Rising sap

Another Plumpton College vineyard practical day, again at Rock Lodge.
Chilly morning for the time of year (7C?) but warmer in the afternoon; the sun didn’t make a show through the slight mistiness though it threatened. The vines showed some wooliness of bud, but at a very very early stage, and as I pruned there was definitely some evidence of rising sap as the vines bled a little from the cuts, this being the first time I’ve seen this so far this year.
The whole morning was spent pruning seyval which is trellised on lyre and cordon/spur pruned. This was my first proper session spur-pruning. Lots of the rules are common with cane pruning: pruning to keeping the canopy open (making sure growing spur have about 15cm between them); trying to keep the pruned canes close to the vine (i.e. no spurs on spurs on spurs etc if possible); and trying not to select growth from underneath (prune it out). Kevin told us the process should really be done with a charge count in the same way as cane pruning (see earlier post), then this charge count is divided by the number of growing points (spurs) and that’s the number of buds per spur to leave. Simple enough. However we were instructed to leave simply and uniformly 3 buds per spur since there will be a later pass through the vineyard post-bud-burst where more shoot selection will be done. I can see why this approach is taken. From bookwork I know that one of the problems with cane pruning is that some of the growing points just don’t grow, and I saw this in action today since lots of the growing points revealed dead canes as I pruned them. These vines are old and not in the best shape. The lyre trellising works well, apparently, but I’m not sure how much longer these old vines will last.
The afternoon brought a little more pruning and a mixture of trellis work. This included some knocking in some more Fenox anchors, fixing and tightening some fruiting and foliage wires, all of which I’ve described before.
I’m still very much enjoying these practical sessions and getting a lot of learning out of them. The group’s a good one too and there’s a growing feeling of togetherness in the Wednesday practical group.

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