Pruning grapes in the spring is a key part of caring for this plant. Most owners of homestead plots make it mandatory to leave room for planting grapes. At its core, this is an amazing plant.
With the help of grapes you can create fancy decorative compositions in the garden. In addition, the fruit of this shrub is widely used in the preparation of homemade wines and various desserts. To get a regular and abundant harvest, this garden crop needs careful care. How to properly prune grapes in the spring, you will learn from this article.
Purposes of pruning grapes in the spring
Pruning a vineyard on a homestead plot is mainly aimed at improving the fruitfulness of the plant. By pruning regularly, the gardener gives the shrub the right shape. As a result, natural ventilation improves and enough UV rays are provided. In addition, a neglected plant pollinates much worse than a neatly trimmed one.
A garden crop like grapes is capable of bearing fruit for decades. Even if the vine looks old, you should not write it off. It is already a strong and frost-resistant plant. And fruitfulness to it can be returned with the right rejuvenating pruning.
Peculiarities of spring pruning of a vineyard
Spring pruning of grapes resembles a surgical operation. Its purpose is to cut off everything unnecessary that can prevent the plant from developing normally. For novice gardeners, it is quite difficult to determine which vine should be removed and which should be left. Therefore, it is necessary to tell how the scheme of spring pruning will look like.
To begin with, it is worth noting that the vine that will bear fruit has a light brown hue. But this does not mean that it is necessary to remove all the old shoots, hoping for young branches.
The fact is that young, fruiting shoots are essentially consumers. It only takes from the plant the nutrients necessary for its development, but gives nothing in return. After all, young shoots have neither leaves nor a strong bark. Old, perennial shoots, on the other hand, have all this. They are the pantry where all the nutrients are accumulated.
Therefore, the number of young vines must be strictly controlled to produce a harvest. Ideally, a spring pruning scheme helps to maintain a balance between old and young shoots. This approach allows you to provide the bush with everything it needs and get an abundant harvest in the fall.
When ti prune grapes in spring
The timing of the start of work with the vineyard is also of great importance. It has long been noted that the timing of pruning has an impact on the maturation of buds, fruitfulness and quality of the harvest. Spring pruning can be divided into two types: early and late.
As you may have already guessed, early pruning is done with the onset of the first warm days of spring. As soon as the thermometer scale approaches the +5 degree mark, you can arm yourself with a pruning shear and start pruning.
At this time there is no sap movement yet, so the cuts made will dry out faster. As a last resort, pruning can be postponed until the first buds swell, but experienced gardeners do not recommend it.
Late pruning is done when the shoots are already 5 to 6 centimeters long. This procedure is usually carried out in regions where spring night frosts are possible. Late pruning severely depletes the plant and slows down the development of the young shoots. Therefore, this procedure should be carried out only in extreme cases, and it is better to postpone the work until the fall.
How to properly prune for fruiting
The art of properly pruning grapes is not available to everyone. This process requires attention and diligence on the part of the gardener. Therefore, many gardeners prune this plant without thinking about the purpose and subtleties of this operation, just shortening everything in a row.
Any experienced gardener knows that this approach is fundamentally wrong. As a result of improper pruning, the vineyard will, at best, get sick and stop bearing fruit, and at worst, the plant will die.
For beginner gardeners, you need a detailed scheme of how to do the work. If you are going to prune grapes for the first time, you should do it as follows.
Before you begin, prepare the necessary tools. The best tools for spring pruning are pruning shears and a hacksaw. Once you have the tools ready, you can start thinning the plant. To do this, remove all the frozen and withered branches over the winter.
As practice shows, even withered vines rarely die off entirely. If there are buds at the base of the dry branch, it is advisable to leave them. The vine is cut as follows: it is bent to itself and shortened with a single movement of the secateurs.
On a two-year-old shrub, it is recommended to remove up to 90% of the young shoots. As the bases, two strong shoots should be left, shortening them to 5 eyes. This will be the bole, on which the fruit-bearing vine will appear and the bunches will mature.
It is worth mentioning about the replacement knots, they serve to replace useless branches with fruit-bearing branches. The most common pruning scheme is as follows: on each skeletal branch, a replacement branch is left (it is cut to three eyes) and a fruiting arrow (it is shortened to six buds).
This pruning is recommended every spring. After the first treatment, you should have two strong sprouts, the next year four, and so on. This will allow you to form a two-sided bush with four sleeves.
In the third year, the planted vineyard should already begin to bear fruit, so it is recommended to leave 2 strong shoots on each branch. The rest should be shortened to 40-50 centimeters.
- When pruning shoots, it is recommended to remove them not by the root, but to leave a small stump.
- It is recommended to shorten the vine according to the following principle: the stronger the shoot, the longer it can be left.
- It is not necessary to spare one-year shoots. The most common mistake of beginners is the easy pruning of one-year-old shoots. Experienced gardeners recommend removing them almost completely. Grapes grow and develop very well. Leaving one-year shoots, gardeners themselves help the plant to thicken, and accordingly – to give less harvest.
- To get large berries leave one bunch on two shoots. If the goal of growing grapes is to produce small and medium-sized berries, there should be one bunch on each shoot.