The main pruning of Grapes is done in early winter. If you prune heavily in the spring you will find that the cuts will continuously ‘weep’ – as with most weeping this is not a good thing! In the home orchard the usual method of pruning is called Spur Pruning. After planting in winter reduce the stem to down to two buds. The spring growth that is produced from this cut is trained upwards to start forming the trunk. In the second winter prune this main stem back to the required height of the trunk and train one or two side growths (laterals) horizontally to form a fruiting arm. The following season’s growth will see shoots growing upwards from the fruiting arm. In the third winter these shoots should be spaced 15cm-20cm apart, cut out anything in-between and cut back the remaining upward shoots to two or three buds. This sequence is followed for each season thereafter. These buds develop into your main fruiting spurs and will become large and quite knobbly.
In summer wayward lateral growth can be snipped off just beyond a developing bunch of grapes. Leaves that are shading developing bunches can also be clipped away. If the vine looks over laden with bunches some of these can be thinned out but this is not absolutely necessary.
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm