How to prune grapes

by Natasha Starkell | 13.01.2014 | 5 steps | medium | 15 - 30 Min. | 89 times | Rating: 9 votes

Growing grapes is as close as you can get to make wine from water. Here is how you should prune your grape vine to get better results.

Grapes may seem like a rather exotic fruit to be growing in your garden, but vines can thrive in greenhouses and on sunny walls, even in temperate, but mild, locations. Once they’ve become established, vines can become very rampant, so before you even start thinking about the fun of picking the fruit and crushing those grapes between your toes (for wine making of course!), some drastic pruning will be needed each and every year. Then you can get busy turning water into wine.

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Tools
secateurs
how to prune grape vine

how to prune grape vine

Start pruning in early winter

Step 1

Prune in early winter

Grapes are mainly pruned in the early winter, so get out into the garden with your secateurs during late November and early December. Pruning the grapes later may expose them to cold and cause damage.

Image Source: stefano lubiana wines (some rights reserved)

grapevine branches

grapevine branches

Allow maximum of six branches per grape plant

Step 2

Limit growth to six branches

Don’t let your grape go too mad, and aim to allow a maximum of six branches from the main stem, at the top of your grape plant. Find the tips of these branches, and trace your finger back to five buds from the main trunk.

grape plant

grape plant

cut through the branch of grape plant just above the fifth leaf bud

Step 3

Cut above the fifth leaf bud

Using sharp secateurs cut through the branch just above the fifth leaf bud. There can be a lot of growth to cut in the winter, and top branches should be pruned back so that there are only five buds left.

Image Source:   Sagolla (some rights reserved)

Items:
secateurs
pruning grapevine

pruning grapevine

Remove any other branches and side shoots from your grape

Step 4

Remove side shoots and any other branches

If there are any long side shoots on the shortened branch, cut these off just above the first leaf bud. Remove any other branches and side shoots from your grape, before untangling pruned stems from trellises and cutting them into pieces before composting. 

Pruning mature grapevine

Pruning mature grapevine

Once a grape is three years old, completely remove all shoots from the middle and bottom of your grape’s main trunk, leaving only the cluster of branches at the top.

Step 5

Pruning mature grapevine

Once a grape is three years old, completely remove all shoots from the middle and bottom of your grape’s main trunk, leaving only the cluster of branches at the top. On side shoots you should leave just one bud in place. In subsequent winters, side shoots need to be pruned back to two buds, enabling you to keep your grape compact, healthy and producing fruit.

Tools
secateurs
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