Umbrella Kniffin System for Growing Grapes
David Handley: I'm David Handley, with theUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension, and we're here to talk about pruning grapes.Very simple system for farnorthern production. Here in Maine, we need to protect the vinesas best we can through the winter, but at the same time try to get enough light andexposure to the canes that we're going to get good fruit set, and good fruit quality. One of the systems you can use for labruscatype or concord type grapes, which are the ones that do best here in Maine, which isthe umbrella kniffin. As opposed to the four arm kniffin, the umbrella kniffin puts allof its canes up at the top, or the first year
growth that's going to fruit. What we're talking about with cane growthhere is one yearold growth that has a chocolate brown color, and nice smooth bark with budson it. We're going to be saving four canes, plus the permanent trunk, to give us all ofour fruiting structure. Everything else is going to be coming off of here, and that includesanything that fruited last year. You can tell the two yearold canes, or thecanes that fruited last year, because they'll be thicker, and they'll have gray, peelingbark. All of these are going to come off, and we're going to save the one yearold canewith the chocolate brown color, and the smooth
bark. The first step in pruning is to look at ourpermanent trunk and remove all of the two yearold growth, the growth that fruited lastyear, saving a few canes that we'll be using for fruiting this year. Our first step isto cut some of these off, looking at that older bark there. We just cut that out, getit right out of there. This will open up the planting, and that twoyearold wood is not going to fruit. Unless we take it out, we'll find that our fruitingwood gets further and further away from the trunk. Part of the reason we're pruning isto keep that fruiting wood concentrated right
near the trunk. With the umbrella kniffin, which is what we'repruning to here, we're only going to maintain four of those fruiting canes. We want themall concentrated near the top of the trunk, or the top wire on our twowire trellis. We'regoing to take each of the canes that remain behind. As you can see here, here's my nicefruiting cane, smooth bark. All these are buds that are going to breakand give us long, green shoots that will have bunches of grapes on them. We're going todrape them over the top wire, and then we're going to attach them to the bottom wire, togive you that kind of quot;umbrellaquot; look, thus
the name of the system called the quot;umbrellakniffin.quot; Then we're going to cut off the ends of thecanes, so that there's only about 10 buds on each one. We just count those from thetrunk. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. If I need to leave one ortwo on there to make it reach the bottom wire, that's fine. I'll just go to where I can attachthis to the bottom wire, like that. I need two for the other side, to completeour umbrella. You can see this leaves me with several other fruiting canes, and I need tosave some of those as well, but they don't need to be as long. What I'm calling theseare quot;renewal spurs,quot; because we need the buds
from these shoots to come out and give uscane that we'll be able to put up on the wire next year. For every fruiting cane that I'm leaving behind,I also need to cut some renewal cane, or renewal spurs, to provide us with fruiting wood fornext year. I just cut these back to one or two buds, and if they're not where I wantthem I can cut them off completely. But for every fruiting cane, I need to leave at leastone renewal spur. I tend to leave a couple of extra renewalspurs here in Maine, because I'm very sensitive to the fact that I'm likely to get winterinjury almost every year.
