It’s that time of year again for leaf removal to be the order of the day! If you will remember last year at this time, I wrote a “Seussian” poem in this blog about the machine pictured here. It still makes me chuckle as it looks like and sounds like a Dr. Seuss creation. (I have included a copy of the silly poem at the end of this posting for your reference). Now, we need to keep the immediate area (air) around the forming grapes as free flowing as possible. To accomplish this we remove as many leaves as we can just around the small, emerging grape clusters allowing the breezes to blow. This keeps the local humidity as low as possible and reduces the pressure from molds and mildew (both can easily harm the baby clusters). Now, we could walk through and remove the leaves by hand but we need to cover 120 acres of vines and that would take a small army for the work to be done quickly. Luckily we have this relatively new machine to aid in the work. The attachment to the tractor creates and effectively directs sharp blasts of air that remove the leaves just around the clusters. At the same time the blast removes the spent biological bloom “caps” eliminating yet another potential source of retained moisture and humidity. This is all good news. Most importantly, with this new machine we can make a quick, clean and clearing pass with little leaf fraying (again avoiding excess moisture that invites molds and mildew). Last year we were very happy with the results and we expect the same or better for this year. Now, to a little silliness if you please.
“Through my office window pane…..I see a thunka-thunka rather strange. Its tractor body a familiar sight… but the hosey-nosey droop, a thing of fright! What is this beasty among the vines…. has it a purpose? …a point sublime? Oh, the places you will go…..protecting our grapes with a mighty blow!” OK, it was bad enough the first time! 🙂