Q:

What are some tips for pruning grapevines?

A:

Quick Answer

Grape vine pruning tips include paying attention to which cane bore fruit the year before and keeping the strongest shoots so that the vine can grow vertically. The pruning method depends on several factors, including where the grower plans to grow the vines, their goals and the vine's age.

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Full Answer

Grape vines need pruning every winter, with upwards of 70 percent of the plant removed to get the maximum amount of fruit. How a gardener prunes depends on whether the grave vine grows on a fence, stake, or an arbor or trellis. If the gardener's goal is to create a shady arbor instead of fruit production, pruning isn't as important.

Grapes produce fruit on one-year-old canes, so it's important to prune back older canes each year for the maximum amount of fruit. Gardeners should select a strong main cane, and prune all but three or so side canes. Once the vine grows to the height the gardener prefers, he should clear away spindly old growth. With fences and trellises, they need to place vines two-to-three feet apart and allow them to branch out.

For trellises, arbors and pergolas, gardeners should prune canes that fruited the previous year and pruning the one-year canes back to five or six buds. Keeping a few healthy-looking "renewal" canes can be helpful to fruit the next season.

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