Post and strut lugging

Loaded and ready to go

A lot of lugging posts around at Rock Lodge for today’s vineyard diary.

Richard and Mark (of Rathfinny fame) hard at work lugging posts whilst it's my turn in the tractor

Loaded and ready to go

Rock Lodge has seen significant planting in recent years and there’s still a lot of trellis work to do. Although I helped knock in close to 200 wooden end posts in the last few months, there’s still lots to do. Most of the morning today was taken up with loading and unloading trailers with wooden end posts and intermediates and laying them out around the vineyard. (Oh, we slipped a little pruning in there too – trying to change a few poor rows from spur/cordon to cane, but it was not too successful nor rewarding due to poor vine growth.)

The afternoon was more educational, with some anchor work. First we screwed in some screw anchors. These are good for soft, unobstructed ground such as the lower area in the back Rock Lodge field. With a bit of muscle and a lever they screw in easily. U-nails are then put onto the inside of the end-post, one near the top and the other at hip height. The anchor wire (we used braided) attaches through both nails and the anchor so there is a pull at 2 levels of the post, else when the fruiting wires are fixed and tightened there would be a tendency for the post to snap.

Fenox anchor with braided wire tie-back with double attachment point

We then tried some Fenox anchors which are smooth metal sticks with twisted wires inside. These are hammered into the ground and then hammered some more (against a ground-plate) so the wires splay out the bottom and fix the anchor into the ground. The wire work is similar for both anchor types. Also, for both anchor types the anchors should be put in the same line as the pull from the wire, i.e. lined up with the top of the post (intuition might suggest putting the anchors in at a 45 degree angle leaning away from the post but this would not work since over time the anchors would walk through the ground towards the post under tension).

Lastly we did another type of end-post construction using struts. These are useful when alley width is short, and they make slightly more efficient use of the land. A hole is dug on the vine-ward side of the end-post, about 1.2m into the row. A wooden “foot” / “dead man” is put horizontally into the hole and bashed soundly. A stout post, similar to and end post but shorter, is then put against the end post, leaning at 45 degrees and resting on the foot. A notch is cut in the end-post against which the strut rests, and after a bit of juggling the hole is filled in. We may go along later to nail the structs to the end-posts to further secure them. This structure becomes tight and sound once the fruiting wires are fixed and tightened.

End-post with wooden stay. First, dig a hole.

End-post with wooden stay. Showing "foot" and diagonal strut.

End-post with strut on inside to strengthen the construction as wires pull it towards row.

That’s it. A slightly bitty day, but again I learned a lot. Oh – the weather and vine conditions…. about 11C and fair (I’ve been lucky with the weather in the Wednesday sessions so far!). The vines are still dormant, and I looked for signs of slight bud swelling and bud woolliness which I saw at Ditchling last week and saw none. I am surprised since Rock Lodge is south facing and Ditchling slightly north facing so I would have expected the advancement of development to be the other way around. We’ll see how this pans out come bud burst over the next few months.

Metal ones sure are easier to manage and install

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Vineyard diary. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s