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Methods Of Training Grapes In Eastern America

The grape-grower takes great liberties with Nature in training his
plants. No other fruit is so completely transformed by the grower's
art from its natural habit of growth. Happily, the grape endures
cutting well, and the pruner may rest assured that he may work his
will in pruning his vines, following to his heart's desire a favorite
method with little fear of seriously injuring his vines. Because of
its accommodation to the desires of man in the disposition of the
vine, there are many methods of training the grape; there being in the
commercial vineyards of eastern America a dozen or more. However, the
differences and similarities are so marked that the several methods
fall into a simple classification which makes conspicuous their chief
features. Thus, all of the methods fall under two chief heads: (1) The
disposition of shoots; (2) the disposition of canes.

The disposition of shoots.

Bearing shoots are disposed of in three ways in training grapes;
shoots upright, shoots drooping, and shoots horizontal. The terms
explain themselves, but the three methods need amplification since
their adoption is not optional with growers but depends on several

Shoots are trained upright in several methods in which two or more
arms or canes are laid to right and left, sometimes horizontally,
sometimes obliquely along or across horizontal wires. As the shoots
grow upward, they are tied to wires above. The upright methods are
supposed to distribute the bearing wood more evenly on the vines and
to insure greater uniformity in the fruit. In the upright methods,
also, the canes and arms are left nearer the ground, which is thought
to be an advantage in small, weak or slow-growing varieties. Delaware,
Catawba, Iona and Diana are examples of varieties thought to grow best
when trained to one of the upright methods.

In the several methods in which the shoots droop, however the canes
may be disposed, the shoots are not tied but are allowed to droop at
will. These methods are comparatively new but are being rapidly
adopted because of several marked advantages. Usually one less wire
can be used in a drooping method than in an upright one; since the
shoots are not tied, much labor is saved in summer tying; the ground
can be tilled with less danger to the vines; and there is less
sun-scalding of the fruit, since the pendant foliage protects the
clusters. Grape-growers generally agree that strong-growing varieties
like Concord, Niagara, Brighton, Diamond and most of the hybrids
between European grapes and native species grow best when the shoots

Shoots are trained horizontally in but one recognized method, the
Hudson Horizontal, to be described in detail later. Since this method
is all but obsolete, there is still less reason for discussing it
here, the expressive name sufficing for present purposes.

Disposition of canes.

There are many recognized methods of disposing of the canes in
training the grape. The chief of these are discussed in the pages that
follow, their names being set down for the present in the
classification that follows.

Next: Classification Of Methods Of Training The Grape In Eastern America

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