How to Cut Down Grape Plants in the Fall


Grape vines are fast growers with a great payoff: tasty, juicy fruit you can eat right off the vine. Grape plants do need to be cut down each fall, however, so they don't grow too much foliage at the expense of fruit. Regular pruning during dormancy invariably leads to bountiful grape harvests the following growing season.

Step 1

Put on your garden gloves and examine your grape plant for new growth. The best grapes grow on shoots formed on canes from the previous year, so make sure the canes you keep are from this group.

Step 2

Pick out two to four of the healthiest new-growth canes, which are about as thick as a pencil with smooth, light bark and nodes that arise every 8 to 12 inches. Make sure these canes are near the top of the trunk.

Step 3

Cut off all the other canes flush with the trunk using your pruning shears. Work your way down the trunk. Your goal should be to remove between 75 and 90 percent of the new wood in addition to any old growth you neglected to trim the year before.

Step 4

Cut off any trendrils near the trunk or canes.

Step 5

Remove all the cut canes, tendrils and leaves from the base of the vine. This will give you a clear picture of what you have left and also give the plant plenty of air and sunshine.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't prune your vine too late in the season, or sap production will increase as the plant prepares for its new growing season. Excess sap could lead to bleeding, which can weaken or even kill the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Garden gloves


  • Gardening Tips: How to Grow and Prune Grape Vines
  • My Garden Tips: Pruning Grape Vines - Tips on How to Prune Grape Vines
Keywords: cutting down grape vines, pruning grape vines, grape vine care

About this Author

Thomas K. Arnold is the publisher and editorial director of Home Media Magazine and a regular contributor on entertainment to "USA Today", "The Hollywood Reporter," "San Diego Magazine" and other publications. An alumnus of San Diego State University, Arnold has appeared on such TV shows as "CNN", "E! Entertainment" and "G4's Attack of the Show" to discuss home entertainment and technology issues.