Grapes are one of the most popular fruits grown in gardens. They provide a variety of benefits to our lives including food, drink, medicine and beauty. Grapes require little attention from us except when they begin to produce fruit. At other times it is advisable not to disturb them too much because they may lose their flavor or even become damaged if handled improperly.
The first thing you need to do is determine whether your grapes will be harvested at any given time. If they are, then you can start planning your pruning schedule now.
You can use the calendar provided here to plan out your pruning schedule.
If you don’t have a calendar handy, then you might want to consider purchasing one so that you can keep track of all the different dates that fall within the growing season for your particular area.
Pruning grape vines is not something that you can just jump into without some experience. There are many things that you need to know before you go through with the task.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at some of the various types of grapes and what pruning involves:
Roses (Rosé) – These grapes ripen early in the spring and remain green until late summer. They have a pinkish color when they are harvested and tend to have a light, sweet flavor.
Heritage (Noir) – These grapes ripen in the middle of the growing season and will turn a dark purple when they are ready for harvesting. They usually have a sweeter taste than other types of grapes.
Concord (blue) (Blues) – These grapes ripen later in the growing season and will turn blue once they have become ripe for picking. They are very sweet and have a soft flavor.
While there are several other types of grapes, these are the most common that you will find in any garden center. Now that you know what type of grapes you have at your disposal, it is time to learn how to prune them so that they can produce a large amount of delicious fruit for you to eat.
Pruning should always be done during the dormant season, which is typically during the winter months. Since pruning can be used to control growth and influence the type and quality of fruit that the vines produce, it is important to get a good idea of what you plan on doing with the grapes before you begin to prune them.
In most cases, you will want to prune the canes back by at least a third so that they are easier to manage. You can either prune the laterals or the terminal, but it is always best to remove diseased, broken or weak canes first.
If you are planning on planting a cover crop or tilling the soil during the next growing season, then it is best to leave the laterals on the vine as they will help to protect the roots.
The rules concerning pruning can be somewhat flexible depending on exactly what type and how much fruit you need. For maximum fruit, prune the vine back by around a third to give the plant enough energy to produce a good crop.
If you want to limit the amount of fruit that is produced, then you will want to prune the plant back by around two thirds. This will force the vine to put more energy into the fruit rather than wasting it on new growth and will result in a better quality of fruit as well.
This rule works with most types of grapes, but you will have to experiment a bit if you are trying to grow a type of grape that you are not familiar with. Once you have the vine in the shape that you want it in, be sure to mulch over the area where the root system is located so that it can begin to heal itself properly.
Now that you know how to prune the vines, you are ready to learn what type of grapes grow well in your area and just about everything else that you need to know about planting and harvesting your own crop of grapes.
It is easy to get started growing your own grapes at home. You can find all of the equipment that you need at your local nursery or you can do what a lot of gardeners do and that is scavenge for free materials such as milk jugs, bleach bottles or tires.
With a little bit of work, you will be on your way to growing delicious grapes in your own backyard. Just be sure to harvest often as you won’t want your hard work to go to waste!
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Sources & references used in this article:
A robot to prune the grapevine by F Sevila – Agri-Mation 1, Chicago, Ill.(USA), 25-28 Feb 1985, 1985 – agris.fao.org
Grapevine cordon following using digital image processing by JA Naugle, GE Rehkugler, JA Throop – Transactions of the ASAE, 1989 – elibrary.asabe.org
What happened to the robotic pruner? by B Rose – Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and …, 2019 – search.informit.com.au
GRAPEVINE RECOGNITION ON IMAGES by Y Wu, T Horváth – t-labs.elte.hu
Image processing and analysis for autonomous grapevine pruning by M Gao, TF Lu – 2006 International Conference on Mechatronics …, 2006 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
Assessment of the phytosanitary status of stone fruit trees and grapevine in Syria. by S Al-Chaabi, AR Darwech, F Esmael… – Arab Journal of Plant …, 2000 – cabdirect.org