Grape Pruning Tips
Growing grapes that are going to be made into wine has been a long tradition in vineyards, backyard gardens, and all throughout history. It takes work and dedication to maintain a grapevine. Like most plants, they need weeding, pest control and pruning in order to receive a good harvest. It can take up to three years for a grapevine to produce any grapes on it. During this time the vine needs careful maintenance and attention through pruning. Pruning is simply getting the plant growth to encourage more growth.
Grapevines have to be trained to maintain plant size, shape, and productivity. They also take years to train. After the trellis is erected and the vine is planted the grapevine begins to take shape. Vines are allowed to grow from one strong shoot directly from the roots. Any other shoots that grow from the roots are clipped back. The main shoot is tied vertically to the trellis. After the next dormant period growers will need to develop the arms of the vine. Two shoots on either side of the main shoot are tied horizontally to the trellis and will serve as the base for the fruit or the arms. All other shoots are trimmed back and not allowed to grow. After the basic shape of the vine is shaped the pruning of the vine continues during the dormant periods. Pruning during dormant states throughout the life of the vine is a critical component in the production of grapes.
The way that the grapevine is pruned is based a lot on the type of grapes that are grown on it. Hybrid varieties were developed to be hardier during the winter and more resistant to diseases. They tend to produce less foliage then the traditional types of grapevines. The annual pruning removes the previous years fruiting canes or spurs. Because fruit is only produced on shoots growing from one-year-old canes, healthy new canes must be produced by the vine every year.
Pruning can also reduce the crop production by removing the fruitful buds. By varying the amount that is pruned back will influence the crop level. If too much is pruned back, more shoots will grow on the vine which in turn produces more of a crop and more foliage. The more foliage on a vine results in a shady canopy which provides a poor environment for the grapes to ripen.
Hand tools like loppers, hand pruners, and handsaws are typically used to prune grapevines. The goal for the grapevine owner is to avoid unnecessary injury to the plant. Most likely, when removing shoots that are one-year-old, hand pruners can be used effectively. On the other hand, larger wood should be cut with either the lopper or a handsaw.
The desire to grow grapes results in the necessary steps of getting down into the dirt and getting dirty. Pruning is a relatively simple concept in which grapevine growers seem to grasp quickly. The time and dedication over the years results in a healthy and plentiful crop.
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