In May is the moment to begin the green pruning in the vineyards of the Terra Alta. It requires a lot of manpower and it is basically divided into two main tasks that are called in several ways in different municipalities of Terra Alta: esbrotar and esperonar (especially in Gandesa and Corbera), esbordar and desullar (especially in Bot), virbar and esperonar or descavallar (especially in Vilalba and Batea). Regardless of what they are called in every place, the green pruning consists of the removal of some vegetative parts with two main objectives:
- Prevention of diseases with increased ventilation and better implementation of phytosanitary treatments
- Balancing the relationship between vegetation and grapes to improve grape quality
The first work to do is esbrotar, esbordar or virbar and once that is have been done can be start the second main work esperonar, desullar or descavallar.
Esbrotar, esbordar or virbar: removal of branches located in the woody parts (arms and trunk) which are not in the spurs prepared in winter pruning. Each spur usually leave two major canes, the two strongest and which allow a good distribution of vegetation.
Esperonar, desullar or descavallar: removal of the axillary branches called esperons, ulls or cavalls. Extract all the axillary branches from the base to leave two or more at the top of each cane.
Besides these two main tasks to be performed manually, can be completed with other work can also be done by hand or mechanized:
Despuntar: cut the tips of the canes to slow vegetative growth and, secondly, harden the canes to protect them from wind.
Despampar: removal of some leaves next to the grapes to increase ventilation.
In traditional vineyards formed in free form, the main works are performed manually and when necessary also despuntar and despampar. Instead, on trellises plantation, esbrotar is done manually but in some cases esperonar is avoided and it is possible to despuntar and despampar mechanized.