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Thread: Advice on pruning a grape vine (images included)

  1. #1
    graemlourens is offline Germinator
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    Default Advice on pruning a grape vine (images included)

    Hi everybody.

    A few years ago we bought land, where multiple fruit trees and vines are standing. Every year i'm focusing on a different one, to learn how to care for it. I do not know what type of grape it is. Its a light red to red color, with pips - thats all i know
    The vine is located in Poland, so lots of cold days, and few very sunny / hot ones.

    I've been doing dozens of hours of online research, and with most plants and trees, i am able to adapt the theory to my plant, but when it comes to my grape vine none of the advice i can piece together and adapt to my current grape vine with any kind of certainty...

    It was not taken care of for years, and i now have a very strange configuration with 3 main 'trunks' (still pretty thin, but gray dark wood, and approximately the thickness of 4-6 pencils each).

    This spring i gave it a go, and pruned everything way down, leaving those 3 'trunks' (not sure if this is the right word) and binding them on the trellis. Each 'shoot' (not sure again if its called this in my constellation) i pruned to 1-2 buds.

    Now in early/mid summer, everything is exploding, and we have shoots coming out, that are nearly 3 meters long. We do have fruit, but not much. I can count 6 groups currently forming well.

    It does not get a huge amount of sunlight. Only approx 3-4 hours per day direct sunlight.

    My question is:

    Is this the correct approach, and should i every year prune down the shoots to 1-2 buds, and leave those 3 main trunks.

    or

    Should i remove all trunks and start from scratch, then being able to construct a more classic arrangement with 1 trunk (cordon-style for example)

    or

    Should i remove all except 1 trunk and try to create a cordon style approach?

    Attached i have prepared 3 different images from 3 different views, color coding the 3 main trunks i have currently, for easier evaluation from you.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions i can get.

    Kind regards, Graem
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Advice on pruning a grape vine (images included)-img_3734.jpg   Advice on pruning a grape vine (images included)-img_3735.jpg   Advice on pruning a grape vine (images included)-img_3736.jpg  
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  2. #2
    nickdub is offline Sprouter
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    First off I'd say have a word with some local people in the area - as, if they grow vines, they'll be in a better position to know what works for them.

    Secondly I'm by no means an expert on vines, so I'm just going with the bit I know.

    I have established rods which can usually be 3, 4 or 5 per vine. The idea is to tie these up to whatever supports you have and them run them about 7 or 8 foot off the ground from there - in a greenhouse you usually use wires for support. You can use new growth to extend a rod or to replace it if necessary. The pruning is done in the winter when the vine is dormant. Any new growth from the rods is cut back to one or two joints from the rod and this will be the bits that fruit next year usually.

    Looking at your photos I'd say your vine looks like its young but growing well - if so, at this stage you are looking to train the rods to where you want them, but not to worry about cropping - in fact only a couple of bunches would be best, any extras should be cut out so the vine concentrates its energies on growing strongly.
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  3. #3
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    roitelet is offline Early Fruiter
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    If it were mine I would cut off all the rods(trunks) in winter and start again. Keep the straight bit of the blue one and then train new rods from there. What you have is very distorted and will be difficult to train. Don't train the vine too high or it is a pain to keep under control. All the new soft growth can be snapped off so you don't finish up with a jungle.

    Quite forgot, welcome to the vine.
    Last edited by roitelet; 17-07-2017 at 04:09 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Jay-ell is offline Welcome To The Jungle
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    Hello and welcome to the vine

    I have no experience or expertise with vines, but if it was mine I'd wait till February and prune right back taking out two trunks and reducing one to a height where it can be trained.

    I put vines in last year and ended up pruning them back to about the same height they went in at (or shorter) so I could start off with a single strong trunk. This year I'm setting up the main trunk and framework for their trellises system.

    As everybody knows you can't grow grape vines outside in the North-east of England I've got 4 of them outdoors on my fence.

