March 28, 2012 – Preparing the vineyard for spring

Its that time again. The buds are popping, the leaves are growing, and the weeds must now go!

Every winter we let the weeds take hold wherever they like. I don’t like using any more chemicals than I absolutely have too. This also helps the critters in the vineyard thrive. There is a complete Eco-system out there and I try to preserve it as much as I can. But that means extra work in the vineyard.

I do my spring preparation in stages. The first stage is mowing the grass and weeds that have been growing there since winter. As you can see, they can get pretty tall. Here you can see the trail that the mower has left in its wake.

Stage 2 – After the rows have been mowed, Its time to clear out the weeds under the trellis wire where the mower cant reach. This involves takeing a weed-eater and going down the rows and getting close but not touching the vines. Here I recommend using the Pivotrim weedeater head. This will not harm the vines if you accidently hit them, but it might take off a little bark. The very young vines are the only ones that really need extra care as their shoots are so tender that even this nice little gadget can cut them in half. In these two pictures, you can see the before and after weed-eating.

Stage 3 – Cut the little suckers off. Now, I go by each vine and cut off all of the sucker shoots from the ground up to the cordon wire. This is a very quick process as the shoots are so new that you can just pinch them off with your fingers. Again I show a before and after. If you look close in the first picture, you can see the little green shoots near the ground. Snip Snip!!!

Finally the last stage is round-up ™. This is where I go back down the rows and spray herbicide to prevent the weeds from growing during the growing season. This usually will last 2 months before I need to spray it again. It usually takes 2 applications during the growing season. Then I let the weeds grow back as much as they like, til its time to repeat the process next summer.

I’ll take a pic of the round-up application and what it looks like after the grass has died under the irrigation wire.

Doing it this way, I limit the amount of sprays that I have to apply, and it also lets critters thrive during the late summer/winter/early spring. More critters = happy Eco-system.


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