Four Arm Kniffin System for Growing Grapes
David Handley: I'm David Handley, vegetableand small fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Today we'regoing to be talking about a simple system for pruning hardy grapes here in Maine. The pruning system I like to use is very simple.It keeps the plant open, so it gets light in the summer time, but it also protects theplant a little bit in the winter. This system works best with concord type or labrusca typegrapes, which are the grapes that tend to grow best in Maine. There's really a couple of systems that willwork well for labrusca type grapes. The first
one I want to talk about is the four arm kniffin,and that's what we're going to prune first. The four arm kniffin consists of a perennialtrunk, which goes from the ground right up to a top wire, which is set at about fivefeet. Coming off of this trunk, we will have four arms, or canes, oneyear old growth.Two on the top wire, running each side of the top wire, and two on a lower wire. Thislower wire should be set at about two and a half feet off the ground. Every year, we're going to come in and pruneit so we continue to have a perennial trunk, but only four one yearold trunks to producethe fruit.
Here is our permanent trunk. You can see here,this is a cane from last year. Two yearold cane, this was our fruiting cane last summer,and you can see the difference. Here's this year's cane, that nice chocolate brown colorand smooth bark, and here we go with the older cane, the two yearold cane. The bark is startingto peel, and has more of a gray look to it, so we know that this particular shoot isn'tgoing to fruit again. It's the one yearold shoots that come off it that will fruit. This is going to get pruned out, so that wecan keep our fruiting wood closer to the trunk. We'll just take that back to a good fruitingshoot, and we'll start to cut it out. This
is where it gets fun. We need to wrestle thisout of the trellis, and of course, all these little tendrils have tied it up and aroundmost of the growth that's there. It takes a little bit of cutting, but be careful notto break the fruiting canes that you want to leave behind. Pull it off, and that will open the plantingup so we can see what we have left for good fruiting wood for this year. We've taken offthe four fruiting canes that we left last year, and you can see pretty much all that'sleft, at this point, is the green shoots from last year, that will provide us with goodfruit for this year.
Now we need to choose which four we want toput up. We're going to have four canes. One, two, three, four. Two for the lower wire,two for the upper wire, each heading off in different directions. What I want to look for in this case is canethat's got this nice chocolate brown color, and is about 38 of an inch in diameter. Aboutthe width of your little finger. If it's thinner than that, if it's very weak, it won't producegood fruit. Thin stuff like this, less than 38 of an inch in diameter, we'll just cutthat right out. Here we've got one that's going to go in thisdirection, that looks very nice. I'm going
to count, remember we want about 10 buds onit, so we'll count our buds. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. ThenI just cut out beyond that, because the weaker stuff at the very end isn't going to producevery good fruit. I have my four arms, but you can see I stillhave some leftover canes. What I'm going to use these for are what we call quot;renewal spurs.quot;I'm going to cut these back so that they just have one or two buds on them. What I'm goingto use these buds for, the green shoots that will emerge from these buds and grow out,will be the canes that I'll be putting on the wire next year for fruiting. We call thesequot;renewal spurs.quot;
Home Vineyard Growing Wine Grapes at Home
Hello and welcome to my home vineyard Let's get a lay of the land. As you can see thisis just a simple side yard it's got about 55 feet of space long twentysix feet of space wide we elected to go with twenty twofoot long rows northsouth facing uh. the rows are spaced about five feet apartto give us ample space for the vines to grow
and for us to manage and walk through we are planting about four plants per row to give it plenty of space to spread out and grow for the rows, we used uh. just simple fenceposts these are eightfoot fence post sunk about threefeet deep we tried to go about two feet deep butit wasn't uh. it just simply wasn't stable enough so we went that extra foot for stability
the wire is fourteen gauge wire uh. we elected to go with the verticaltrellising partly because it was easier and partlybecause uh. the north south facing rows, it allow it to get sun at all hours of the day uh. we have a drip irrigation linesran along the bottom we will be using half gallon per hour drips two per plant that allows us to adjust the water
water flow and manage the irrigation a littleeasier than if we used a heavier flow we'll actually be planting syrah grapes because we tend to be in a warmer, drier climateduring the summer doing something like pinot noirwould require greater cooler temperatures. that sort of thing that's our vineyard. We'll be planting the grapes nextweek and we'll come back then.
Pruning grape vines in Minnesota
gt;gt;TOM VAN DER LINDEN: It's spring in Minnesota,a great time to prune grape vines. Proper
pruning of grape vines means better grapes.And better grapes mean better wine. We'll cover basic pruning for a northern climate.For details on how to prune for your climate, check with your state university extension. Year one, we take the initial shoot and wetrain it into a trunk. Year two, we pick two healthy shoots and we train them to our trellis.We'll take the two healthiest shoots and train them on the trellis to form a cordon. We'llprune off the other shoots leaving just the trunk and the cordons. To review quickly,our first shoot we train into a trunk in year one, then in year two we take our two bestshoots and we train them to the trellis to
make cordons. Year three, the trunk of our vine is gainingstrength and circumference. We have cordons that are now trained to a trellis and offeach cordon we have new shoots. Toast yourself, you've learned three new terms.We have trunk, cordon and shoot. Now we'll learn three new terms, and then we'll moveon. The top of a trunk where it stops is calledthe head of the vine, and this vineyard for this particular grape the head is about fourfeet off the ground. You'll see vineyards where the head is higher or lower dependingon the use of the grape, the kind of trellis they're using. So it'll be okay to have differentheights.
In spring, a new green shoot grows from ourcordon. And now after the leaves have fallen in the fall, the shoot becomes a cane. Forspring pruning, we're going to take last year's cane, and when we clip it again, it will becomea spur. Working on a little older vine, here's thehead and the nice, thick trunk. We have a cane, and then a spur, and then a cane, andthen a spur. Don't worry, you'll soon get the hang of it. Taking a closeup look, we have the cordonhere, and we have a shoot from last year coming off and we need to shorten the shoot now inspring to make a spur. so that we can control
our fruit load. Let's count buds: we havea bud here, we have a bud here, we have a bud here, and we have a bud here, and so forth.On some varieties, this bud close to the cordon is not fruitful so we won't count those buds.We'll count first a bud here and a bud here and make our cut out here. In other varietieswe will need to count this bud as one, two, and we'll make our cut here. Whatever youdo, you'll want to keep good records so when you go back into your vineyard you can seehow the fruit responded to your pruning. So let's count the buds on this cane. We haveone, two, three buds, and we're looking for two. So we have one bud, two buds, and weclip there.
We need to prune this vine to control boththe fruit load and the sun exposure. It's important in a northern climate to get goodsun exposure on your grapes so that they ripen fully. This is a Frontenac vine that's growingand the cordons are growing along the upper trellis wire. So let's estimate the fruitload on this particular vine. We have seven fruiting spurs on each cordon, and each spurhas two buds. Now each bud will produce two clusters of grapes. We can look up the grapevariety we're growing and we can find out what an average cluster will weigh. In thiscase, they will weigh about four ounces. First, simply convert pounds of grapes toounces. Next, divide number of ounces by the number