[NAFEX] Grape pruning problem
William C. Garthright
billg at inebraska.com
Wed Apr 14 23:44:00 EDT 2010
> Well, that's pretty much what you do, every once in a while. A grapevine suited to the climate it's in is pretty close to immortal; but the individual trunks aren't, they eventually need to be replaced with new trunks (though less frequently with something as sturdy as Concord than with some more tender varieties).
I didn't realize that. When you say "every once in a while,' what kind
of time frame are you talking about? Every five years? Ten? Twenty? Can
you give me a general idea?
> ... (or just above the graft if it's a grafted vine)...
I bought my two oldest grapevines, two Concords and a Caco, on sale at a
local nursery which has since gone out of business. That was before I
got interested in fruit at all, and I had no idea what I was doing. So I
really have no idea if they're grafted or not. They don't APPEAR to be
grafted, not that I can tell, but I don't know if that would be obvious
I bought other grapevines online a couple of years ago, and none of them
are grafted, I know that. (And generally-speaking, the graft on my fruit
trees is obvious, so maybe it would be obvious on grapevines, too?)
> Almost everybody who has to teach themselves how to prune leaves way too many buds. When you first prune a grapevine properly, it feels like you're murdering it.
Yes, that's exactly how it feels. All of my vines are so vigorous that I
have to prune off a ton of canes. But I always wonder if I'm pruning too
much or too little.
Heh, heh. My elderly mother was aghast that I was pruning them at all.
She grew up on a farm and insisted that there was no need to prune
grapevines at all. It was kind of funny. I went ahead and tried to
follow the instructions I found online (and EVERY website agreed on the
need for extensive pruning), and it's worked out very well. But I'm sure
she still thinks I'm nuts for pruning them back so severely every year.
> Underpruned vines are more likely to put on a lot of narrow, short canes that don't ripen the wood at the ends enough for it to make it through the winter.
I had a little of that this time, because I experimented last year by
pruning a LOT less than usual. I was trying to see if I could get them
to slow down their cane growth a bit. That worked, a little bit, but I
won't do it again (partly because I was so swamped with grapes).
I was worried that might affect the taste of the grapes, but they were
still very good. In fact, the Caco were actually excellent last year -
for the first time ever. I'd been planning to get rid of the vine, but
last year changed my mind. I don't know why they turned out so
exceptionally good, when they weren't worth eating in previous years.
However, I had one young vine - an Allwood only a year old - that I
apparently didn't prune enough, because the grapes were very bland and
ripened later than I expected. In general, though, things have worked
out very well with my grapes.
Thanks for the info, Rivka!
Lincoln, NE (zone 5)
When someone sends you something on the Internet that sounds crazy, how
about just checking it a little bit? - Rep. Allen Boyd
More information about the nafex