Pruning Grapes

March should be the month to do the major pruning on the grapevines.  It is good to wait until much of the winter is past.  Although we grow varieties that are hardy to 30° below zero there is still a chance for some die back. Even this morning it was near zero outside. The idea is to get it done after the worst of the die-back threat is passed.

There are a lot of decisions connected with pruning grapes. First you must decide if you would rather tramp around in knee-deep snow, or wait a bit and probably end up slogging in the mud. The day turned out pretty nice after a chilly morning and was also pretty calm, so the snow option seemed to be the correct one. The decisions continue throughout the process, with each vine requiring one to decide how it should be pruned; which vine to be left which one to be cut off. Raising grapes is a lot like raising kids; each vine is different and seems to require a bit of a different approach as to how it is shaped and directed. Some vines are more aggressive and this is not bad, but they may need more severe trimming to keep them in line and produce high quality grapes. Some vines need just a clip here and there to shape them into a compliant and fruitful vine. Different varieties all grow differently and require different training systems.  One thing is certain with all grapes and also with kids. If we neglect them and let them run wild, the outcome will not be the best.

Today was a sunny day, and although the snow reflected a long winter, the signs of spring were everywhere. Spring songs of the cardinals and crows were evident and even a rooster pheasant was crowing that he had survived so far, and wanted to let everyone know that he would be open for business in another month or so. Right now we have some of the best cross-country skiing conditions of the whole winter. The days are warming and outside activities are really pretty pleasant. It is a great time to be outdoors pruning grapes or raising kids

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