Crew size, arrival time of crew and weather dictate the time we have to finish pruning during May
We began the final stage of pruning in April and have until the middle of May to complete tying the vines to the fruiting wire. Our deadline date is when we expect the vines to begin “bud break” or “bud burst” (when the buds have drawn enough energy to “push out” the first green leaves of a new growth cycle).
We utilize cane pruning instead of spur pruning. One of the key benefits of cane pruning is that it gives us more flexibility in managing each individual vine. We choose the best 2 canes (about as thick as a pencil or little finger) from last year and then tie them to the horizontal trellis wires for support. Ideally the canes should be growing out from a point as close as possible to the vine trunk, with the buds fairly close together. From each bud will then grow a new cane.
Earlier this spring we had a stretch of warm weather which probably moved up “bud break” by about a week. Once the buds begin “bud break” it is easy to damage the buds during pruning which will result in the potential loss of grape clusters on the vine. And this is why we are pruning in earnest to be finished before “bud break”.