Managing excessive vine vigor is one the greatest battles in Eastern viticulture and this problem is exacerbated in seasons with high rainfall and warm spring temperatures. Many vigorous varieties and variety/rootstock combinations are quickly beginning to increase in shoot length. This is a critical time to do some basic canopy management chores, shoot thinning and positioning especially in vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellises with movable or static catch wires. Critical timing of positioning canes for Smart Dyson and Scott Henry is also close depending on the variety and location.
Some may question the importance or necessity to shoot thin, contesting that they might not have large enough crop if they thin down to the suggested level of shoots. Shoot thinning down to the recommended three to five shoots per linear foot of trellis for VSP is critical for both pest management and optimal fruit quality.
If your goal is fully ripened, disease free, high quality fruit, this is a critical management practice that needs to be accomplished very soon.
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Timely Viticulture is designed to give those in the Maryland grape industry a timely reminder on procedures or topics they should be considering in the vineyard. To view other topics you can go to the Timely Viticulture page that is located on the Grapes and Fruit website.