mixed
pruning according to the fruitfulness of your cultivars. A
typical Hybrid has its most fruitful buds at 6th to 12th buds,
so you should think about cane pruning in KY. Vinifera has better
fruitful buds at the cane base, so you can think of spur pruning.
But, one-year-old canes are not so cold hardy, especially at the
top part. I would recommend prune them to longer spurs in
Kentucky. The pruning type depends on your cultivars and
Balanced Pruning. It is the
concept of equating buds retained at pruning with vine
capacity, i.e., to maintain a balance between vegetative growth
and fruit production. The formula is
Basic No. of buds retained for the 1st pound of pruning wood
+ Additional buds for each additional pound of pruning wood.
It is not very popular in commercial vineyards. When apply, you
need average first 5 vines' pruning weight and start from
their. Please note there is a
maximal number of buds retained for a specific
cultivar. The known formulae are: American Grapes:
(30+10, max. 60), Fredonia (40+10,
Niagara (25+10, max. 60), others
try (20+10, max. 50); French Hybrids: small clustered type, Foch and
Leon Millot (20+10, max. 50), medium clustered (10+10, max. 40), large
clustered, Seyval blanc, Chancellor(20+10, max. 45);
(20+20, max. 60). TOP
Pruning for Different Trellis Systems
(Jeff Cox, From Vines to Wines, Sunlight into
Vines and UK Growing
Grapes in Kentucky)
Depends on your training system, you need to develop trunks
The First Couple of Years
Then Prune vines according to your training system
Canopy management is
temporary solution to canopy problems in vineyards. It won't
cure problems in vineyard but serves as "band-aid-viticulture"
practice carried put each growing season.
Shoot Thinning It is
to remove water shoots, which are shoots developed from buds
at the base of spur or old wood. These buds are never
fruitful but count for up to 50% of total shoots produced
and cause shading. The best time to do this is in spring
when shoots are young, about 6 inches long. The criterion is
to leave 5 fruiting shoots per foot.
Trimming It is also called summer pruning,
which is to cut off shoot tips during early summer.
Shoots are normally trimmed to 10-20 nodes in length, depending
on training system and varieties. I do not recommend this
practice unless your vines are very vigorous, since trimming
encourages more lateral shoots to come which makes you come
back and trim them again. Also, late season trimming needs to
Leaf Removal To
remove leaves from the cluster zone. Leaf removal can open
up canopy and increase the exposure of clusters to sunlight
and wind. The disease incidence (Botrytis rot) to bunches
will be reduced and fruit quality of berries will be
improved in return. Also, it makes it easier to harvest, if
you do not do machinery harvesting. Usually only a couple of
leaves will be removed. It is a very cost effective
operation, especially for winemaking. The time to do it is
two weeks before veraison. Also, you can remove old, yellow
leaves inside the canopy. One thing to be careful of leaf
removal is sun burn of clusters. Do not remove too many
leaves and be wise when you remove them--be vine specific.
Cluster Thinning The
removal of flower clusters. Most cultivars will have 2
clusters per shoot. Some cultivars, however, have 3
clusters/shoot. Cluster thinning is to remove the third
cluster, or even the second cluster. Cluster thinning ripens
berries early, especially if you grow late mature cultivars
and have early frost in fall, it also improves fruit quality.
The time to do cluster thinning is before flowering in early