8 Years Old Grape Vine Has Never Been Pruned

GhadamesMay 4, 2014

Hello,

In my backyard, I have an 8 years old grape vine that has never been pruned. I don't know what type of grape vine it is, but I can tell you that it produces seedless green grapes every year. It is perfectly health, even though it has grown a lot.

See pictures:
http://cheapvoipequipment.com/1.htm

I've looked at grape vine pruning videos, but I'm really confused on how to go about for a vine that has never been pruned.

Do you have tips or steps?

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Plan depends on whether you are willing to forgo fruit next year. It's much easier if willing to skip one yrs fruit. If you are cut it back to just the trunk next spring or right now.

If you must have fruit every year cut off as much as possible but leave at least one cane of the youngest wood.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 4:16PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Grapes fruit on last year's wood so you can eliminate everything that's more than one year old.

How do you tell what to cut and what to keep? Older wood has rough bark that you can easily peel away and new wood (one year old wood, that you want to keep) is smooth.

So for instance in your last picture there's a huge, thick vine growing up and to the left with dark, "shaggy" bark. About half way up there's a thin vine coming off it that's almost growing vertically (it looks lighter in color, almost like a pale yellow). You could cut the huge vine off just about the joint with the little yellow vine and get rid of all that stuff. Then carefully bend the little vine down a horizontal position and tie it to the fence.

Don't worry about removing too much material. When you prune grapes, you remove something like 90% of the existing vine!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:51AM
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Ghadames

I know that I should keep the ones that are one year old, but last year's wood has grown on an older wood that it very long (with the exception of that new thin vine). So if I cut the old wood, the new wood would be cut as well.

If I cut 70% or 90% of the vine, would I still get fruits this summer?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:20PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

You should be able to remove 70-90% and still have some fruit. Even if you remove 50% this spring and 50% in 2015 you are OK.

If you can make some big cuts near the head of the vine you will get strong new canes from that area this summer. Those will be your fruiting canes in 2015.

Some big cuts in the right spot and leave some will get fruit in 2014 and good canes in 2015. So in spring 2015 you can remove all the remaining wood older than one yr. From there on annual pruning and you are good to go.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:37PM
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Ghadames

I've decided to remove 3 of 5 old branches that were linked to the trunk. I choose the branches that were going towards the fences and to my neighbor's backward.

Here are two pictures:
http://www.cheapvoipequipment.com/2.htm

The branches that are circled in red are the ones that I cut. Should I cut more (towards the ground?), or new canes will grow on them?

And I'm assuming the ones that are circled in green are new canes that grew last year?

My question is: If I don't have to cut more of the three old woods, do I have trim those new canes? And also the new ones that are on the two old woods? Isn't that part of pruning? But I do want them to grow and hang on the trellis.

On the second picture, you can see the new branch that grew last year. Should anything be done with it?

Hope it makes sense. Thanks so much for the help!

This post was edited by Ghadames on Wed, May 7, 14 at 16:28

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 4:25PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

When I try to view your pictures I'm told it's a risky site. So it's difficult to answer your specific questions.

But if there are last years canes arising near the trunk cut off everything else. And only leave about 40-60 buds worth of last years canes.

You can't ruin a grapevine by excessive pruning. It will put out new canes and that's what you need going forward. So cut off as much as possible over the next two years. From then on you are set.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 5:22PM
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molex

the site is fine, but not a good idea to host them on your personal business site. fwiw

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Ghadames

I've attached the pictures. It's not really a business site. I'm not selling anything on it.

I understand that I need to keep "40-60 buds worth of last years canes" arising near the trunk. But do I need to trim last year's canes that grew on the old woods (which I haven't pruned)?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:16PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

On that bottom picture there's one cane that's a different color. More brown than grey and about 1/2 inch caliper. That's a cane that grew last year and will fruit this year. If possible keep that and cut off everything else. That will be your new trunk and you can develop whatever form you want down the road from that one cane. It will bear fruit this year. It will also have about 40 shoots grow from it this summer. Keep about 4 next spring for 2015 fruit.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:40PM
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princessgrace79(8 PNW)

You really can't kill it. Not much help, but we recently trimmed up a grape that we had never really trimmed ourselves in 6 years and had probably been 5 years or more overgrown before us. A monster of a 50 year plus year old vine and no, we didn't kill it :) we are giving up this years grapes though. Our job was such a mess we just had to cut and look later or we'd never do it. Yours seems a bit more manageable. I think I would do about half and leave the rest for next year.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:45PM
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murkwell

I would do exactly what fruitnut suggests.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:14PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

Your vines look great but are pretty huge. As was said, grapes come on last years wood. But I am hesitant to cut 70-80% of the wood in the dormant season. That is a lot to hit a plant with. I like your plan of do half (or even a third) this dormant season and half the following dormant season.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:00PM
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Ghadames

I don't want to cut all the branches with exception of the new cane, as fruitnut suggested, partly because it's my parent's vine, and also they (and I) expect some fruit. They don't understand what pruning is and why it must be done. Having cut 60% of the vine is already too much for them.

Should I cut off the three branches (circled in red) at the joint between the trunk and the branches?

Also, I'm confused about the new canes on the old branches. Do I have to trim them and cut off a few buds? I will keep 40-60 buds on the new cane that is arising from the trunk .

This post was edited by Ghadames on Thu, May 8, 14 at 22:33

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:30PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

That stuff you have circled in red and green should all be cut off. It's of little consequence one way or the other. But if you think some is last years growth then keep it.

