Results from this study are preliminary, as only 2 years of data have been collected. Research over longer periods of time will be more revealing about how mechanical pruning will impact the perennial crop yield and health of the vineyard. Mechanical pruning is an option for dormant pruning ‘Carlos’ in situations where labor is unreliable and/or there is a low labor-to-acreage ratio which precludes the ability to finish pruning in the dormant period (December through March). Concerns remain regarding the inaccuracy of mechanical pruning and the resultant amount of diseased and unproductive grapevine wood that remains in the canopy. It therefore may be a good practice to manually prune blocks of the vineyard on a recurring basis in order to reduce canopy congestion and the potential for disease buildup. Mechanical pruning may not be best practice in fresh-market muscadine cultivars, particularly those that produce bronze fruit that are less tolerant of rots and defects than purple fruit. Mechanical pruning ‘Carlos’ and ‘Noble’ vineyards is worth consideration as these popular juice muscadine cultivars are vigorous and productive and may therefore sustain perennial health under high bud densities. Because of the preliminary nature of this report, it is recommended that mechanical, or “minimal” pruning, be trialed in vineyard blocks or sections before it is widely implemented with confidence.
Status and Revision History
Published on Jan 27, 2022