New Merlot plantings

Holes dug for the dormant merlot starts.
Holes dug for the dormant Merlot starts.
Preparing the dormant start to go into the ground.
Preparing the dormant start to go into the ground.
Making sure the hole is deep enough for the roots.  Grape roots can't be curled up when planted.
Making sure the hole is deep enough for the roots. Grape roots can’t be curled up when planted.
Mounding the soil over the new plant provides it with some insulation while it adjusts to its new home.
Mounding the soil over the new plant provides it with some insulation while it adjusts to its new home.

Nearly everyone was in shorts today as we worked in the vineyard.  One of the chores of the moment was to plant the dormant Merlot vines where they have been missing since they were frozen.  It will take a few years to get theses vines up to production.  First they have to produce a solid root system, and canes for photosynthesis.  The second year canes that will be long and strong enough to be cordons are encouraged and then tied to the lower support wires of the VSP (vertical shoot position) trellis.  Again the majority of the plant’s energies are geared toward producing a strong and healthy support structure with photosynthesis being the emphasis rather than fruit production.  It is the next year that enough fruit is left to be considered for use in production.  We use self rooted plants here in Eastern Washington, so should there be a freeze in the next few years, the strong root system  might be sufficient to avoid repeating this process again right away.

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