Winter pruning plays an important role in vineyard management, as it influences the vegetative activity of the vine and conditions its production. A well-executed pruning intervention can shape the plant, make it more resistant and determine the quantity and quality of its fruits.
Vine pruning generally includes both the cut of the branches and an action on the shoots, to obtain a specific form of vine planting. The chosen kind of planting, the vine variety, the soil type and the climatic conditions of the area determine the pruning methods and times.
How shall vines be pruned?
Pruning is generally carried out in the cold months of the year, preferably between January and February. By performing it in this period, it is possible to avoid the leakage of sap from the cuts, which represents a serious loss for the plant. To further reduce this problem, it is better to prune during the waning phase of the moon, when the circulation of the sap is limited.
Vine generally produces its bunches on one-year-old branches, therefore pruning operations aim at identifying and eliminating the old ones, possibly excluding the few that appear more vigorous (at most 1 or 2).
Vine is usually pruned at the beginning or during the second year and at the beginning of the third. In the third year, the type of operations to be performed changes according to the kind of breeding adopted: in the spurred cordon forms no cuts are carried out, but the branch is positioned on the horizontal wire, while in the other types of breeding, the excessively vigorous apical shoots are eliminated and then the noble sprouts, born from the buds below the wire, are given their position.
Vine pruning methods
Vine pruning can be performed substantially according to two different systems, namely the permanent cordon and the one-year branch one.
In the case of permanent cordon cultivation systems, it is essential to pay particular attention to the integrity of the vegetative centers of the plant, since eliminating or damaging the buds precludes the possibility of generating shoots. The strategy is to make cuts at the right distance from the permanent cordon, eliminating the branches not chosen as noble sprouts, but leaving a stump that safeguards the health of the crown buds at the base of the branch. Generally, there is a tendency to leave a part of the branch with a length equal to three times the diameter of the pruned one.
Furthermore, cuts of branches that are more than two years old should be avoided for two reasons: they could create infections in the wood and the buds of the crown could not germinate, damaging the vitality of the vegetative center of the plant. It is fundamental to work carefully in the side-shoot removing phase is essential. At least one shoot generated by the crown buds must be left and the growth in height of the vegetative center limited.
It is useful to leave a spur at the end of the permanent cordon, from which a shoot can grow. Its role is to attract the lymphatic flow along the entire length of the cordon.
On the other hand, in case of a one-year branch planting system, pruning operations aim at reaching three objectives. The first is the removal of the branch which had started the productive phase. The second is the trimming of the branch which has been chosen as noble sprout for the current year. The third is the selection of a spur from which to obtain two different shoots, one to be stretched on the wire and one to be pruned, always trying to avoid the growth of the vine in height.
The most suitable pruning tools
To obtain the desired effects on the health of the plant and on its grape production, it is essential that pruning is carried out in a professional manner. This means focusing on the needs of the plant, but also on the choice of vineyard pruning tools.
Constant listening to the needs of winemakers is what has allowed Campagnola to design shears and chain pruners that are truly functional for field activities. The PROFESSIONAL Line and the GREEN Line by Campagnola have specifically designed tools to obtain an effective vine pruning. They combine characteristics such as handiness and use comfort with an exceptional cutting capacity.
In our catalogs you can easily find the model that best suits your needs, so that you can face the coming pruning season relying on the experience of Campagnola, consolidated over more than six decades and always kept alive by the desire to look at the future of this sector.