Early Summer Vineyard Management

June 29, 2020

July 1 brings a number of early summer vineyard tasks to think about. First, be sure to keep up with your disease management: sanitation, especially in organic vineyards, and sprays as needed. We’re still in that critical window where all or the main diseases (except maybe Phomopsis) are active. See our initial diseases management guide, or the New York guide for details. Also, the material in Cornell professor Katie Gold’s early season disease management recommendations is still relevant.

As for horticulture, there are a number of activities to stay on top of. Petiole samples to assess vine nutrient status may be collected now where vineyards are in bloom, or at veraison. Stick to the same timing in your vineyard if you are going to compare samples year to year. Details here. Keep vines, especially young or struggling ones, watered during this drought. Manage weeds, especially, again, on young vines. Established vines tend to compete better for water and nutrients, but tall weeds growing up into the canopy will increase disease pressure.

Finally, shoots will soon lignify at their bases and be strong enough for combing without breaking them off. The goal, for vines on a high wire cordon system, is to separate each shoot and direct it downward, thus exposing fruit to sunlight and making a more manageable canopy. Once shoots are pointed in the right direction, it’s easy to see where runty secondary or tertiary shoots are in the canopy, and where smaller clusters that are behind in development compared to the main crop are- those can both be removed.

(Retired) Iowa State Extension Specialist Mike White presents a good overview of the concepts and practices behind canopy management in his February 8, 2012 newsletter found here.

There’s a video of some UVM staff doing some (silent) canopy management here.

Ohio State Extension has a nice video here.