Every gardener knows perfectly well that the key to a rich harvest is adherence to agricultural technology and conscientious plant care. When growing vines, the most important and responsible procedure is the spring pruning of grapes. The condition of the vine, the quantity, and most importantly, the quality of the future harvest depends on this event.
Do I need to cut
The grapes are very fond of the sun, so its shoots stretch upward. And the fruits seem to accumulate solar energy in themselves, filling with juice, and are ready to thank the summer resident for his work and cares.
But the peculiarity of grapes is that they continuously form a large number of new shoots. The erratic, uneven growth of shoots strongly affects the formation of buds. Weak, sparse buds, in turn, cause a small number of inflorescences, most of which are barren flowers. This affects the palatability of the fruit - the grapes will be small and very sour.
Most of the nutrients are directed by the grapes to the upper, developing, young shoots. And if there are too many actively growing branches on the bush, there is practically no strength left for the formation, growth, and ripening of fruits. Sometimes a powerful, strong vine is simply unable to produce a large number of grapes.
Pruning grapes in spring allows you to form the vine, timely removal of excess and damaged shoots, which ensures high yields.
If this event is excluded or carried out in violation of the rules and terms of pruning, the grapes will gradually overgrow, the berries will shrink every year, the bush will run wild, and the varietal characteristics will be lost forever.
Therefore, the correct pruning of grapes in spring is a kind of renewal of the bush, which pursues the following goals:
- Cleaning from frozen, sick, and damaged branches;
- Thinning for the formation of a standard or non-standard bush;
- Increased productivity;
- Improving the taste characteristics of grapes;
- Preservation of varietal traits.
After pruning, you may find the grapes look unsightly. But this is the whole point of pruning, so that the sun's rays can sufficiently illuminate both the upper and lower parts of the vine.
When to trim: Spring or Fall
The timing and timing of pruning depends on many factors. Of great importance is the grape variety, its age, the growing method, as well as the climatic conditions of the growing region.
Late-ripening grape growers are usually pruned in the fall. Whereas grape varieties with an early and medium ripening period are usually pruned in early spring.
Frost-resistant varieties are also pruned in the fall, 15-20 days after the foliage has fallen off. But grape varieties that do not have good frost resistance are best cut in early spring.
Young, not yet formed bushes are subject to mandatory pruning in the spring.
The method of growing grapes is also of great importance in determining the timing of pruning. So, with an uncovered cultivation method, grapes are cut in the autumn. But if you are covering grape bushes for the winter, then in this case you should give preference to spring pruning.
Many gardeners prefer to prune the fruiting grape bush in the fall and form young grapes with spring pruning.
Before pruning grapes in the spring, it will be useful for novice summer residents to know that the event needs to be completed before active sap flow begins. Molasses flows out of the open sections. It is almost impossible to stop it. A large loss of life-giving sap negatively affects the growth of the vine. If you are even a little late with pruning, you can lose the future crop, and, possibly, the entire bush.
Usually, summer residents, when determining the optimal time when it is possible to cut grapes in spring, are guided by two criteria. The first is the air temperature 5˚C-7˚C, and the second is the state of the kidneys. Spring pruning must be completed before they begin to expand.
If for some reason you missed the moment and were late with pruning, then you can postpone this procedure for a while and carry it out a little later according to all the rules, or form a crown by blinding.
Blinding is a method of forming grapes without cutting off the shoots. In this case, dried, frozen, old shoots, as well as unnecessary young ones, are cut out. And for the formation you need to "pluck" the extra eyes so that the young growth does not pull off extra strength and nutrients.
Important! Sleeves, or as they are also called "shoulders", are the main, already formed branches of grapes, from which the fruiting shoots depart.
The author of the video will tell you how to properly break off extra kidneys:
Preparing for spring work
Before proceeding with the direct pruning of grapes in the spring, you need to prepare the tool. If you have covered the grapes for the winter, the vine should be opened and the sleeves should be carefully tied up.
The grape pruner must be very sharp and perfectly clean. You can check the sharpness of the secateurs on a piece of paper. For disinfection, a pruner, a sharp knife, or a small, with fine teeth, the saw must be treated with an alcohol solution.
Ideally, the cut should be straight, free from nicks, cracks or splits.
It is important to remember that a dull or dirty tool can kill the entire plant.
Basic rules for updating and forming a bush
Depending on the age of the grapes, it is important to form the crown correctly. To do this, you need to follow several rules, thanks to which even a novice gardener can cope with spring pruning of grapes:
- You need to cut the branches strictly at right angles. This method will speed up the healing of the open cut. After all, the area of an open wound will be much smaller than with an angle cut.
- First, remove diseased, frozen and damaged branches, regardless of your chosen grape pruning scheme.
- Do not leave too long shoots. For proper growth and formation, it is enough to leave 7-12 buds (eyes) on each shoot.
- Cut off shoots that have already borne fruit last year, being careful not to break the base. The cut should be done at a distance of 0.5-0.7 cm from the perennial shoot.
- For subsequent replacement, it is important to keep the shoots located as close to the trunk as possible.
- For the subsequent fruiting of grapes, you need to leave healthy shoots, the diameter of which is at least 5-7 mm. Very thin, as well as too thick, so-called fattening, shoots, the diameter of which is more than 10 mm, must be removed.
Don't worry about grapes looking bare and empty after pruning. The green mass will grow rapidly, and with it new shoots and inflorescences will form, which will bring a bountiful harvest.
Important! Pruning rules for young and old grape bushes are very different.
With the help of pruning, you can not only form young seedlings, but also revive frozen or overgrown shrubs. Grapes are a tenacious plant, and if there is at least one chance to restore and grow a crown, they need to be used.
