The Q&A Archives: Pruning Grapevines on Arbor

Question: We are trying to train our Concord grapevines up over our arbor. The vines are two or three years old, and are starting to look untidy. What is the best way to prune and train them?

Answer: Grapevines should be trained over a period of years to produce fruiting canes. Encourage each plant to form a single trunk by pinching out all but the sturdiest cane. As that trunk develops, train the shoots that develop by tying them loosely to the arbor. In the second year, select the sturdiest of these shoots and cut them back so that just 2 buds remain. New canes will branch out from there, and the buds will produce fruiting canes.

It's hard to go wrong with grapevines because they're so vigorous once they've become established. As you're pruning, take out the weak and spindly growth so the plants will concentrate their energy into the sturdy canes. Eventually you'll have an attractive branch structure on your arbor, and wonderful grapes, too!

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