What pruning system is the most suitable?
The conduction system in which the vine is pruned during its first years of life is crucial, since it will largely determine the morphology and future architecture of the plant and will control the production of the vineyard.
In addition, the plant conduction system is not usually modified throughout the useful life of the vineyard, so it is advisable to carefully analyze the characteristics of each system to choose the one that meets our production needs.
In general, the conduction system must seek the maximum exposure of the leaf surface (to optimize its photosynthetic activity) while maintaining a low vegetative density that achieves adequate aeration .
Likewise, a good microclimate of the bunches must be sought, in order to optimize their ripening and avoid unwanted rotting (eg: botrytis) (Tardáguila 2009, Yuste, 2001).
What is glass pruning?
In this post we will focus on the glass conduction system, typical of several Mediterranean areas and other regions such as the Loire Valley and Beaujolais, and one of the most representative of traditional Spanish wine-growing areas, such as La Mancha and The Rioja.
Vase pruning gives rise to a low bearing system consisting of a short trunk and a variable number of arms (usually three or four) arranged radially and that do not have any type of external mechanical support, which makes the plant presents a free, natural and globose arrangement in the form of a bush (Yuste, 2001) (Figure 1).
Advantages and disadvantages of this vine conduction system:
This system presents a series of advantages and disadvantages when compared with other driving systems (Tardáguila 2009), among which it is worth noting:
Advantages of glass pruning:
– It is considered the simplest, easiest and most natural driving system.
– As it does not need artificial support structures, it is the one with the lowest implantation and maintenance cost.
– It is the best integrated system in the landscape.
Disadvantages of glass pruning:
– The main problem with this system is that it does not allow the mechanization of the numerous tasks that are carried out in the vineyard, including the harvest.
– In addition, the lower exposure of the clusters (compared to trellis systems) can generate rotting problems (eg: botrytis), also favored by the proximity of the clusters to the vineyard floor in this conduction system.
How is a glass vine formed?
According to Reynier (2012), to form a glass vine, the following is done (Figure 2):
– Year of planting: a branch is preserved that will be pruned to two buds.
– Second year of pruning: the two buds left in the first year will have originated two shoots. If the vine is vigorous, these two shoots will have to be pruned to two buds each. This will lead to four shoots the following year. If, on the other hand, the vine is weak, only one pruned to two buds will be kept, which will generate two shoots the third year.
– Third year of pruning: if the strain has four shoots (vigorous strain), three well arranged must be selected and pruned to two buds. This will produce six shoots in the fourth year. In the event that the strain has only two shoots (weak strain), both should be conserved, pruning them equally to two buds to generate four shoots for the following year.
– Fourth year of pruning: if the vine has six shoots (vigorous vine), four well distributed in the space of the plant will be chosen and two buds will be pruned. If the strain has four shoots (weak strain), three will be chosen and two buds will be pruned. In both cases, the selected shoots will give rise to the skeleton of the strain. From here on, pruning will continue year after year, leaving one thumb on each arm.
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