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Pruning The Grape In Eastern America

The inexperienced look on pruning as a difficult operation in
grape-growing. But once a few fundamentals are grasped, grape-pruning
is not difficult. There is much less perplexity in pruning the grape
than in pruning tree-fruits. Pruning follows accepted patterns in
every grape region, and when the pattern is learned the difficulties
are easily overcome. The inexperienced are confused by the array of
"principles," "types," "methods," "systems" and the many technical
terms that enter into discussions of grape-pruning. Some of the
technicalities come from European practices, and others originated in
the infancy of grape-growing in this country when there was great
diversity in pruning. Divested of much that is but jargon, an
inexperienced man can easily learn in a few lessons, from word of
mouth or printed page, how to prune grapes.

The simplicity of pruning has led to slighting the work in commercial
vineyards, by too often trusting it to unskilled hands. Then, too, in
this age of power-propelled tools, pride in hand labor has been left
behind, and few grape-growers now take time and trouble to become
expert in pruning. Simple as the work may seem to those long
accustomed to it, he who wants to put into his pruning painstaking
intelligence and to taste the joy of a task well done finds in this
vineyard operation an ample field for pleasure and for the development
of greater profits. The price to be paid by those who would thus
attempt perfection in pruning the vine is forward vision, the
mechanic's eye, the gardener's touch, patience, and pride in

Simple as pruning is, the pruner soon learns that it is an art in
which perfection is better known in mind than followed in deed. The
theory is easy but there are some stumbling blocks to make its
consummation difficult. It is an art in which rules do not suffice,
for no two vineyards can be pruned alike in amount or method, and
every grape-grower finds his vineyard a proper field for the
gratification of his taste in pruning. Happily, however, enlightened
theory and sound practice are in perfect accord in grape-pruning, so
that specific advice is well founded on governing principles.

One cannot, of course, learn to prune unless he understands the habit
of the grape-vine and is familiar with the terms applied to the
different parts of the vine. As a preliminary to this chapter,
therefore, knowledge of Chapter XVII, in which the structure of the
grape-vine is discussed, is necessary. The next step is to distinguish
between pruning and training.

Next: Pruning And Training Distinguished

Previous: An Experiment In Fertilizing Grapes

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