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The Work Of Pruning

The pruner may take his choice between several styles of hand
pruning-shears with which to do his work. The knife is seldom used
except in summer-pruning, and here, more often, the shoots are broken
out or pinched out. In winter-pruning, the cane is cut an inch or
thereabout beyond the last bud it is desired to leave; otherwise the
bud may die from the drying out of the cane. The canes are usually
allowed to remain tied to the wires until the pruning is done, though
growers who use the Kniffin method of training may cut them loose
before they prune. Two men working together do the work of pruning
best. The more skilled of the two severs the wood from the bearing
vine, leaving just the number of buds desired for the next season's
crop. The less skilled man cuts tendrils and severs the cut canes from
each other so that the prunings may be moved from the vineyard without
trouble by the "stripper."

Not the least of the tasks of pruning is "stripping" the brush and
getting it out of the vineyard. The prunings cling to the trellis with
considerable tenacity and must be pulled loose with a peculiar jerk,
learned by practice, and placed on the ground between the rows.
Stripping is done, usually by cheap labor, at any time after the
pruning until spring, but must not be delayed until growth starts or
the young buds may suffer as the cut wood is torn from the trellis.
The brush is hauled to the end of the row by hand or by horse-power
applied to any one of a dozen devices used in the several grape
regions. One of the best is the device in common use in the Chautauqua
vineyards of western New York. A pole, twelve feet long, four inches
in diameter at the butt and two at the top, is bored with an inch
hole four feet from the butt. A horse is hitched to this pole by a
rope drawn through the hole, and the pole, butt to the ground, is then
pulled between rows, the small end being held in the right hand. The
pole, when skillfully used, collects the brush, which is dumped at the
end of the row by letting the small end fly over towards the horse.
The "go-devil," shown in Fig. 14, is another common device for
collecting prunings.

Next: The Trellis

Previous: Renewing Fruiting Wood

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