When harvest has finished, everything is clean and tidy again, when the days get shorter and shorter and the leaves fall it’s time to start pruning. One of the most challenging and wonderful jobs.
For every vine a bunch of small decisions have to be made: “Does it make sense to leave this spur so it develops into an arm becoming part of the crown? Or is it too low? But the crown is too high already so maybe yes? Is this sucker strong enough to become a new stem? Is that vine too weak for a cane, maybe just two spurs? Can I provoke a sleeping bud to break when I don’t give the plant a cane? Or will I end up with thumb-thick juggernaut shoots? Oh and this bullshit-spur from last year has to be cut off.”
Pruning is being the architect of the plant. Every vine has a plan and decisions made often will have consequences for years if not for the rest of the vine’s life. And all the decision-making has to happen subconsciously, otherwise there is no flow. Rarely do I pause for a moment when the plant has grown particularly weird, when I get excited about a flooring calendula covered in snow – or a wire breaks.
Moments of satisfaction arise when an old fucked-up vine can be renewed. When we left a good sucker in spring, took care of it during the season, tied it the winter after, green-pruned it correctly next spring and now it’s ready to replace the old trunk.
Here we ended up one level too high on the left but still being below the wire we’re goin g to be alright.
A few cuts later there is a spur left and right to develop a crown over the next years and a cane sitting at the top for some 2021 shoots to be cut off next winter. The old trunk where the sap had to squeeze through several bottlenecks can retired with the chainsaw.