Caring for Young Grape Vines
My name is David Handley, I'm with the Universityof Maine Cooperative Extension, and we're here to talk about how to prune and traina young grapevine. This is a vine that was planted last spring. We got it from a dormantplant, or rooted cutting, and you can see the original part of the planting right here.This is what we got from the nursery, with a good root system under it. We planted it,and we had a bud break and some vine growth. This is last year's growth right here. Thiswas a green shoot. Typically, you may get more than one shoot developing. You may haveseveral buds on here. We want to prune this back to one strong vine, your strongest one.We're going to arrange for that to be tied
up to a trellis, because this particular vineis what's going to become our permanent trunk, or the permanent part of the plant that'sgoing to be with us for the life of the planting. We want to make sure it's the strongest ofthe vines that we can choose from. Any other one that developed that's very weak, we canjust cut that out, select our best one. The time of year to make these cuts are whenthe canes are dormant, and this is going to be really any time after the new year, untilthey bud out in late March, early April. We hope in the first year that we get enoughgood growth that we can tie it to the lower trellis wire.Typically here in Maine, we're going to be
pruning to either a four arm kniffin trainingsystem, or an umbrella kniffin training system. Those trellises consist of two wires, oneset at about two and a half feet, and a second wire set at about five feet.We hope in the first year that we're going to get enough good growth to reach at leastthe bottom wire, but in order to make sure it's growing straight, you can see we supportedthis with a small bamboo pole. Any kind of planting stake will work, and we just tiethat vine up as it grows, rather than let it grow along the ground where it can getrot problems, and not develop a nice straight growth like we want. We tie it up, just likeyou'd tie up a beef steak tomato, get the
growth that you want.As I said, we've got pretty good buds here, reaching up to the first wire. You can seethat I actually make it to the top wire, but you can see the growth up here is very scrawnyand spindly, and isn't really going to lead to a good, strong trunk. I'd rather actuallystart new growth for reaching to this top wire for next year.What that means is that I'm actually going to cut this off here, rather low, to try toget this bud here to break and give me a much stronger shoot to develop my trunk to thetop wire next year. I can just take that there, and then, instead of using the bamboo polethis year, I can just tie it to the wire.
This bud will hopefully break, and give mea good, strong shoot, that I'm going to reach the second wire next year. Of course, thesebuds lower down will also break, and if this one happens to be weak, I may select one ofthese. But, if this bud does turn out to be a strong shoot, I'll be cutting these offnext winter and getting my single trunk back up to the top wire.Next year, when this does reach the top wire, eventually what we'll be doing is taking oneyear old cane, and either draping it over this top wire and connecting it to the bottomwire in an umbrella kniffin, or we'll be taking one cane at the top wire on each side, andone cane at the bottom wire on each side,
to create four arms of one year old growth,for a four\uc0\u8209 arm kniffin system. Both systems work pretty well for concretetype grapes here in a cold climate like Maine.
How and why are grapevines pruned Spur pruning Chardonnay
Well if you left all of the brush on the vine you'd have a bunch of little berries on there and they wouldn't get ripe, so you wouldn't have any fruit that you could make wine out of. IT would be just like second crop even third crop. So you take most of the brushoff and you just leave spurs, with budding buds, two buds on these spurs. Some people leave three. And then when the bunches come out they are nice big
bunches and the berries fill out, completely fill out to where a bunch will weigh a half a pound, maybe, and have a lot of juice, a lot of acid, and alot of color where the others wouldn't, they'd be pink. So what you do is you prune to improve the quality of the fruit. Now this is a Chardonnay vine, about 25 years old. And this is one the arms that comes off the vine. I'm going to clean this up and leave up and leave a spur out here. So I'll take all these off.
Well, a spur has got two buds on it, two fruiting buds. You cut the rest of it off. With 20 buds on it, you cut those all off. And a cane is maybe 20 buds. You don't cut it, cut the tip and then you tie it to the wire And all those buds come out with fruit on them. Most of them come out with fruit. You can prune differentlydepending on variety and how many grapes you want to pick. A lot of people leave canes so they get more grapes.
but you are then starting to infringe on the quality, which is not a good idea If you're making wine you ought to try and produce the best grapes you can. I'll leave this two buds on this spur, and that will be be nice and clean for next year.