You will learn how to properly prune running grapes in spring from the video:
Formation of a young bush
The vine always stretches upward, striving for sunlight and clinging to the tendrils of the trellis or support. If you do not control the formation of numerous shoots, the bushes quickly overgrow, which leads to a decrease in yield and a deterioration in the quality of fruits.
Therefore, when growing this crop, you need to know how to properly prune the grapes in the spring and shape the vine.
In the first 3-4 years after planting, young grape bushes are subjected to formative pruning. During this period, it is important to create the basis of the future vineyard - sleeves, which will bear the entire load. The main branches are formed in several stages, depending on the method of growing the vine. There are two common shaping methods:
In both cases, it is important to adhere to the recommended pruning scheme, while observing the timing, as well as the rules for subsequent care.
The difference between standard and non-standard forming is that in the first case, the main stem must be formed, from which the sleeves of the vine will subsequently depart. The stem height can vary from 0.2 m to 0.8 m.
When shaping without a pin, the shoulders of the vine are formed from the basal head. The number of sleeves may vary. Most often, growers prefer to form 2 or 4 stem vines.
Subsequently, during the formation of grapes in the spring, you can cut off excess shoots, leaving the fruit link - the arrow and the replacement knot.
Correct and timely formation of a grape bush is the key to abundant and stable fruiting.
A feature of the standard formation is that in this case, cutting the vine according to the indicated scheme is possible only if you grow grapes in a non-covering way. The varieties must be highly frost-resistant. Most often, this method is used when growing grapes on an industrial scale, as well as residents of regions with a mild, warm climate.
They begin to form a stem from the first year after planting seedlings. Below is a diagram of pruning grapes in spring for beginners in pictures:
- Year 1: The top of the grape seedling is cut off. Counting from the root, two eyes are left for the growth of shoots. All the rest of the growth must be cut out.
- In the 2nd year: the main stem - the stem - remains intact, and in the future you will have to work with the shoots that grew last year. On a higher and more powerful shoot, the top should be cut off, leaving 7-12 buds on it, and the smaller sprout is left as a spare one, it must be shortened, leaving only 2-3 eyes on it.
- In the 3rd year: during this period, the height and shape of the trunk is formed. The two upper shoots - now these are "sleeves" of grapes - are shortened by 2 eyes and tied to a trellis or support. Reserve shoots are cut as follows: one is shortened by 2 eyes (this will be a replacement knot), and the second by at least 5-6 buds.
- Year 4: The upper sleeves and unnecessary shoots should be trimmed to allow you to shape the grapes as you wish.
- In the 5th year: It is necessary to save only the main branches, which make up the fruit link, cutting off all unnecessary shoots.
- In the 6th year: during the formation of the fruit link, the replacement knot is cut into 2 buds, the fruit arrow is shortened to 7-8 eyes.
For more information about the standard pruning of young grapes in spring, novice gardeners can learn from the video:
Punching grapes allows you to save space and at the same time get a bountiful harvest.
Stampless bush shaping
The period of vine formation in this case is shorter. It allows you to form a full-fledged, fruiting bush in just 3 years. But this procedure has its own subtleties that distinguish it from the previous method. These differences are noticeable in the grape pruning scheme. Even a novice summer resident can easily find the differences in the standard and non-standard shaping.
- For the 1st year: you need to remove all deformed, diseased, damaged shoots, as well as up to 90% of the young growth. The remaining 2 shoots are cut 2-3 cm above the second bud.
- In the 2nd year: up to 60% of the young growth should be removed. On each sprout, 2 of the most powerful shoots are left, which subsequently will bear the entire load. They are shortened, leaving 2-3 eyes on each. By the fall, a large number of annual shoots will grow on them.
- In the 3rd year: it is important to correctly form the fruit links of the grapes. The lower vine (replacement knot) is pruned into 2-3 buds, and the upper part (the so-called fruit arrow) - not less than 7-10 buds. In this way, each sleeve must be formed. He must have 2 full vines, the rest of the shoots can be removed.
Subsequently, when forming grapes, it is important to remember that for abundant fruiting, you need to leave 2-3 replacement knots for the subsequent renewal of the crown, and fruiting shoots.
An experienced wine grower and video author will tell you more about how to properly prune grapes in spring for novice gardeners step by step:
Features of annual pruning
Fruiting bushes of grapes also need annual pruning. After all, in this way you regulate the required number of shoots that are guaranteed to yield, and you can lay the foundation for obtaining fruits next year.
Spring pruning of grapes is rather a renewing function. During this period, you need to remove:
- Fruiting branches (if you did not prune the grapes in the fall);
- Damaged, weak, diseased, frozen, thin shoots;
- "Fatty", that is, too thick vines, the thickness of which is more than 6-10 mm.
But it is important to remember that pruning grapes in spring and autumn is a single set of activities. When carrying out the spring procedure, do not forget about the autumn care of plants. During autumn pruning, gardeners usually leave about twice as many buds as necessary, thereby creating a kind of reserve in case some of them do not survive the winter frosts.
After the spring pruning of grapes has been carried out according to all the rules, you have to follow the standard care procedures:
- Regular loosening of the soil at a distance of 40-60 cm from the bush.
- Timely watering and feeding of plants.
- Timely preventive treatment to protect against pests and diseases.
- When shoots reach a length of 25 cm or more, they must be bent and tied to a support, thus forming a vine for future harvests.
The plants should be inspected every two weeks. During the period of formation and ripening of fruits, all fruiting shoots must be well fixed, otherwise, under the weight of the brushes, they can break off.
It's no secret that the correct and timely pruning of grapes in spring is an important and very responsible event. If you approach this process with special diligence and attention, this sunny plant will thank you with an abundant harvest of large, sweet and juicy berries.