Grape Pruning Guidelines
Your goal in developing a productive vine is a matter of working to a plan. From the roots a main stem will grow, this is effectively the same as the trunk of a tree. From this main stem countless off shoots will naturally develop in just the same way branches grow off a tree trunk. Left unchecked the branches grow offshoots, the offshoots get bigger and become branches which develop offshoots and so on and so on. So you can see why pruning is vital for success.
The timing of pruning
grapes is during
the plants dormant period, typically late November to early March
with many choosing a warmish February. With the main stem tied to the
trellis, three to five side shoots are typically chosen, tied to the
trellis for continuous growth and the remaining foliage cut away.
Depending on the variety of vine planted and the desired shape it is
to be grown determines what you prune off. You should expect to
remove 85% or so of one year old wood. During the vine's first year
the basic 'frame' or skeleton is the goal. From then on the work will
be to improve and develop that framework into your productive vine
from correct removal of extraneous foliage through pruning practises.
Later, as the vine starts
productive the fruiting buds, the actual part that grows the bunches
of grapes will have to be carefully trimmed back. Too many fruiting
buds will lead to overcrowding and poor quality berries as they all
compete for food, water and sunlight. By selective pruning of the
buds a much heavier and tastier grapes can be achieved. You need to
take care not to over do it or you will simply destroy all your hard
work by removing the very part of the plant that is there to provided
As with all things there is a right way and a wrong way to do things and growing and caring for grapes well is simply a matter of knowledge. While mother nature will do much for you, you can mess up by poor practise. Read and learn as much as you can on the subject so you know what to do and pretty soon you will see the fruits of your labours.