How to Prune a Grape Vine During Growing Season. Pruning is essential to ensure successful grape harvests every year. The first three years are very crucial, as this is the time the grapevines will be trained on the trellis. Continued pruning allows growers to produce the right amount of fruit every year and avoid the overproduction that could hurt...
Pruning is essential to ensure successful grape harvests every year. The first three years are very crucial, as this is the time the grapevines will be trained on the trellis. Continued pruning allows growers to produce the right amount of fruit every year and avoid the overproduction that could hurt next year’s harvest. Keeping the right balance of vegetation and fruit on the vine is the key to pruning grapevines.
Things You'll Need
Allow two to four shoots to emerge from a young grape plant, and select the two best shoots that will form the trunk of the grapevine.
Tie the two chosen grapevine shoots vertically to the center of the trellis and horizontally along the top wire of the trellis with twine, pruning off any fruit and all lateral shoots from new vines throughout the first year of growing. Leave only the two original lateral shoots intact.
Prune off all the fruit and new lateral shoots that form on the vertical stretch of the grapevine during the second growing season. These vertical shoots should have now formed a trunk.
Pinch the ends of the shoots growing along the top wire of the trellis, called the cordon, when they reach the desired length to force secondary shoots to grow downward during the second growing season.
Prune back shoots that grow above the top wire of the trellis.
Prune back 1-year-old shoots, also called canes, that are growing from the cordon in the early spring of the third year so that only three to five growth spurs, or buds, remain.
Weigh the pruned wood to determine how many fruiting buds should be left on the grapevine to avoid overproduction. Leave 30 buds for the first 10 pounds of pruned wood and 10 buds for every additional pound of wood. Prune off the excess.
Continue to prune off fruit and lateral shoots that form on the trunk of the grapevine or exceed the boundaries of the trellis system during future growing seasons.
Repeat pruning methods exercised in steps 6 and 7 throughout future growing seasons.
Tips & Warnings
Some varieties of grape will have vines that prefer to grow upward from the cordon as opposed to downward. In this case the cordon will be trained to grow along the bottom wire of the trellis and the shoots will be trained to grow upward towards the top wire of the trellis. This is called a Low Cordon.
A single trunk is formed on a grapevine by pruning all shoots except for one to train up the center of the trellis is the first year growing season. Single trunks are more often used in warm weather climates, whereas double trunks are preferred in cold weather climates.
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