Monday, August 22, 2011

First time pruning the grape vine

The signs of spring are everywhere. In my area every new day reveals another tree in bloom. I have even witnessed a few trees in my neighbourhood who's blossom has come and gone already. So I thought I’d better spring into action and prune the grape vine. My understanding is that pruning needs to be done prior to the plant coming out of hibernation.

We planted this vine three years ago with the intention to grow it up the centre post of the pergola then espalier it out to both sides along a wire. The first two years it hardly grew and on the the third I was going to pull it out if it didn’t pick up its game. Lucky for it it burst into life growing a single branch (if that’s what you call it?) that scaled up and across the full length of the wire. Except only to one side. What I need is for that single vertical branch to divide in two.

Despite recently attending a pruning course I still feel I have no idea what I am doing and approached the task with fear. But it had to be done so I simply gave it a go cutting it just below where I want it to divide. So how do you think I did?

I also cut off the strangely branches growing out of the base.

On the course I did learn when cutting to cut close to the adjoining branch as this enables the plant to seal over the wound. Otherwise a little dead stick remains protruding from the wound that lets in infection. I think the instructor did say this only applies to trees not vines or bushes. So I didn’t apply this rule to the grape vine but maybe I should have?


  1. Nice work on the vine - I am trying to convince Nat that we should grow enough grapes for home wine making - I'm shooting for booze self-sufficiency.

  2. David the great thing about vines is they can be grown flat thus taking up almost no space. You should grow them along your fences. Makes a boring fence look allot prettier. Invite me over when you are ready to crush the grapes.

  3. Jas you really need to get your priorities right..."invite me over when you are ready to crush the grapes" don't you mean "invite me over when the wine is ready" :-)

    Ps I would like to say good job on the vine, but in truth I have no pruning experience or knowledge. I can say though that the best way to learn is by trying, no matter how bad you might fail, so good job on attacking your vine rather than just leaving it from fear.

  4. Courageous move Jason. I like you have little idea when it comes to pruning. I've randomly pruned a few natives in my time but for some reason am always a little tentative when it comes to pruning fruit trees. I've listened to the gardening commentators on the ABC roar at callers when they've fessed up about pruning lemons etc so I think I'll be booking myself into a course at some stage too. What you've done with this grape seems completely logical to me and hopefully the approaching Spring will tell you you've done the right thing. BTW what sort of grape is it?

  5. You are braver than I - I got my Dad to prune mine and he got my brother (who used to work at a vineyard) to prune his! It looks like you've done a great job.

  6. Looks pretty good to me! From what I understand with pruning (and training) grapes there are a couple of methods, most of which start by growing a single stem up to the main support and then for new growths cut back into old stems while leaving 1-2 buds for new growth. I inherited a 30 year old vine in my garden and my first pruning effort was very tentative, but the vine has grown and fruited well on these pruning principles. But I'm completely self taught so I'm sure there's plenty out there who know a heap more about grape pruning than I do!!!

  7. Amy my thought is that if I help out I have got better chance of being invited to the drinking.

    Serendipity I think because fruit trees take a few years to get established the fear of making a mistake is high. I just back from a small holiday and within the first 5 minutes of being home I checked the grape vine. No action yet. I am at work at the moment so I will have to get back to you re the variety.

    Lisa I would have more fear asking my dad than doing it myself. He has no fear when it comes to pruning, he is like chain saw.

    Bek nothing wrong with self taught. Every skill at one stage was self taught. The proof of your skills is in the pudding (grape pudding). So thanks for commenting you have made me feel at ease.


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