Pruning Grape Vines
I started growing Concord grape plants this year. Since it’s their first year (there were no grapes), I’m wondering how far back to prune them in the fall. What about the next couple of years?
First decide on a training method. Grapes are such vigorous growers they will need yearly pruning and training to keep the plants contained and producing an abundant crop. Wait until late winter or early spring to start pruning. Select one or two strong canes to be your permanent trunk. Remove other stems back to the trunk. Next year you will be selecting 2 or 4 side branches (off the trunk) to train onto the support system. These will be pruned back and anchored onto the support. The severity of pruning will vary somewhat with the growing climate and training system used. Keep in mind that fruit is produced on the current season’s growth that arises from last season’s stems. Heavy pruning provides the best fruit while light pruning results in poor-quality fruit. Excessive pruning encourages lots of leaves and stems and very little fruiting.