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How to Prune Grapevines in Phoenix

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Seedless grapes do well in Phoenix's heat.
Grapevine image by Tomasz Pawlowski from Fotolia.com

Some varieties of grapes grow well in the heat of a Phoenix summer. Recommended varieties include Flame Seedless, Thompson Seedless and the European types (Vitis vinifera) that can tolerate high heat, according to Phoenix Tropicals. Cane pruning is the best technique for keeping grapevines healthy, controlled and productive. With this method of pruning grapevines, you prune your vines during their dormant season, in fall or winter. You’ll need to identify next year’s fruiting canes and then cut them back to one or two buds, according to Texas A&M University.

Cut new grapevines back to one cane—choose the most vigorous-looking cane and cut off all others back to the main stem, using pruning shears. When you prune the best cane, take off all but two buds, according to the Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Cut back your selected cane when it grows to about 5 feet long: leave 40 to 50 inches of growth and cut off 10 to 12 inches at its growing tip. This method will encourage the plant to branch out below where you cut it.

Cut all but the four most vigorous canes at the top of the vine back to the main stem during its first dormant season. With the four most vigorous canes, leave two buds on each cane—they will produce grapes the following summer.

Prune mature grapevines every year during their dormant season. Identify two of the best-looking canes at the top of the vine and two more that grow a bit farther down the stem. Cut these four canes back to 8 to 15 buds. Cut off all other canes to the trunk.

Remove the canes that produced fruit when the plant is dormant again. Then select the two best canes at the top of the plant that did not produce fruit this year and two farther down that also did not fruit. Cut them back to 8 to 15 buds and also cut off all other canes to the main trunk.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears

About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.