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Other Methods Of Training The Vine

There are many other systems in vogue among vine-dressers in Germany
and France, but as our native grapes are so much stronger in growth,
and are in this climate so much more subject to mildew and rot, I think
these methods, upon the whole, but poorly adapted to the wants of our
native grapes, however judicious they may be there. I will only mention
a few of them here; one because it is to a great extent followed in
Mexico and California, and seems to suit that dry climate and arid soil
very well; and the other, because it will often serve as a pretty
border to beds in gardens. The first is the so-called buck or stool
method of training. The vine is made to form its head--_i.e._, the part
from which the branches start--about a foot above the ground, and all
the young shoots are allowed to grow, but summer-pruned or checked just
beyond the last bunch of grapes. The next spring all of the young
shoots are cut back to two eyes, and this system of "spurring in" is
kept up, and the vine will in time present the appearance of a bush or
miniature tree, producing all its fruit within a foot from the head,
and without further support than its own stem. Very old vines trained
in this manner often have twenty to twenty-five spurs, and present,
with their fruit all hanging in masses around the main trunk, a
pleasing but rather odd aspect. This method could not be applied here
with any chance of success only to those varieties which are slow
growers, and at the same time very hardy. The Delaware would perhaps be
the most suitable of all varieties I know for a trial of this method;
such strong growers as the Concord and Norton's Virginia could never be
kept within the proper bounds, and it would be useless to try it on
them. It might be of advantage on poor soil, where there is at the same
time a scarcity of timber. Figure 17 shows an old vine pruned after
this method.

The other method of dwarfing the grape is practiced to make a pretty
border along walks in gardens, and is as follows: Plant your vines
about eight feet apart; treat them the first season as in common
vineyard planting, but at the end of the first season cut back to two
eyes. Now provide posts, three to three and a half feet long; drive
them into the ground about eighteen inches to two feet, which can be
easily done if they are pointed at one end, and nail a lath on top of
them. This is your trellis for the vines, and should be about eighteen
inches above the ground when ready. Now allow both shoots which will
start from the two buds to grow unchecked; and when they have grown
above the trellis, tie one down to the right, the other to the left,
allowing them to ramble at will along it. The next fall they are each
cut back to the proper length, to meet the next vine, and in spring
tied firmly to the lath, as shown in Figure 18. When the young shoots
appear, all below the trellis are rubbed off, but all those above the
trellis are summer-pruned or pinched immediately beyond the last bunch
of grapes, as in vineyard culture, and the trellis, with its garland of
fruit, will present a very pretty appearance throughout the summer. In
the fall all of these shoots are pruned to one bud, from which will
grow the fruit-bearing shoot for the next season, as shown in Figure
19; and the same treatment is repeated during the summer and fall.

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Previous: Training The Vines On Arbors And Walls

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