Vine pruning

Vineyard pruning: when and why

The vine, without pruning, would be an unproductive climbing plant and inextricably wrapped around a stem in a vain attempt to reach the sun. This is why the hand of man is essential for the plant to become fertile and begin to produce the clusters. The pruning of the vineyard, of any kind of farming, apart from a few small exceptions, must generally be carried out in winter. It is in the cold season, in fact, that the vines go to vegetative rest, lose their foliage and remain naked as veterans injured by the frost. Pruning will have to act on the parts most damaged due to the climate, especially when it comes to young vines that will be cut several times during the second year of life to condition their growth and shape. The older vines, on the other hand, can also be pruned close to the quiescent phase,

Vine pruning: the Guyot method

To understand what type of pruning to carry out, first of all we need to know what form of vine cultivation we have in front of us. This step is fundamental because it is the very conformation of the plant, of how the soil was inserted and what it is tied to, which indicates where to cut and how to do it. Among the farms and consequently the most widespread vineyard pruning methods in the world there is certainly the Guyot, used for the most commercial and large-scale vines and grown outdoors. Guyot is a technique with renewal shoot. This means that there are several shoots cut in different lengths and many of these will become fruiting heads or will originate buds from which the clusters will be born. To understand how to proceed in this case it is useful to apply the rule of the past, present and future of the vine.

Vineyard pruning: the spurred cordon method

The spurred cordon vine pruning method is also very common and is generally used for more refined vines grown in particularly fertile soils suitable for the production of vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. While in the case of the Guyot breeding the plant develops in height and its pruning is called long, in the spurred cordon we have a short pruning and a vine that has a main stock with very small shoots, spurs on which few buds will be left. In the case of the spurred cordon it is always the same main shoot that bears fruit thanks to the basal buds. This type of pruning is very easy to teach as it is drastic and it is super easy to spot the main stump. However, it is not recommended for pruning vineyards with poor fertility as few buds are selected and there is a risk of too poor production. Another drawback in using this system can derive from the climate. By focusing on a single strain for the production of the bunches, you can risk losing the whole crop, damaged because it is too exposed and overloaded.

Vineyard pruning: other methods

In addition to the more popular methods just described, there are many others that are worth mentioning. There is, for example, the double Guyot with two fruit heads and as many spurs that branch off from the vine in both directions. Then there are very particular techniques present only in some specific areas, such as tree pruning which is carried out in very arid geographical areas such as Sicily. The vineyards where the famous Zibibbo is produced in Pantelleria all have this shape. The advantage in this case lies in the size of the plants which remain very small and can be planted very close together. However, the harvest is generally very poor. Another vineyard pruning technique, limited to a few selected areas, is the awning, typical of southern Italy and widespread especially in Puglia.

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