The Q&A Archives: Pruning Grapes

Question: We recently bought a house that has a grape vine in the yard and we would like to know how to take care of it and how to prune it back so we will have grapes next year. We also have fruit and nut trees.

Answer: Sounds as though you have an edible landscape. What a terrific plan - beauty, plus food! Grapes produce fruit on new shoots that develop from old wood. You can cut back most of last year's wood, leaving at least two bud scars on each cane. This is where new fruiting wood will develop.

There are many books on the subject. If you're new to growing and pruning grapes, you may want some in-depth instructions. Try the book 'Pruning' by Christopher Brickell (ISBN#0-671-65841-7) for step by step pruning.

Grapes are quite easy to care for. Be sure they get plenty of sunlight and are watered regularly, especially during the summer months when fruits are developing and ripening. Don't fertilize or you'll get lots of rank growth at the expense of fruit. Prune them back when they get out of hand, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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