Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pruning in the orchard

Yesterday was a glorious day to spend in the orchard, pruning the vines and trees in preparation for the upcoming growing season. With temperatures nearing the 70s, I wore a light jacket but could have hung it on the grape arbor instead.

Last year the professor took charge of the grape vine pruning and did a spectacular job of tying up the vines. Grape production was good. The vines appear to have wintered well. Some of them are over 25 years old, have thick gnarly trunks and tendrils that attach securely to the arbor and to other vines.

I pruned more severely than in the past, leaving only the main trunks and a few branching vines. The Italians, Germans, French prune back to an ugly stump with a knobby top and some of ours have some semblance to those, and an opportunity to sprout new growth and produce as those European vines do. I'm tempted to describe the vines as calligraphy against the green backed orchard hill but they really look more like black chicken scratched lines clinging to the arbor with little white flag ties.

It doesn't matter what they look like since how they produce is more important. Yet it does matter to me, the pruner, when I look at the tidy row and feel satisfaction in time well spent.

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