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.

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