Knowing how to prune concord grapes is important to promote healthy growth and maintain the shape and size of the grapevines.
This guide consists of simple steps to help you prune grapes in the most effective possible way. Keep reading to know more about the entire process.
How To Properly Prune Concord Grapes?
To properly prune concord grapes, you should pick the right weather. To produce fruit, all grapes require heavy pruning, but after three growing seasons, various types require different pruning methods. Spur pruning is required for wine grapes and muscadines, while cane pruning is required for American grapes such as Concord.
1. Identify the Main Trunk of the Grape Vine
When it comes to pruning grapes, it is important to identify the main trunk of the grapevine, which is the thickest and most established stem. The main trunk supports the entire grapevine and produces most of the fruit, so it is important to leave it intact while pruning the other stems and branches.
To identify the main trunk, you need to look for the thickest stem at the base of the grapevine that is larger in diameter than any of the other stems that emerge from the ground. If you find multiple stems that seem the same size, follow each stem up to where it branches out into smaller stems, and choose the stem that branches out the least.
Another way to identify the main trunk is to look for the graft union, a knot-like structure near the grapevine base where the scion was grafted onto the rootstock. The main trunk will be above this graft union, and it is important to leave it intact to ensure that the grapevine remains healthy and produces a good yield of fruit.
2. Cut off All Side Shoots
Cutting off all side shoots from the main trunk is important to ensure that the grapevine produces healthy growth and a good fruit yield. Firstly, you must identify and remove the side shoots from the main trunk to prevent overcrowding and promote healthy growth.
Cut back any side shoots that are growing too long, as these can take energy away from the rest of the grapevine. Leave a few well-placed side shoots that will develop into fruiting spurs for the following year’s crop. It would be best to be careful not to damage the main trunk or any remaining shoots while removing the side shoots.
3. Remove Any Old, Dead, or Diseased Wood From the Grapevine
When pruning, removing any old, dead, or diseased wood from the grapevine is important. Firstly, look for any wood that appears dead, dried out, or diseased, as these branches must be removed. Always use sharp pruning shears to make a clean cut at the base of the affected branch, cutting back to the nearest healthy wood.
Disposing of any diseased wood is important, as it can harbor fungal spores that can infect other parts of the grapevine or nearby plants. Regularly inspect the grapevine for signs of disease or damage to catch problems early and prevent them from spreading.
The ideal time to prune is during the dormant season (also known as dormant pruning), which typically falls in the late winter or early spring when the grapevine is not actively growing.
4. Thin Out the Grapevine
Thinning out the grapevine is an important step when pruning. Firstly, look for shoots that are thin or appear weak, as these are less likely to produce fruit and can take away energy from healthy growth. Next, you need to remove shoots growing from the base, as they are unlikely to produce fruit and can also take energy away from the productive parts of the grapevine.
If there are too many shoots or branches, cut back the excess growth to ensure that the grapevine is not overcrowded. This will allow the remaining shoots to receive more sunlight and nutrients.
5. Train the Remaining Shoots Along a Trellis or Support System
Training the remaining shoots along a trellis or support system is the final step in pruning. Firstly, tie the shoots to a trellis or support system using flexible ties such as twist ties or soft plant ties, and ensure that the shoots are evenly spaced and have enough room to grow by training them along the trellis or support system.
Avoid overcrowding the shoots, which can make the grapevine more susceptible to disease, and regularly check the ties and adjust them as necessary to prevent damage to the shoots. Prune any shoots that grow too long or out of place to maintain an organized and healthy grapevine.
Consider using a specific training system, such as the four-arm Kniffin system, to guide the growth and development of the grapevine. Monitor the grapevine as it grows and adjust the training to promote healthy growth and maximize fruits.
Pruning and caring for concord grape vines is without a doubt, a challenging task, but you can do a great job by following simple steps. Here’s a summary of what you just read:
- To identify the main trunk of a grapevine, follow each stem to the branching point, and the stem that branches out the least is likely the main trunk.
- When pruning, remove any old, dead, or diseased wood by cutting it back to the nearest healthy wood and dispose of it to prevent the spread of disease.
- Thinning out the grapevine in pruning involves removing weak or spindly growth and any shoots that grow from the vine’s base to promote healthy growth.
- The remaining shoots should be trained along a trellis or support system using flexible ties and continue to be trained as it grows to promote healthy growth and prevent overcrowding.
- Pruning grape vines in winter is ideal because they are dormant so they haven’t yet invested energy into new growth.
Pruning concord grapes is important to maintain the shape and size of the grapevine and ensure increased fruit production. To make sure you get everything right, we have listed some easy steps above for you to follow.
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