Ask a Question forum: Two year old grapevines from a nursery

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Puddles1
Oct 23, 2016 12:07 AM CST
Hello,

I purchased (4) two year old concord grape vines from an on-line nursery. When they arrived the trunk of one of them was only an inch above the soil but very thick, two of the trunks were 6 inches above the soil and one of the trunks was 12 inches above the soil. They all have canes growing out of them. Because of how short they are, should I prune them back as if they were a one year old vine or should I simply go ahead and treat them like a two year old vine despite their lack of height?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Oct 23, 2016 4:30 PM CST
Welcome!

Did you just get these grapes? Or did you get them last spring? Hopefully, you got them last spring. What you are describing sounds like a one year old plant.

All grapes are started from cuttings so the 'trunk' is what's left of that original cutting. You should have a mass of roots with several canes. Choose the most vigorous cane and cut the rest off. Prune the remaining cane back to 3 buds. Those 3 remaining buds will grow new canes; when they are about a foot long, choose one and cut off the other two. That is your new 'trunk'. When it reaches the height you want your vine to be, bend it sideways along the fence or trellis.

From then on, encourage side growth and remove anything that comes directly from the roots. Everything should grow from the main stem. Fruits are produced on last years canes - the canes will only produce fruit once so will need to be pruned out each year.

Grapes grow quickly and are not finicky about pruning. At the end of the season after you prune, most of the vine will be lying at your feet. The good news is that you can start more vines by taking cuttings from your prunings and replanting them in the rows. One year old canes (the ones that had fruit this year) that are about 1/2 inch thick work the best.

Good Luck!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

Puddles1
Oct 31, 2016 11:57 PM CST
Hello Daisy,

Thank you for responding to my question. Unfortunately, I just received these four grape vines and they were purchased and marked as 2 year old grape vines. My sister purchased them for me after my grape vine that was three years old got eaten by a giant groundhog. Unfortunately, she did not realise that she should have waited until spring to purchase them.

I can verify that they are two year old grape vines because the bark is grey in color and is stripping off of the two year old cane compared to the new one year old canes that are growing from them. What it looks like they did was let the initial two canes just grow from the trunk without cutting them back to one strong central cane or securing it to any type of support within the first year so that they both flopped to the sides and then these two canes produced new one year canes this past year.

The problem that I have is that they weren't appearantly pruned or trained at all in the last two years or were pruned and trained wrong (one of them has a sucker attached to the root that is longer than the actual vine itself, this gives you some idea of the nursery these came from). Now the canes which would have been one of the canes to train to the top wire over the last two years are two years old and totally bent to the sides. I can't staighten the two year old cane to go to the top wire without breaking it and there are no additional buds attached to the original trunk to grow new canes from. Should I:
1. Try and straighten one of the two year old canes as best I can and hope that it will reach the wire next year and hope it doesn't break and cut all the rest off. Or
2. Cut the vines back on both sides of the grape vine to where the closest buds to the trunk are on the two year old canes and try and grow and pick the best one of these to train to the trellis next year and remove the rest. Or
3. Should I take one of the longest new one year old canes that are growing from the two year old cane and try and make this the initial cane that is trained to the wire.

Thank you for your time,

Puddles
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Nov 1, 2016 11:29 AM CST
I think, from your description, the plant did what it was supposed to do in spite of no pruning. So I would go with your Option 3. Remove the extra 1-year cane and use the 2-year cane as your leader. Train that cane to the top of your trellis. Definitely get rid of the cane coming from the roots.

Luckily, grape vines are very forgiving so if you don't think the 2 year cane is suitable, you can go back to Option 2 and start over.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

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