Our neighbors also have two grapevines. They don’t cut at all, on the contrary, they pull the tendrils along the scaffolding for meters. Even so, they still harvest a lot of grapes every year. These do not grow on the long tendrils, but not far from the “heart” of the stick, but there are many. The foliage is sick (loads of mushrooms), but the berries look nice and taste quite tasty. So that shows that you can also harvest abundantly without pruning. However, regular pruning is better for development and fruit ripeness.

General rules

  • The best time to cut the main vines is March.
  • It is important to use very clean and very sharp tools.
  • First, the grapevine needs to be raised and built. Only then is it cut.
  • Fruit wood must be cut as close as possible to the old wood.
  • Leave a 1 to 2 cm stub behind the last counted bud. The stub prevents the bud below from drying out.
  • Make the cut at an angle so that the occasional “blood” that escapes is bypassed the underlying buds.
  • Do not crush the shoots when cutting.

Cutting the grapevine

I am assuming here that a correctly raised vine is to be pruned. In the first two to three years, the pruning is mostly used exclusively to raise the grape. Then normal pruning measures must be carried out. That is another chapter too.

Cut in late February or early March – winter cut

  • Cut no later than late February to early March. Otherwise, the juice will rise into the shoots. Then the vines can bleed to death. The juice may drip from the wound for weeks. That weakens the vine. It becomes susceptible to disease and pests.
  • Cut previous year’s wood. These are the long, thin shoots, usually yellow or red-brown. Its buds are green on the inside (scratch carefully). They are shortened to 4 to 6 buds.
  • Abundant fruit-bearing last year’s shoots are thick, roughly like a pencil, and are close to a thick trunk if there is already a framework. 5 to 7 of these “good” shoots are sufficient per square meter of vine.
  • You mark these already cut shoots and then cut off all the shoots that have not been drawn on the next thick shoot without a cone remaining.
  • After this cut, only a tenth of the original vine plant is left.
  • Now the fine cut follows: the remaining shoots in the lower area are shortened to 2 to 3 buds. The upper ones stay as they are. You then have to have an approximate number of 20 per square meter.
  • Cut off wild shoots on perennial wood

Break out in spring

You have to break out when the new shoots are about 10 to 30 cm long. That is the case in spring. This appointment is favorable, so that even an inexperienced person can still have a good overview of the dimensions of the vine. The shoots are stripped off by a little pressure from the side: It is still easier to grasp them at the base and tear them out, of course with feeling. It is beneficial to keep an eye on the vine for the next few months and to break out possible candidates. It’s quick and easy and you don’t need any tools.

It is essential to break out:

  • All water shoots, that is, all shoots that simply arise from the trunk wood and are not required for building the vine.
  • All shoots without visible inflorescences that sprout from cut fruit wood. It is important, however, to leave at least one new shoot close to the trunk.
  • If there are double or multiple shoots from a bud, the strongest and best with fruiting shoots is left and all others are broken out.

The summer pruning of grapevines

The summer cut is recommended for high-quality table grapes or very neat trellises. Particularly strong-growing vines produce a lot of long shoots, especially in the first few years. This is not bad for a while because the green mass strengthens the vine. However, there are more and more without a cut and the many shoots with their leaf masses are often a nuisance. However, by shortening it, the formation of greedy instincts is stimulated. They grow from the leaf axils and sometimes become extremely long. These stinging shoots are removed from older vines; they are left on for vines under construction.

If you would like a well-arranged vine that is simply beautiful to look at, you should carry out a summer pruning. Without this, the vines become bushier and grow away from the trellis. A summer pruning reduces the work of winter pruning. At some point the shoots will definitely be cut away.

The defoliation of the grape zone is also counted as part of the summer pruning. This is something very useful. You remove the leaves that cover the grapes, practically making space so that the sun can reach the grapes. It is important not to remove all the leaves at once, otherwise sunburn can result. The grapes don’t get sweeter, but they look better, properly colored. They also dry faster, which counteracts mold growth. I also defoliated my neighbors’ grapes, which were hanging on our garden side. The result was larger and bluer grapes. They were also more mature than those on the other side.

Rejuvenation pruning in grapevines

Grapevines can grow old. However, to do this, they have to be rejuvenated every few years, otherwise they will no longer wear. The annual cuts and the gnarled growth ensure that the waste can no longer be used after 5 to 10 years. It is therefore tapered to a water column close to the trunk. This upright growing shoot must be shortened. The future fruit shoots grow from the base buds of this shoot. If there are no water leaps, help has to be given. You take a metal back of a pair of scissors and hit the vine where you want it. The blow must not be too strong or too gentle. There must be a bruise. A surge of water then usually forms there.

Clearance cut on vines

The clearing cut is necessary for neglected vines, for example if the vines have a lot of branches with weak shoots and / or diseased leaves. Even if there is a lot of dead wood or the green grows only sparsely and far away from the wall and is limited to the upper areas, the scissors should be used. It is cut when the leaves are bare, preferably at the beginning of March.

First the framework is thinned out. The thick trunk arms are shortened or, if there are too many, some are cut away entirely. Then remove most of the remaining thin side shoots. What remains are some well-woody shoots from last year. These must arise directly or in the vicinity of the framework. Waterfalls from the previous year are again favorable. Cut the lower shoots shorter than the upper ones.

Re-form and bind
The instincts must be formed according to a form of upbringing. The easiest way is the free fan shape. New shoots with more than 4 to 6 eyes are tied horizontally, if this is possible without breaking off the shoots. This ensures even sprouting. The outflows can only be further formed in the following year.

The pruning of the grapevine really makes sense. You don’t have to be afraid of it either. If you don’t want to grow leaves, but rather grapes, you are well advised to take a few cutting measures per year. It’s just better for the health of the vine. If these instructions are too complicated for you, you can also make a very simple cut, not perfect, but better than without a cut. Here, too, the cut is made in February. You leave one or up to three main shoots and grow and shorten all new side shoots except for 2 to 3 eyes. Then you can thin out and remove leaves, otherwise you can do without another cut. This is the simplest option.
We cut our still quite young wine as described above and although it is only three years old, we already had plenty of grapes. I am looking forward to the next year.

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