Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Grapes - The Pick and Pruning

The most difficult part of growing grapes is the hefty amount of pruning required. When pruning, keep in mind that the current season's growth produces fruit from last season's wood. Too heavy pruning results in an abundance of foliage, but very little fruit. Too light pruning results in large yields of poor quality fruit.Concord Grape

Depending on your location, if you can, prune grapevines once during winter. However, this can be tricky because you should neither prune vines periods of severe frost nor after the sap begins to rise until after the leaves are fully developed. Basic pruning is simple. The coarser bark of old wood is easily recognizable. Follow the growing tip back to the older wood from the year before. Then, come forward leaving four to five buds and lop the vine with secateurs (small pruning shears).

Grapes grow new shoots from early spring blossoms. If left unattended, these shoots will transform your grapevine into an unproductive and unruly problem. Remove all weak, thin shoots and leave only the strongest shoot to develop. Flowers from this shoot precede the development of fruit.

Keep your vine tidy throughout the summer. Prune shoots back to the third or fourth leaf after fruiting. Remove any new growth. Also, remove all leaves from around growing fruit clusters to give them maximum sun.

Although there is no hard and fast rule about how much to prune, cutting away more of the grapevine leads to stronger and more robust growth during the next season. For instance, to keep a garden pergola shady, you may wish to allow more growth to remain.

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Pruning is a vital part of plant and tree care. This task can be confusing so we developed the following guide to help you prune properly.

Three basic tools suffice for most pruning jobs: shears, loppers, and a pruning saw. Keep them sharp for clean cuts; disinfect after pruning diseased material.

Grapes change color long before they are ripe. To avoid picking clusters before they reach their peak, taste the grapes first. If they aren't ripe, wait for them to develop. Since grapes will not improve after harvest, this way you avoid " eating sour grapes".