Neglected Grapes - Knowledgebase Question

St. Johnsville, NY
Question by mmercer4
January 4, 1998
I have recently purchased a 150 year old farm house. It has several grape vines covering everything. Some of them are almost grocery store sized grapes on what looks like an old arbor. These are sweet and dark purple and unfortunately out of control. How do I bring them back to a harvestable state? I was told to cut them right back to nothing in the spring and see what happens. Is this true and what else might help?


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Answer from NGA
January 4, 1998

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This can definitely be done, but will be a labor of love. Take a few years(2-4) to accomplish it and all will be OK. Keep in mind that you want to get the grape back to a single trunk with only four strong, well spaced and SHORT branches left.

Once you pick out which branch will be the main "trunk", begin to remove all other branches gradually. You might begin by getting rid of all the trailing branches that may have begun rooting. Every once in awhile stand back and be sure that allis going as planned! Removing too much at once will stress the plant and that is unneccesary.

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