A successful grape season depends on you and your crew’s preparation. You must have a top-to-bottom plan for your vineyard so it can thrive during the upcoming season. Planning ahead for all vineyard sprays, fertilization and how you will manage the floor of your vineyard will ensure that you will complete all of your goals on time. A few essential tasks must be done before bud burst in order to keep your vineyard management on track for the season.
Below are the top four essential vineyard tasks that you must complete and be prepared for before bud burst to ensure an excellent season for your vineyard.
- Correcting Pruning Mistakes
Once your crew has finished pruning, this is your opportunity to correct any mistakes they may have made. This includes addressing any vines with “wimpy wood” left on the vine and cutting cordons that are less than ⅜” or eight to ten millimeters in diameter back to strong spurs near the trunk so new shoots can come out and reach the size you need.
- Readying Your Spray Product Inventory for the Season
Whether growing grapes organically or conventionally, you will use some sort of pesticide or weed killer. Before the season begins, you should take inventory of what you have left over from last season, what products you plan to use this year, and what products to rotate. You can break up the purchases and spray throughout the season for better cost-effectiveness and track your treatments in an Excel spreadsheet.
- Plan for Your Maintenance Fertilization for the Year
The time from bud burst to fruit set is when the vines have the greatest uptake of nutrients and macronutrients like calcium, nitrogen, and potassium. Add fertilizer just before the greatest time of nutrient uptake, so the nutrients are there when the vines are ready. The way to do this depends on your soil, whether through physical cultivation of the fertilizer, top dress application or injected through your irrigation system.
- Get Weeds and Cover Crops Under Control
Prepare for the growing season with the ideal floor management that you’re targeting, which depends on the region you are in. If you use cover crops in the winter to prevent soil erosion, now is the time to mow or kill it to prevent water and nutrient competition. You may also choose to till it, but what you decide to do depends on your landscape and the type of herbicides you plan to use.
If you want to learn more about vineyard tasks before bud burst, check out vineyardundergroundpodcast.com/vu015