    And to really confuse my allotment neighbours I've gone for a trellising system called Scott Henry which involves growing shoots up, rotating them and then growing in both directions.
    Last edited by Jay-ell; 17-07-2017 at 08:43 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Zelenina is offline Tuber
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    Hi Graem. I live in a part of Slovakia where nearly everyone has a few vines in their garden, and there are some proper vineyards too. I've seen from the diagrams in old Slovak books that there are many ways of training and pruning them. Really it's up to you to decide what structure you want it to have. The serious vineyard people grow them in rows and prune them very rigorously back to one or two buds every year. Other people grow long permanent stems up and over a framework to provide leafy shade for sitting outdoors. I inherited three old vines when I moved here. There is an old framework of poles but none of the vines are located in suitable places to take advantage of them. So one rambles through a peach tree. One appears from the middle of a mahonia bush, and the third one just grows in a heap. They usually all have grapes, but the heapy one only has one bunch this year, probably due to a frost at the wrong time for it. I'm not a very systematic pruner. Sometimes I don't bother at all. But if they get too rampant I wait until I can see the small bunches of grapes forming and then prune back to one or two leaves after the last bunch on the vine. It seems to work. I haven't managed to kill them yet. I only prune the new green growth, not the old brown stems.
    Last edited by Zelenina; 17-07-2017 at 09:31 PM.
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  6. #6
    Deltawhiskey is offline Seedling
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    Hi Graem,
    It looks like the previous owner planted the vine and did nothing to train it. One of the first things to establish is which of the trunks you should use. If it is a grafted vine you could have a situation where one or more of the trunks has come from below the graft. This trunk would be useless for grapes. If it is not grafted you can choose any of the three. There are literally scores of ways to grow vines but the two main ones for the armature are spur or guyot. With spur in the first you will grow one trunk training it horizontally onto the bottom wire pinching out side shoots at one leaf. The next year each bud will produce a shoot with most having flowers. Keep the number of bunches down for the first year. Next year cut the shoots down to two or three buds. As the shoots grow, keep the strongest and prune the others to three buds. Repeat the proceedure each year.
    Guyot pruning: leave only one trunk and cut it down to below the bottom wire. Choose the strongest of the shoots that grow and train it vertically. Remove all side shoots after one leaf and pinch out the top after about 2 metres. In winter (all pruning is done in winter) cut back this single rod to ripe wood node by node. Ripe wood is pale green on the inside and brown on the outside. The rod is then gently bent and tied to the bottom wire. The shoots will grow vertically and produce grapes. At the end of the year the fruiting rod nearest the trunk coming out of the ground is cut back the ripe wood the last years fruit bearing rod is removed and the new rod is bent down and fixed to the bottom wire. It would also be a good idea to remove the grass round the bottom of the vine. If you look on line there is plenty of information and diagrams of grapevine training.

    David
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  7. #7
    Deltawhiskey is offline Seedling
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    Just another bit of advice. Do not prune back fruiting shoots. Leaves are the power stations of the vine and it needs between 12 & 15 leaves to provide for the grapes growing below.

    David
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  8. #8
    graemlourens is offline Germinator
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    Thank you all so much for your helpful feedback!

    I do indeed would like to try and control this grape vine to the extent that i have regular and controllable growth & fruit. Not for the fruit its self, but for the practice.
    We have just planted more suitable grape vines in the different part of the garden, and i'd like to be ready for when they are older.

    I think my next step will be to evaluate on which of these 3 trunks the current fruit is growing, and compare the 3 trunks.

    After that i guess i'll take the approach of trying to keep one trunk, and spur prune it.
    I don't think i'll be cutting it all down, and starting from scratch, because it really is more of an exercise plan for me, and i'll train my new plant in the other part of the garden to more usual concepts. I do like the spur pruned cordon system a lot.

    I'll go do my homework in the next couple of days, and look closer at these trunks, but due to the crazy growth, its difficult to see much

    Thank you again all, and i'll be back with more questions or clarifications!

    Kind regards, Graem
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