If you've already removed 60% and that's all you are comfortable with then fine, stop there.

But here's another factor to consider. You'll get strong new canes arising near where you make the biggest cuts. So making at least one big cut where you'd like strong canes next year would be helpful. That will give you more options next year. Make at least one big cut down low if you want strong canes from that area next spring.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Ghadames

There were 5 strong branches coming off the trunk (excluding the new cane). I've cut 3 of them. Those red circles are those 3 long branches that I've removed.

Why would the new canes grow next spring and not this spring?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:31PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

New shoots will grow from your canes marked in red and green assuming they aren't winter damaged. And you will probably get a little fruit if some of the green are indeed one yr wood. But those marked in green look too weak to bear much fruit.

If those areas marked in red are where you want fruiting wood in future years then you're set up.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Ghadames

If I don't want the canes marked in green to produce fruit this summer, should I simply cut off all three branches at the joint between the trunk and the branches. Or it makes no difference?

I just want to know if it would be a better option to keep the ones in red as they are, or to remove them completely (if I don't want them to produce fruit this summer).

This post was edited by Ghadames on Fri, May 9, 14 at 15:03

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 2:41PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Cut them off where you want strong new shoots this summer. Those shoots could be used as the trunk, framework for an arbor, and/or to produce fruit next summer. Grapes always grow back strongly from the vicinity of a big cut. Strong new canes are great going forward if in the right place.

The pictures don't show the whole vine. Plus you've not made it clear what form you want going forward. Are you trying to cover that arbor or a more standard vineyard style? And the other issues muddy things a bit, parents, too much cutting.

Don't let all that bother you. I'll state again, you can't ruin a grape by excessive pruning. If healthy they always come back like gang busters. Watch how the plant responds and correct any errors going forward. You always get a second chance on grapes.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, May 9, 14 at 15:39

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 3:33PM
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Ghadames

Thanks for the help, fruitnut! Yes, going forward, I'd like to prune the vine in a way that would cover the arbor, but I just don't know how to do so. So for now, I'll keep it the way it is, and next spring, we'll figure it out.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 4:00PM
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Ghadames

Thanks for the help, fruitnut! Yes, going forward, I'd like to prune the vine in a way that would cover the arbor, but I just don't know how to do so. So for now, I'll keep it the way it is, and next spring, we'll figure it out.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Ghadames

I just want to provide an update on my grape vine. I'm not sure if there's something wrong with it. There are a few new leaves on it, but I don't know why the majority of the buds haven't opened up. Usually by this time of the year, it's full of leaves which is not the case. I know that for the past few weeks, it bled a lot (I read on the online that it shouldn't be a problem.

I've also noticed a few new canes showing up at the bottom and elsewhere. So that's good news.

Any idea why there's a delay, and if there's something wrong with it?

This post was edited by Ghadames on Mon, May 26, 14 at 15:53

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 3:52PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Most of the top may have been killed in the cold this winter. If that's the case you will get strong shoots from down low. Looks like that's what's happening. Train those as you like. Next yr canes arising from the canes that grow this yr will bear fruit.

This is your excuse to clear out as much of the old canes as possible. Then you will have a clean slate to build a new plant as you wish.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Ghadames

Killed in the cold? Strange, I've never seen that happen to my grape vine. It is very winter hardy. But I am seeing many new canes popping up. I think I will wait until the end of the summer and see what happens before I prune again.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Ghadames

Another update on my vine. I think it is possible that the cold weather might have killed most of it. I think we had one of the coldest (if not coldest) winter in a decade. I also noticed another grape vine in my neighborhood that had a few leaves like mine, but I saw it from distance, so I'm not sure.

The new canes are still growing. However, I noticed something strange. Some of the new leaves look dried up with light green spots, sometimes with holes (probably caused by insects). See pictures. Not all of the leaves are like this, maybe 50-60%. Is it some sort of disease?

Growth seems slow to me. Usually, when I apply Miracle Gro in May, it grows like crazy. I haven't yet applied it this year because I'd like to know if there's something with it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:00PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I wouldn't consider that anything serious. The growth looks good to me.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Ghadames

I'm beginning to think there's something wrong with my grape vine. The new canes growing from the trunk just look weak. The leaves look deformed and don't look like healthy ones. Notice the dark dots on the green stem. I can post close up pictures.

There aren't as many on the new canes growing on last year's canes. It's mostly on the new canes growing near the trunk. I don't know if it is spreading.

I've never seen leaves like these before. Does anyone know what it is? I'm starting to regret pruning it. I don't know if it might have caused it somehow.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 11:27PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'm thinking freeze injury does strange things to grapes. Mine have taken a hit two yrs in a row in spring. I protected as much as I could but didn't do much for the trunk. The foliage and especially the fruit have looked bad both yrs. Many of the berries are small and deformed. I have the same varieties in the greenhouse and the differences are obvious. This yr it's bad enough that I'm thinking disease also but really think it's just the freezes.

I think we both need to relax and see what things look like after a good winter/spring, hopefully next year.

I'm pretty sure your issues aren't due to pruning.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:06AM
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Ghadames

fruitnut,

Do you think it could be a virus (like Grapevine Fanleaf Virus). I've look up on the internet and it says that it can cause deformed leaves a bit like the pictures I've posted. And also: "By late summer leaves roll downwards starting at the base of the shoots. The leaf blade may be bright yellow or red, but the main veins remains green." In my case, no yellow or red spots so far.

I think I'm going to take a leaf and have it tested, but don't know where.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:21AM
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