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.
How to Prune Forsythia
Marjorie Peronto: Hello. My name is Marjorie Peronto with the University of Maine CooperativeExtension. Forsythias are easy to grow, but they do require some maintenance. Pruningis the most important chore. Forsythias have a naturally graceful archinggrowth habit, but they can be their own worst enemy. Left unpruned or pruned incorrectly,they will become too large, wild, and unruly. A neglected Forsythia can overwhelm neighboringplants and surroundings and become unhealthy. By doing some maintenance pruning each year,you help keep the plant in bounds, assure
good light penetration and air circulation,and reduce the likelihood of disease. Shrubs that bloom in the early spring suchas Forsythia are usually pruned just after they finish blooming. Forsythias start developingnext year's flower buds in early summer. They carry them through the fall and winter toburst open in early spring. Flower buds are produced in clusters alongthe stems. If we prune a Forsythia in the late winter while it is still dormant, flowerbuds are removed, reducing the upcoming spring flower display.Sometimes when the shrub is overgrown, has gangly branches, or has been neglected foryears, its flower display is not what it could
be. In this case it's worth it to prune itwhen dormant and sacrifice a year of blossoms. When pruning a mature Forsythia, each yearstart by selectively removing one fourth of the oldest stems at ground level. These stemswill have the largest basal diameter. As stems get thicker with age, they rub against oneanother in the interior of the shrub, causing wounds that weaken them and allow diseasepathogens to enter. The oldest stems are also the tallest, soby removing them, you reduce the height of the shrub without changing its natural form.If you cannot get to the base of a large stem because the area is too congested, prune itback it back to within three or four inches
of the ground.In some cases you may purposefully choose to leave a foot or more of a large stem behind.This will encourage new shoots to develop from unseen buds embedded within the stem.Use a pair of loppers or a small, fineâ€‘toothed handsaw for removing large stems.Next, thin out congested branches in the canopy. Thinning is done by cutting a branch backto its point of origin on a main stem. This method is the least conspicuous of all typesof pruning and maintains the plant's natural growth habit. Thinning the canopy should bedone with hand pruners or loppers, depending on branch diameter.Identify and remove any dead, damaged, or
diseased wood that you find. Branches thatare growing inward toward the center of the plant. Branches that are crossing or rubbingother branches, and some of the tallest, vigorously upright growing shoots. Make each cut at thepoint where a branch originates from another stem. Do not leave a stub.Resist the urge to sheer off the top of your Forsythia with hedge clippers. Sheering maybe faster, but branches will respond by putting out excessive dense, brushy growth at thestem tips. When you're finished, you will have a shrubwith stems of various ages growing upward and outward, revealing the natural fountainâ€‘likeform of the plant. You should be able to toss
a football easily through the shrub. The openhabit will light and air into the center of the shrub, stimulating sturdy, new floweringshoots to emerge from the crown and remaining stems for future years.For more information about pruning, visit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension'swebsite. Transcription by CastingWords.