How to Prune Old Grape Vines


Growing grape vines also means learning how to prune old grape vines for quality fruit production the following growing season. Each year, when the vines go dormant, the grape vines must be cut back to remove old growth and make way for new growth and fruit development. You will know when the grape vines are dormant because the leaves turn brown and start falling off. It is important to prune grape vines so that the quality of the grapes remains high.

Step 1

Remove any dead leaves or fruit left hanging from the grape vines. Remove any debris and dead canes or leaves from the main trunk. Clearing the area helps to give a better view of what needs to be pruned.

Step 2

Mark the grape vines with colored tape to clearly separate new growth from old. Cut back grape vines that are 2 and 3 years old or older. The previous season's growth produces the foliage and grapes for the next growing season.

Step 3

Trim back all the grape vines to reveal two, four or six cordons.

Step 4

Cut back the remaining cordons so there are six to seven spurs hanging from each cordon. Cut off the ends of the cordons about 6 inches from the last hanging spur.

Step 5

Trim the spurs of the grape vines to leave at least five buds on each spur. Gather the loose vines in manageable bundles and tie with twine. Remove all trimmings and debris from the grape arbor. Fasten the grape vines securely to the growing system. Mulch the trunk of the grape vines with 6 to 8 inches of straw or 2 to 3 inches of sawdust to protect them from weeds and cold temperatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Colored marking tape
  • Gardening wire
  • Organic mulch
  • Twine (optional)
  • Fasteners


  • Ohio State University: Basic Principles of Pruning Backyard Grapevines
  • My Garden Tips: Pruning Grape Vines
  • Gardening Tips n Ideas: How to Grow and Prune Grape Vines

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University: Midwest Grape Production Guide
Keywords: growing grapes, pruning grape vines, prune grapevines

About this Author

JulieAnn is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently JulieAnn has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. JulieAnn is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her Bachelor's degree in English.