May 2011 – Firstly the rooted vines were soaked in a bucket of water for 24 hours, and then trimmed of the last 10mm of growth. I think that this is to stimulate the cells at the root growth tip to wake up and get going. The vines were planted 1m apart in holes large enough to spread the roots comfortably and deep enough to well cover all root growth and to hold the rootstock trunk stable, but to keep the union between rootstock and scion about 15cms clear of soil. No fertiliser was added as the top soil of 0.3m was already fertile from previous year’s manuring. The intention is to grow a trunk and develop a head at about 1m height, then to develop the doppelbogen training system from that head.
I had seen advice to remove tendrils, as these sap the vine’s energy as it puts on growth, but I was not keen on pruning such fresh green growth, what with the risk of fungal infection in spring’s damp weather, until summer was really underway. With dry summer weather predicted I removed some tendrils, using sisal string for any needed support against wind, removed flower clusters as they appeared, and top trimmed vigorous growth to concentrate the vine’s efforts into producing good strong canes.