Friday, 15 June 2012

Vineyard update! Bugs, trellising... and things.

        I had a little free time today, so I decided I would do a little work on my trellis at the vineyard and monitor the ''bug'' situation.  The rose chafers have been out since last week and I have been spraying (and praying) virtually every day.  The weather didn't help as it has been raining almost every day, rinsing the insecticide off the leaves...  We are expecting a week of sunny weather though so that will help.



Rose Chafer.

        These little creatures are beetles (same family as the Japanese beetle) that appear at the beginning of June around here, and seem to disappear 3 to 4 weeks later.  Last year, I became very familiar with these little bugs very quickly.  I've had Japanese beetles on my vines at the house in Ottawa before, but I had never seen anything like this!  Within three or four days after the appearance of little holes in the leaves, my vines were completely covered with them, and not one leaf remained.  I mean NOTHING !  I had just planted my vineyard a few weeks before and every small plant had 50+ of those bugs on it. 
       So I began searching for any information I could find on ways to deal with those beetles.  It turns out they like very sandy soil (which we have), where they lay their eggs.  They live most of their life as grubs but come out of the ground in early June, eat everything they can, mate, lay their eggs in late June, and the cycle goes on...  Also, one of their favorite foods is grapevines, not roses.  We have a rose bush growing at the end of a row, and it doesn't have one bug on it.  Makes you wonder why they're not called ''grapevine chafers'' instead!
       I tried every ''natural'' or ''organic'' insecticide I could find but they were no match for the infestation I had.  Don't get me wrong, I would have preferred using those but I had to choose between using more drastic measures and a dead vineyard.  So I went with a chemical insecticide to try to keep them under control.  Luckily, just as most of the plants looked completely dead, the infestation started tapering off.  By the first week of July, new shoots started growing and the vines made a great recovery growing up to 6 feet high by the end of the summer. 
      I also sprayed nematodes last fall and this spring.  These are little microorganisms that feed on grubs and other insects.  Most garden centres sell them to control grubs on lawns.  The instructions didn't specify anything concerning rose chafer grubs but I figured I would need all the help I could get.
 
Here are a few pictures from today:
Infested wild vine growing on the fence nearby.  Ouch!

My vines.  No more bugs.

      So on to trellis work.  In early spring (March), I put up the main wire of my trellis about 30 inches off the ground but now, the growth is getting past that and I needed to install my catch wires to support the shoots as they grow.  I am using a VSP system (vertical shoot positioning) in which I will grow a cordon on the main wire, and the growth will go up from there supported by those ''catch'' wires. 

Main wire and catch wires.
More catch wires.
Top view.
End post with wires.
     So there you have it!  Good for a little while longer until I have to install the second set of catch wires.  I would like to be able to do this in the fall when the vines go dormant to reduce the risk of breaking the green shoots during the installation.  But if they grow too high, they will need to be supported by the wires.  I guess we'll wait and see!

     Most of this work would have been easier without having the vines in the way.  So I strongly recommend installing all of this before planting the vineyard.  Everything becomes very tedious when trying to manoeuvre around the plants, trying not to damage them.  Another lesson learned the hard way!  

     Also, you will want to buy (or make) one of those:


Homemade ''Spinning Jenny''
     What scrap metal and a welder can do!  Not pretty but worked really well.  Without this tool, unwinding 100 feet of wire without kinks and tangles (and cursing...!) is virtually impossible. 

     These ''Spinning Jenny'' are available for sale at specialty stores for those interested.  I have seen them on at least two different trellis/vineyard supplies web sites.  I just had some scrap metal, a welder and some time on my hands...

     One last thing... This is definitely a two man ( or woman) job.  Do not attempt this on your own.  I was lucky enough to have my wife help me with this today.  She is now the official ''Jenny'' operator.  Couldn't have done it without you dear! 

Leaving you with a few more vineyard pictures...

Vineyard.
More vineyard.




3 comments:

  1. Hey Fred.

    I see from you photos that you wrap your wires around your end posts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqAEehcxuz8
    This link is for a well-produced video about making a grapevine trellis. At the 4:18 mark of the video is some cool hardware designed for a trellis. Check it out.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mike.
      Thanks for your comment and suggestion.
      I actually had stumbled upon this video while researching trellis hardware. They do have some pretty nifty devices! I also considered using ratchet tentionners to tighten my wires.
      In the end, I went the cheap and easy route. I found a way to tighten all my wires at once using my end post attachement wires.
      Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  2. Wow you have a lot of info and great pictures.

    ReplyDelete