Know the System to Prune Grape Vines

Know the System to Prune Grape Vines

When growing grapes in your backyard or commercially, to be successful, you have to know how to prune grape vines properly. How you train your vines will influence how you prune them. There is more than one method of training your vines to grow so it is imperative that you consider all options and choose the best one for your specific location.

Numerous gardeners use the system called high cordon to train their vines. They do this because this particular system is fairly easy to start and maintain. With the high cordon-type system the immature vines are tenderly trained by using either one or two main trunks.

Creating the fruiting area is again dependent on how the vines are trained:
1. Use the head trained method with canes which are just shoots that have hardened off,
2. Cordons or horizontal arms that are permanent with the canes that are dormant and being pruned back for spurs,
3. Or, the fan-shaped type of arrangement using a structure that is a four-post arbor.

In the cane method each season the new cane are basically laid down. The vines are usually head trained using the top wire. New shoots which are grown in the season will harden into canes and be the diameter of a pencil. Two canes then are chosen and tied onto the upper wire, one cane going left and one going right. You can use twist ties, cloth pieces, or the plastic tape that stretches to tie the canes down. Then count the buds and prune according to the load of fruit desired.

Now the type of system the cordon is has new spurs being created every growth season as the one-year-old canes then they are pruned to only have three or four buds a spur. If you grow the vines using some kind of arbor, then the wood for fruiting can be either spurs or one-year-old canes which are then attached to the cordons at the top area of an arbor.

Pruning techniques differ greatly depending on the kind of grapes being grown too. The French-American and American hybrid types of grapes are more usually found in the backyard gardens opposed to the Vinifera types because they tend to be more disease resistant and winter better. The variety of Vinifera is grown more by the more experienced grape growers.

These all differ in how much fruiting wood they produce yearly. The American varieties have a tendency to have the most vegetation growth, then the French-American is next, and the Vinifera has the least foliage.

The amount that is left of the one-year-old wood after you prune depends on how much vegetation grew in the previous growth season. The basic formula is 30 + 10 +10 for having balanced pruning. This only means that if you prune off 3 pounds from the wood then 30 buds should be kept on counting the first pound then for the second pound leave 10 buds and for the third pound leave 10 buds. 50 buds in all will be left then. This may have to be adjusted depending on the wood trimmed off.

This basic information is just part of what you need to know about how to prune grape vines.

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