A grape arbor is an inviting feature to any garden and adds a lush aesthetic appeal while providing a fruit harvest at the same time. In order to shape a grape arbor, careful pruning is necessary from the very beginning so all new vines focus on growing upward and over to create the arbor. After the shape pruning is done, you can focus on production pruning to create grape harvest for fresh fruit, wine, juice or to incorporate into cooking.
Pruning To Shape the Arbor
Prune back all shoots from new grapevines, leaving only the foliage near the tip of the main trunk.
Prune away any growth that strays away from the arbor and cannot be secured to it with twine. Tie the vines loosely to the sides of the arbor with the twine, doing as best you can to conform the vines to the shape of the arbor.
Wind the growing vine around the arbor's upward supports as you prune, besides just using twine. You want the vine to end up being able to stay securely to the arbor with no twine once it is fully matured.
Continue to tie and prune until the vines reach the top of the arbor and grow over each other lightly. Depending on your region and the grapevine variety, this can take several months to more than a year.
Pruning for Fruit Production
Prune the grapevine for fruit harvest in the winter once it is dormant and can handle heavy pruning.
Prune to focus on the strongest trunks and shoots once the vines have reached the top of the arbor. Prune away all the small, weaker vines that surround the woody sturdy shoots. The sturdier shoots will produce the most fruit.
Ask your local nursery about the production of the grapevine variety you have. Some varieties produce more grapes on canes, while others do better with spurs. To prune to a spur, count two buds from the stem and cut the vine after the second bud. A cane is usually eight to 12 buds in length.
Prune back weaker growth around the sturdy vines as they mature, grow and grow foliage. Repeat this process yearly.
About this Author
Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.