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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