Pruning grape vines

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Grape vines not only look fantastic in your garden, as the years go by they also produce delicious grapes. To produce juicy grapes, you will need to take good care of your grape vine.

  1. When should you prune your grape vines?

    It’s important to prune your grape vine before the sap starts to flow or you will damage the plant and cause it to bleed. The sap can start to flow as early as the beginning of March, so make sure you prune your grape vine before then. The best time to do so is before winter comes, but never prune in case of frost. Pruning ahead of a few frost-free days and nights will allow the wounds to heal. Summer pruning ensures that the grapes are able to grow properly.

  2. What tool do you need to prune your grape vines?

    Use secateurs with a parrot beak to prune your grape vines. A pruning saw will be a better option for thicker, harder branches.

  3. How should you prune your grape vines? - First three years

    In the first year, you can prune the whole main shoot of the vine to around 3 heads above the ground. This causes the vine to grow fast and become strong over the following years. In the second year this shoot will produce several offshoots. Remove all but the best two shoots. You can return to prune new offshoots throughout the growing season. Tie the strongest and thickest of the two shoots to a beam, a wall or a piece of wire in the autumn. You can completely remove the other shoot. By the third year the shoot you left to grow will be the main stem and it will have produced shoots of its own. You can tie up these shoots too.

  4. How should you prune your grape vines? - After three years

    Grapes will grow in bunches on the side branches. They only grow on new branches, so the side branches that produce grapes should be pruned before the winter. Prune these branches just above the first bud that shows signs of developing. This is often the second bud on the branch, as the first bud often fails to develop. Take care to always keep a distance of 20cm (about 8 inches) between shoots, to give the grapes every opportunity to develop.

  5. How should you prune your grape vines? - Summer pruning

    During the growing season, you should cut back any axillary buds, which develop in the axil of a branch. If small bunches of berries develop on the side branch, you need to prune back this branch to around the second leaf after the bunch. If several bunches develop, you should remove all but the bunch growing closest to the shoot. The branches that do not produce any bunches can be removed completely. This pruning system ensures that the vine focuses on the branches on which grapes are growing, producing big, juicy grapes. You can harvest the grapes after the summer (September/October).

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