How to Prune Grape Vines
Grapes can be pruned severely in winter or early spring while still dormant. Most people prune their grapes to encourage fruit set, and to train them to the grape trellis. If you do not prune the vines, more energy will be used to establish leaves, and less for fruit set. To be honest, I am still not sure I should be pruning my grapes or not. The permaculture way, would be to let them grow naturally, maybe just doing a light prune on crossing branches and dead or diseased branches. However, if you have grapes that have already been pruned, they will probably not do well if you stop pruning them. Also, you may have limited space and wish to train them to a trellis. I have been pruning my grapes for a couple of seasons, so I will continue for the moment.
1. It is a good idea to install a good, strong grape trellis, as grapes can get pretty heavy. My grapes are still pretty small, so I have a make shift trellis up until now, but I will be installing a new sturdier, proper trellis this winter.
2. Train the main trunk up to the wire trellis. Then allow the trunk to branch along the wire.
3. Prune any dead or diseased branches.
4. Prune any criss-crossing branches.
5. Prune any branches that will be shaded too much by another branch overhead.
6. Prune back 80% of last season’s growth.
7. Look at remaining buds and try to have them facing the way you would like them to grow.