Blueberries pears Central Texas Jim Kamas Central Texas Gardener
Hi, I'm Jim Kamas. Our question of the weekis can I grow blueberries in Central Texasé Blueberries are one of the most difficultcrops to grow with our soil and water here. Blueberries, most species, were evolved insouth eastern United States or in other parts of North America where the soils are quiteacid. Blueberries like a soil pH between a 4.5 and 5 and that's simply not what wehave here. And the reason why that is important is because blueberries are one of the fewplants that have no root hairs. They're entirely dependent on a mycorrhizal affiliationwith a fungus that infects the plant that actually benefits both organisms. The blueberryplant feeds the fungus, and the fungus acts
as the root hairs and helps in the absorptionof water and nutrients. So when you plant blueberries in our soil and use our waterthe mycorrhizal fungi simply die and the blueberry plant will show you every single nutritiondeficiency known to plantkind. Again, blueberries like high organic matter, they like acid soils,they cannot tolerate water that has calcium or sodium in it. So if you really want togrow blueberries there are ways to get around this. You can probably do them best in a container.The ideal medium for blueberries is half sand half peat moss. The pH of peat is between5 and 5.5, and the high organic matter is perfect for the growth of these mycorrhizalfungi. You don't really need to worry about
inoculating these plants. They come inoculatedfrom the nursery, you simply want to create an environment where they will survive. Theother thing that's going to be a necessity is the collection and use of solely rain water.Using city water that is high in calcium will simply kill the mycorrhizal fungi and theblueberry plant won't survive. Our plant of the week are pears. The questionwe commonly get is what varieties can we grow in different parts of the state. Now if you'regrowing in the eastern part of the state, over near Beaumont where you get high rainfall, the fire blight tolerance is going to be absolutely essential. So if you're growingin central Texas you can get away with less
fire blight tolerance and higher fruit quality.In the eastern part of the state, thing like Keiffer, Maxine, and Moonglow are probablythe ideal varieties. Whereas in central Texas Ayers,Warren, and LaConte are probably higherquality and you don't need to worry as much about fire blight. We also get questions likedo I need to worry about chill hours with pears. Most pears adapted to the southernpart of the United States are relatively low chilling. 450 to 500 hours is plenty. So weget plenty of chilling in most of our areas. Because they are a little slow to bloom, werarely get problems with spring frost. The other question is do I need another pear forpollination. The answer is yes. Two pears
that bloom at the same time are ideal forfruit set. We'd love to hear from you. Head on overto klructg to send us your questions and pictures from your garden.
Fruit trees Central Texas Gardener
gt;gt; You can find out more about the Lady BirdJohnson adopt a gardens at townlake trail of lights .Joining me now is drew Demler. Welcome back to Central Texas gardener.Drew and I will be visiting about fruit trees for Central Texas that can grow in tight spaces.Drew is a fruit tree expert and also one of the creators of blue collared gardeners .And as I said, it's a pleasure to have you back on the program.gt;gt; Thank you. It's been awhile.I'm glad to be back. gt;gt; Well, growing your own food is one of themost popular topics in gardening right now.
Everybody seems to be on that.They really want to be able to say that they've grown their own produce or vegetables, whathave you. Fruit trees there are a lot of well adaptedvarieties here, but they take up a lot of space for the most part.gt;gt; They can. We've talked about PEARS and certain othervarieties that can get really, really large. And I know with today, especially in the newerhouses and in the urban areas, the homes tend to be smaller and the lot sizes definitelytend to be smaller. So a lot of people are looking for somethingthat can fit into those smaller spaces.
gt;gt; Right.That's what we'll be focusing on today. And I guess a good place to start is justto talk about the availability of fruit trees generally.Because at this time of year in January is when the nurseries really tend to load up.Before we start talking about the varieties of fruit trees, let's talk about what peoplewill see in the nurseries. Most of the fruit trees come in bare root,righté gt;gt; You will have two choices, container growntrees that are available mostly throughout the year and especially this year, this timeof year, January, in the wintertime, is when
you find your bare root stock.It's a great way to start a tree. Typically they're less expensive.And you usually have a lot better selection of varieties to choose from with the bareroots. gt;gt; Right.And that's what the nurseries load up with. gt;gt; That's right, that's right.And they're just as easy to plant. A lot of people get confused by it becauseyou don't see them the rest of the year. It's really just a defined period of timein winter when they're available. They're very easy to plant.You just want to make sure when you do plant
them, number one, it's best to plant themwhen they're still dormant, when there's no leaves on them.And when you do plant them you want to make sure that you water them in really good andmake sure that you pack the soil in down around all those loose roots and don't leave anyair pocket. Other than that it's very similar to plantingany other type of tree and they should go on ahead and grow just great for you.gt;gt; Okay. So don't be afraid of the bare roots.gt;gt; Don't be. gt;gt; Don't buy them late in the season.gt;gt; That's right.
You definitely want to get to them when theleaves are still off, when they're good and dormant and they're sleeping.That's when you want to plant them. gt;gt; Okay.So that's what folks will find. Let's talk about varieties.One of the groups or varieties of fruit that you recommend that you can find some dwarfsare apples, which surprises me. gt;gt; That's right.You don't typically think of Central Texas being good apple growing country.We still think of it as places like New York, Michigan, Washington state, but you can growgood apples here.