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Pruning and Training Systems for Grapes

Sharpen those pruners because late winter through early spring is the time to prune and train grapes. 

You may want to consider the Cordon system for training grapes. It’s relatively easy to manage and the plants tend to be more productive and the fruit is easier for you to pick.   In this method you establish a main trunk and several permanent side branches known as cordons. These permanent cordons are periodically renewed throughout the life of the plant. Each year you will need to reposition vertical shoots to a downward position.  Known as combing, this prevents shoots from growing over one another, insuring that light reaches all parts of the plant.

Consider the fan system if you are training grapes on walls and fences.  You will train several upright canes on a very short trunk.  Much of the new growth will tend to droop, providing a nice screen. The downside, you may lose some fruit that’s produced near the ground.

A bit more information:  Grapes have been grown and wine has been made for over 6,000 years.  Today 71% of the grapes grown throughout the world are used for making wine, 27% eaten fresh and 2% dried, according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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