Flame Grape Pruning question - technical stuff

homey_birdJune 20, 2013


Apologies in advance for a long post and thanks for reading patiently.

I've been growing a Flame Seedless vine in my yard for few years and been getting fruits for 2 years or so. Last year, I pruned as per the books (spur pruning with two cordons, 8-9 spurs on each side, with 4-5 buds per spur. Sorry, should have left only 2-3 but got scared :-) Source was a UC Davis video on Youtube). I got berries this year, but they are far away from the main trunk, like on spur numbers 8,9. Also, the spurs 1-7 grew very vigorously but got no fruits on them.

Another interesting thing I noticed: I found a potted grape vine at Costco with two clusters of berries, with very short cordons, and on starting spurs alone there are fruit growing! (Side note: could they have treated them to bloom prematurely?)

Also, while visiting Disneyland, I saw grapevines growing in California Adventure Park, behind Wine Country Trattoria. There was no labelling but it looked like Flame variety. I noticed that none of its cordons was super long, they were short ones with again tons of clusters on a very compact vine. Unfortunately, I could not count the number of spurs and buds etc.

Now, I am wondering, if I make two more cordons on my vine, do I increase my chances of getting grapes? Is there a way I can get fruit on all 9 spurs on the horizontal cordon? Or will the fruiting happen on the end spurs no matter what? Does this mean that I prune the vine with more cordons and fewer spurs on each cordon to maximize fruiting? (And then, does this not resemble cane pruning?)

Sorry for the long post, and sorry if I made technical errors in describing. I am a grape newbie, and really do want to eat home grown grapes, but my real estate is limited so I'm trying to make most of what's available! Thanks in advance!!

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CA Kate

We had several different varieties, one was Flame, growing on a fence... for 'looks' mostly. At first I carefully cut each kind according to the 'rules' and didn't get much crop. After DH took over the pruning they got cut back every year following no rules, and in-between if they got out-of-bounds, and the critters enjoyed an abundant grape harvest, of which we occasionally were able to rob a bunch or two.

As to your specific question about cordons: the more cordons allowed, the more fruit. I typically had 4 major branches per plant and DH cut them back to what was tied to the fence.... 4 feet. Whatever buds grew off that were what we had for the season.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 5:57PM
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