shaping grape vines

dan8_gw (Northern California Zone 9A)May 29, 2013

I bought a perlette green grape bare root this winter and it has sprouted 6 strong healthy stems in all directions (left, right, up). I want to achieve the same form as in this picture. Is it okay to cut off all the side stems and stake only one up or should I just stake it and allow all of the other stems to grow as well? I'm reluctant to cut them because they are so healthy. When is the best season to do this?

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

It sounds well shaped so just let it grow. If it grows enough this year you can leave a small crop next year. Each year prune it in the winter.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:21PM
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dan8_gw (Northern California Zone 9A)

Here's a picture of it.
..Since I'm planning on having one central "trunk," will allowing the branches on the side to grow take away energy that can be used towards that central trunk to make it bigger and stronger faster?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:45PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

You can cut back to one shoot or let it all grow and build a trunk next year. Actually the best method is probably to let it all grow this year and cut it back nearly to the ground next year. This will result in a really strong shoot next year that makes a good plant. Most don't like this approach because they think they are losing a year. That's not the case because what's most important is the size of the roots. More top growth this year equals more roots and a bigger plant next year.

A middle road approach is to run the strongest up a stake for the trunk and keep the others. Then cut out all the side shoots next winter.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:07PM
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dan8_gw (Northern California Zone 9A)

Thanks for your very informative answer- I would have never thought that letting more leaves grow would equal more roots. I will allow all of the stems to grow this year to encourage root growth, and start shaping it next year. Very excited with this one because the leaves are very ornamental.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:27PM
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rosieo(7 NC)

"Actually the best method is probably to let it all grow this year and cut it back nearly to the ground next year. This will result in a really strong shoot next year that makes a good plant. "

That makes sense to me because it works the same way with climbing roses. When you say "nearly to the ground" how close to the ground are you talking about?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:30PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

rosieo:

Grapes are very reliable about sprouting back unless frozen. So it can be cut down to the lowest node. Then there will be a number of shoots. Train the best positioned strong shoot up the stake. This will give a straight trunk with widely spaced nodes. That leaves less nodes to debud where you don't want shoots.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:42PM
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TheDerek

Let it grow this year, then next year trim back all but the vine you want to be your trunk before it buds out in the spring. The extra growth this year will help the plant develop a stronger root system and store more energy for growth next year. They by eliminating the extra branches before it starts to grow, ALL the energy gathered by the removed branches will be pumped into the single vine and you will get good growth to that 'trunk' next year. Also on the trunk, you will get side shoots with grapes on them next year if it is healthy. I would remove most of those, but leave a few on so you get a few grapes and it will help prevent the possibility of developing 'bull canes'. Basically it will slow growth down slightly and use up some of that extra energy, bull canes tend to be less hardy and could cause issues in the future. Plant looks great so far, i really like grapes!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:02PM
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dan8_gw (Northern California Zone 9A)

Thanks for the very useful and detailed growing tips! I will do just that. I love grapes too, especially the small red crunchy ones. I've never grown grapes before until this year, and they seem to be a lot of fun, the way you can manipulate their form and all..

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 6:47PM
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