Pruning grapes

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by countrygrrrl, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Over the last two years, I've planted Niagara (one plant), Concord (two plants) and Variegated (two plants) grapes. The plants are doing gangbusters, but it's my understanding I need to be pruning them a specific way, instead of just letting them run riot like I've been doing.

    The problem is, I don't know how to prune them. ? Any suggestions?
     
  2. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully some real experts will chime in here and describe how they prune grapes. FWIW here's how I approach pruning my grapes. I'm not interested in absolutely MAXIMIZING my grape production, I just like getting plenty of grapes for my family with enough left over to give away to friends.
    {I have Canadice red seedless grapes that have a delicious spicy/sweet flavor}.

    Anyways here's how I prune. In late Winter I prune off about 80% of last years growth being careful to leave 4 to 6 buds per branch. I know 80% seems like too much but it really isn't. In this way I have plenty of grapes. Grapes fruit on second year wood so that is why you must leave those 4 to 6 buds per branch on last year's growth.
    If you "google" grape pruning you will get a variety of methods, but I'm just a backyard gardener and I like to keep things simple.

    Hope this helps.


    Da Fonz
     

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Around here grapes are pruned as follows: At any 'Y' intersection small as a pencil or less, cut both exstentions after two noduals distance away from the Y. This is done when the vine is dormant, has lost its leaves. No further treatment is needed. Get them pleanty of water next spring, and of course nutrition however you wish.

    Grapes only come from new growth, so they have to be pruned each year in the fall.
     
  4. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    hi countrygirl, fonzie.
    You don't actually have to prune grapes at all.The way that commercial growers prune is called the two arm or three arm kniffen system. It is done that way mainly for the ease of handling. What I mean is that they have tractors that are sized to fit over the top of the vines for spraying etc. Also if the rows are running up hill perpendicular to the hillside then the cold air at night will drain down the hill to the valley floor rather like water flowing downhill. Sometimes the hills might be too steep so then they would be run parallel.
    You will actually get more grapes grown on an arch or tellis than you will on a kniffen system, but again for commercial growers they are easier to spray harvest and prune if they are all uniformly grown. Doesn't equate to quantity or quality. Now after saying that, if you prune any fruit bearing plant then the leaves will grow faster and bigger and the plants roots will be supplying the same water and nutrients to fewer fruits so they will grow bigger and possibly faster. By pruning in the spring you are encouraging the plant to grow faster so you can train it to grow on any surface, like a fence etc easier. Again the key word is easier. So grow them on an arch and enjoy alot more fruit per plant and a shady place to sit in the summer.
     
  5. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Muscadines like niagra, concord, catawba, etc are native to the northeast and in these climes they are pruned in the spring. Deer will prune them all year long though. They don't need to be pruned at all to get new growth or grapes.
     
  6. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Hmmm. All this info helps. I have them growing on a makeshift arbor sort of thing --- an old shed I tore the walls off of and built beds around (and in). I replaced the walls with trellis and screening, and have wood across the top. The grapes are planted along the outside in beds and are growing up the sides and across the top. They seem to like it.

    So thanks to you all, I think I now get the configuration of the pruning (where to cut). But I'm confused whether I should prune in spring or winter, if I prune at all.
     
  7. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    In the South we prune in the fall, I do not know about those people whom live with snow.
     
  8. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the Midwest at zone 5/6. Conventional wisdom says to prune your grapes heavily at the end of Winter. The reasoning for this is if you prune in the Fall after the leaves have fallen and then you get an exceptionally harsh Winter there might be some die-back on the branches you pruned earlier, {you might lose your fruit}. So here in the Midwest if you prune in the late Winter after all the serious cold-snaps are through but before any flush of new growth in the Spring you should be O.K.
    Of course this approach would depend on your zone {which I don't know}

    Da Fonz
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Aha!! I get it!

    I'm in zone 7. What winter is around here, though, depends. Some years there is almost no winter. Other years, it's like the Arctic.

    We've already had two-three freezes this year, which is a bit unusual as that usually doesn't happen til around Thanksgiving. So I'm going to bet it will be a cold winter.

    Therefore ... I will wait til late winter --- early spring.

    Thanks all!
     
  10. Paint Crazy

    Paint Crazy Member

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    In Alabama I try to make sure my grapes and kiwi are both pruned in January. Nice and cold, no leaves, no warm spells expected, and no snow except every 4 or 5 years. Moonpup is giving you solid advice about where to prune the vine. You may also contact your County Extension Agent for some advice about your local conditions.
     
  11. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    If you prune in the spring save the cuttings. They can be rooted and make new grape vines. And if you have more than you need you might could swap for something else you need.
     
  12. KRH

    KRH Resident Wino

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    This site and or its links should be able to answer any questions as to the hows, whats,and whys of grape growing.

    http://www.grapes.msu.edu/
     
  13. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Stick your prunings in a bucket of damp sand after dipping in rooting powder. You'll have plenty of shoots to plnt, sell, give away.