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How to Prune Grape Vines in the 1st Year

During the first year of growth, grape vines require training in order to develop a full capacity of new growth, so pruning back most of the new growth from that year is crucial to make room for the lush growth of the following season. Trim back grape vines each dormant season with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.


Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to prune grapevines the first year. And by training your grapevines from the beginning you will find that you'll have a wonderful future with lots of grapes on the vines but the important part is to do it right the first year. So the objective of training a young grapevine is to establish a good strong support structure for fruit production and develop a good root system. So you want to select the strongest shoot that grows from the newly planted vine and train it to the twine or a steak or a wire so that a straight trunk develops. And you want to promptly remove any others shoots that appear so as to direct the plants energy to the trunk and not the new growth. So basically you want to have one main stem that is going to support the rest of your grapevine for the future. And you want to cut off any extra vines or any starts that are coming off of that main vine so that all of the energy is directed to the first vine. So when you're growing a grape plant usually the first year you don't get a lot of growth it just grows onto the wire. And then by the second growing season you will find that you will get some growth on the bottom and then on the top and you can start training the vines to go either direction. And then by the second winter you want to actually cut out any of the bottom suckers and any of the top suckers and just leave two main vines and then that's what will grow best for the next year. So by the third growing season you will find that there will be lots of new growth and they'll grow very vigorously, but then in that next winter you want to cut out all of the extra growth, not the main vine but you only want to leave these two or three vines that are in the black. So this is called cane pruning and you want to do that the third winter before you prune it any farther. And then after the winter you will find that they will grow very lush again. Now spur pruning is different than cane pruning. In cane pruning you're pretty much cutting everything out. With spur pruning you're just cutting it down to just a few nods on each growth. So you're just cutting all of the longer branches and just leaving the shorter branches. And then that way you'll have little short spurs that will fill out really nicely that next spring and you'll get lots of fruit. And then from then on out you'll just kind of prune out any of the new growth each year and you'll find that you'll get lots and lots of grapes from year on out. So the old wood from the first year is what is going to support and produce all the grapes for the future of that grape plant. So by taking the time and cutting off the side shoots and just leaving the main shoot, you will find that you will have the best grapes possible.