[NAFEX] when to prune grapes
road's end farm
organic101 at linkny.com
Sun Feb 11 15:23:12 EST 2007
On Feb 11, 2007, at 2:36 PM, dwoodard at becon.org wrote:
> I basically know nothing about grapes; but the farmers here in the
> Peninsula (near the northern limit of commercial peach growing) seem to
> start pruning grapes about mid-January, about when woody plants hit
> maximum cold-hardiness - I speculate there may be a connection with
> *full* dormancy, but maybe it's just recovering after New Year's
> celebrations. They seem to like to complete pruning by the time the
> strt growing, then soon after they are into tying. But a lot of it is
> getting the work done when they can.
Commercial growers with a lot of acreage sometimes start pruning as
soon as the leaves are off the vines in the fall, in order to finish
the job in time. If you don't have that many grapes, though, there's an
advantage to waiting until late winter to very early spring: you have a
better idea as to how much damage that particular winter has done, and
so a better idea how much wood, and which wood, to leave on the vines.
My guess is that the growers in your area start as late as they think
they can while still leaving themselves enough time to finish the job.
You do want to be able to get the brush off and tie the grapes before
the buds swell, though. So be sure to start pruning early enough to
leave enough time for that. Tying needs to be done after the weather
warms up enough to make the vines relatively flexible, as extremely
cold canes break too easily to position them well (also it's hard to do
the job in heavy gloves); but if you wait till the buds are very
swollen, it's hard to do anything with them without knocking the buds
If you only have a few vines, in this area I'd wait to prune till March
or even early April.
Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly
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