Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vines face trench-digging backhoe

Workers begin digging the trench. In the left photo, a
section of the old pipe is visible at the right.

Two vines dug up at once.
The trench runs through the line of vines.
Apparently successful replanting.
Last month, we called Roto Rooter to fix a plumbing problem that became a total replacement of the outside pipe leading to the main city line. The line ran diagonally across our back yard through our grape vines.

The workers identified two vines in the path of the trench they’d have to dig. They came up with what I considered a pointless idea but worth a try. They dug up both plants in one backhoe bucketful and set them aside.

I put the two uprooted plants in a big tub with soil and lots of water. They lived in that tub for a day and a half. When the workers were finished, I replanted the vines in 2-foot-deep holes filled with a mixture of peat, vermiculite and soil. Then I added lots root stimulator and unknown gallons of water.

Immediately, both vines wilted. The effort seemed more like hospice, not recovery. I don’t have photos of the tub or the worst stage of the vines’ decline. I thought they were dead.

After about two weeks of withering, the few remaining leaves stopped decaying. Within a month, the plants shot out new growth. Now they look to be entirely viable.

The workers, who are master plumbers, not just earth movers, did a great job not just with the task at hand but also in their attempt to preserve landscaping.

People who have schooled me in viticulture have said that transplanting of mature vines just isn’t done (cuttings are the way to propagate). So this case of apparently successful replanting is quite an unexpected happy outcome.

New growth.