Pruning Grape Vines - A Farmer's Guide to Pruning Grape Vines

Published: 20th March 2009
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To keep things growing well, sometimes you have to prune, or cut back your plants. It's not just that way with plants, actually as some say to get your hair to grow really well you have to trim it back. But when pruning you can't just drag out a pair of pruning shears and cut away. You have to have studied the methods of pruning before you begin to cut away. Same as you wouldn't want someone to just go cutting on your hair if they didn't know how. And when pruning grape vines it's not different, you have to know what you're doing.

Pruning grape vines is not hard to do once you know the right time and length in which to do your pruning. For instance, you will need to prune your grapevines before Christmas because if you prune after Christmas the vines will "bleed" sap. Once a vine begins to bleed sap there is no way to cure that problem, although when the leaves begin to emerge and grow, it will decrease. By saying that keep in mind that if the bleeding happens it will never stop, further weakening the plant, which could result in a dead vine. That would really be terrible. So remember, try to prune grape vines before you go hanging your holiday ornaments.

The main problem that is seen with pruning grape vines is that people who grow them for home use seldom prune enough. When you go to prune your grape vine you will need to cut back approximately seventy-five to ninety percent of the new wood that had grown in the previous season.

I know that seems like an awful lot but that's what needs to be done for the best results. To chose what needs to be pruned, look at everything that was new from the previous year and pick out two to four of the healthiest canes. These should be about as big around as at least a marker with nodes that arise every eight to twelve inches. Nodes are important as these are what the fruit and leaves will be growing from in the coming season.

Once you have picked out the best two to four canes, you can take the next step in pruning grape vines by cutting off all the other canes flush with the trunk. Remember, the canes that you have decided to keep will be close to the top of the trunk and so everything from those down will need to be pruned flush with the trunk.

If you wish you can keep a couple of the shorter canes at the very top to have growing for the following year you can leave those. Pruning grape vines is like a work of art, doing it just right will end in a masterpiece.

Now, everything is pruned that needs to be and you will need to clean up the mess of cut vines that are at the base of your vine so that you can see what you have created. This is part of pruning grape vines so that you can be sure you didn't miss any and also to make sure that your vine has nothing in its way to bother its absorption of water and fertilizer.

Matt Granger has been growing grapes for over 30 years and is an expert in backyard grape growing and grapevine farming. For a bundle of free tips and advice on how to grow grapes, visit his personal grape growing website here:

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