Now is a great time to prune your grape vines. While most fruit trees and vines need some pruning, in order to get healthy, abundant grapes: you actually have to remove between 70% and 90% of the plant every year!
Grapes fruit on one year old wood: which means, say a main trunk sprouts a vine in spring, that vine grows all summer and fall, and that winter it turns grey and smooth. The following year it sends out shoots which bear clusters of grapes. By the next year, it looks shaggy and has dark peeling bark on it and no longer bears fruit. So in pruning: keep that in mind and seek to “think like a grapevine”.
There are many methods and styles of pruning grapes which are more or less appropriate to different varieties, trellising styles and climates. In the MidAtlantic, we have three basic types of grapes we can grow.
- The Labrusca varieties are descended from an American grape and tend to produce fruit further along their vines, so they are ideally pruned in the Kniffen or Cane pruned style.
- Vinifera, decended from French grapes, and Muscadines, a southern variety, bear closer to their trunk and hence are better suited to the Spur pruning style.
If you are struggling with your vines, consider giving us a call. Edible Eden will beat any vine back into submission, no matter how grisly!