Sunday, May 24, 2009

Suckering

We working on our weed control in the vineyard these days. We have had a nice spring with some good rain events. The heat has made the shoots really take off, and with that the weeds are going like gangbusters. Remember what weeds are: they're just plants that aren't growing in the places we want them to.

A couple well-timed, soft herbicide applications will make it so our vines aren't competing for essential nitrogen and nutrients. Our newly planted vines will appreciate the help as well. We try to make as few applications of herbicide as we possibly can. We're running a vineyard here, not a golf course. There needs to be a balance to everything, and monocultures aren't sustainable.

There are some folks who do cover crops right under their vines to control vigor. These are usually some types of grasses, and they're used in vineyards where there is an over-abundance of nutrition for the vines. This is not something we struggle with at Allegro. Sometimes we struggle with getting the vines just to survive.

In order to apply our herbicide, we usually do what's called suckering. It's not a fun task. Back-breaking is more like it. It involves removing all the shoots that are budding out along the trunks of the vines. Some vines will throw over a dozen shoots out, and these need to be removed before we spray. If you've ever done one thousand deep kneebends in a day, then you know what it's like. Any volunteers?

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