Good Fruit Grower

April 15

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Grapes THE ROOT of the matter What is going on down there? by Richard Lehnert G rapes, with their flowing vines and lack of inherent structure, are free spirits compared with tree fruits, which have a fairly rigid form and structure. Not surprisingly, grape roots are free spirits as well. So why should anyone care about grape roots and what they do? Since they take up the water and nutrients the vines need, provide carbohydrate and nitrogen reserves for the spring, and help regulate vine growth, they are a critical part of the plant. "Studying them is the hard part," says Cornell University grape physiologist Dr. Alan Lakso. He was concerned that juice grape growers, in their quest for higher —Alan Lakso yields, might be putting too much stress on the vines as they went to minimal pruning with more shoots per vine and higher yields. Generally, higher yields inhibit root growth. They wanted to know how they could assure there was sufficient root growth to "Grape roots don't grow in any particular pattern over the season." support the vine sustainably from year to year, and they wanted to know the best time to water and fertilize for best root performance. Lakso teamed up with Dr. David Eissenstat, a root biologist at Pennsylvania State University, and together they worked in a Concord vineyard with the staff at Cornell's Lake Erie Fredonia Laboratory. They've studied Concord roots for 12 years and wrote a report on their work late last year. Minirhizotrons As well as digging up roots, they used an unusual method, minirhizotrons—clear two-inch-diameter plastic observation tubes inserted into the root zone. With a special video camera, they could see the new roots as they grew during the season, observing how many grew, when they grew, and how long they lived, without having to dig up the roots. "Grape roots don't grow in any particular pattern over the season," Lakso said. That was a somewhat disappointing discovery. Root growth was similar to shoot growth in that roots grew between bud break and veraison, but the pattern each year was not nearly as consistent as shoots, he said. After veraison, very few new roots were produced, Your Solution To Farm Labor Housing. . . PACKING LINE EQUIPMENT FOR SALE NOW Increase your packing speed and efficiency! We offer a variety of floor plans that are customized to meet your needs. LARGEST BUILDER OF MANUFACTURED HOMES BEST INDUSTRY WARRANTY AVAILABLE 8' Sizer Roller and 16 Lane Sizer Central Weigh Clam & Bag Fillers (indexing conveyer serves 1, 2, and 3# clamshells plus adaptable bag fillers) (6 Lane Tank) 2 Drive Motors Precision-built housing affordably priced and designed to provide strength and longevity, while offering comfortable amenities for a grower's work force. (8 Lanes each) Belting is available. Ask for Silvestre Lozano . . . Serving Central Washington Growers For over 23 Years! Clayton Homes offers the Lowest Factory Direct Pricing . . . and won't be out priced ! Emails to: 509-452-9228 For more information Phone: (209) 931-4392 E-mail: Website: 36 April 15, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER ® 2010 Rudkin Road Union Gap, WA 98903

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