Friday, November 30, 2007

Grape vines

Hi Anne,

I live in an area that rarely has frost. In fact last year I never had one. I put in some Zinfandel hybrids a couple of years back (on heat and drought resistant stock) and the last couple of “winters” during any warm spell they take off. Just recently, even though it’s late November, I’ve got one starting to trellis up like crazy (I’d had a couple of weeks of colder weather). I’d like to keep them dormant (or get them dormant) for 3 or 4 months anyway to give them some rest and not waste their energy. My soil is not great so I’m trying to keep them working on the root systems a bit longer. I’ve also had trouble with pruning – losing sap. I melted wax on my cuts and that seemed to help. Usually they take off strongly in February – then stop for a bit and then again in early April but each rootstock seems to be different and they’re all played out by July. Have you any ideas how I can control things a bit? Can I just do weekly pruning of anything green until I’m ready to let them go?

Thanks, Dan

Anne's response:

I would check with your county agricultural extension agent for some help. The NC Cooperative Extension Service also has a web site with their information leaflets. There are a lot of wine grapes being grown in North Carolina but the “Zins” seem to do better in areas where there is cold weather. Any time you prune a plant you will have a problem with new growth starting. Late February is the recommended time for pruning grape vines – and prune them once a year to keep the loss of sap to a minimum. The “bleeding” is always a problem when you prune grapes.

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