Vineyard Pruning Workshop Will Compare Mechanical and Hand-Pruning Techniques

Learn about the latest in mechanical pruning technology March 19 near Tipton

March 13, 2024, 2:39 pm | Randall Vos

AMES, Iowa – Pruning vineyards is a necessary and labor-intensive job, but thanks to innovative solutions like mechanical pruners, the job can be done in a fraction of the time.

Commercial winemakers and vineyard owners can improve their knowledge of pruning methods during a workshop planned for March 19 at the Buchanan House Winery & Vineyard in Tipton, from 2-4 p.m.

Mechanized pruning with skid loader.The “Vineyard Pruning Workshop: Mechanical and Hand-Pruning Comparison” will showcase the differences between the two methods and how mechanical pruning reduces pruning time to about an eighth of what is required with hand-pruning.

“Vineyard pruning is a labor-intensive process that many growers are looking to do in a more efficient manner,” said Randall Vos, commercial fruit crop specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “In the last few years, Buchanan House Winery has experimented with a skid loader mounted mechanical pruner that can efficiently do the bulk of the pruning with one operator.”

Through a SARE Partnership grant, in 2023, Vos and Buchanan House Winery set up plots to compare mechanical pruning to hand-pruning only and mechanical pruning with a hand follow-up.

“We recorded the labor it took to accomplish each pruning type in addition to yield, fruit quality and disease incidence,” said Vos. “At this field day we will look at the machine being used at Buchanan House Winery, compare the vines pruned the three different ways and review what we tracked in year one.”

At the end of the event, presenters will also go over some best practices for those looking for more pointers on hand-pruning.

The Buchanan House Winery & Vineyard is located at 726 Green Road, Tipton. Participants will gather in the winery tasting room for an introduction and then visit the vineyards as a group.

Registration is not required and walk-in participation is accepted, but participants are asked to text or call Randall Vos at 641-660-5710 or email rjvos@iastate.edu if planning to attend.

Shareable photo: Mechanized pruning using a skid loader attachment.

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