When we first had grapevines around our place, Mr. M. decided to learn to prune them properly. Now, we always have more grapes on hand then we can possibly eat, dry, juice, and freeze. Here he is sharing his years of experience so you can also learn how to prune grapes.
You will want to wait until the weather is cold, so try to fit this task in before everything warms up.
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Watch: How to Prune Grapes
While there is more written information below, this video gives a great visual example behind this easy method on how to prune grapes.
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Grape vines are not particularly thick or woody. You will probably only need a simple pair of hand pruners. We bought this kit, which meets many of our needs around the homestead.
Assuming that your grape vines grow above your head, you will also want an appropriate-height ladder. We use a 10-foot picking ladder, as our trellis is quite high.
Important rule of thumb
Grapes only come from new-growth stalks.
While you want to identify the main trunk of your grapevines, all the pruning will be removing growth so that you can maximize grapes for the coming year.
The basics on how to prune grapes
Each spur that you leave on a one-year vine will turn into one branch that will yield one or two bunches of grapes. With that in mind, this method of pruning grapes boils down to two simple practices.
1. When a vine is low to the ground, prune it to one spur.
2. Anything above chest height should be pruned to two spurs.
These “rules” mean that your branches should produce efficiently without much risk of breakage or wily vines and grapes growing on the ground.
Prune grapevines that aren’t serving you
If you come across dried dead stubs of vines that didn’t produce last season, just cut those down completely to clean them up.
You might decide you want to train your grapes in a new direction. In this case, go ahead and leave those vines to grow out and become part of the structure of your grapevines.
If you have longer tendrils that you have chosen to leave, it may be best to secure those to your trellis. Use a tie so that they will continue to grow efficiently for you.
Enjoy your plentiful grapes
That’s it, friends. With your vines cleaned up and ready for the season, you should be set to enjoy a bountiful harvest. We sure do!
Make sure to watch the video above for helpful demonstrations of the method outlined on how to prune grapes. We wish you all the best and happy growing!