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How to Prune Grape Vines


Grapes are a deliciously juicy fruit. Having our own grape vines is a great way to keep the supply of grapes coming. But like all plants, grape vines need regular care and management. To reap the rewards of the tastiest fruit, you need to have a healthy grape vine. The best way to ensure your vine's health and prosperity is to prune it regularly.

Here's how to prune grape vines:

  • Train your grapes so there's one vertical trunk and four horizontal canes on a trellis of some kind.
  • Prune your vines in late autumn in warm climates and in winter in cold climates.
  • Limit the growth to two trunks in the first year. Prune away all the other shoots and branches.
  • Choose the trunk that has the better fruiting. Prune away the other one in the second year.
  • Prune the trunk at the top of the trellis so side shoots develop.
  • Keep four evenly spaced, horizontal side shoots and prune away the rest. Keep 50 buds per side shoot and prune off the rest.
  • Prune liberally each year. Keep the basic structure of one trunk and four canes so the fullest, healthiest grapes grow.
  • Prune away all weak vines. Weak and neglected vines draw off nutrients from the healthy part of the plant.
  • Make your pruning cuts at an angle so most of the moisture stays inside the vines. With an angled cut, any remaining surface moisture will drip off so the ends will die and stop growing. [source: Phipps, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture].

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