Prune grapes now!

Ask Henry

Ed, of Claremont, NH writes, “Is it too early to prune my grapevines?” No, Ed, this is a good time. Grapes are less likely to get diseases if they are pruned in winter when the canes are dormant.

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Grapes, like almost all vines, are generally very vigorous growers. A healthy grape vine can grow dozens of canes 10 feet or more in a single season. If you don’t keep after them, they will become a jumbled mass that is not productive.

This grape has not been pruned well and needs help!

Grapes grow on new wood. Which is to say, grapes grow on vines that are new growth on last year’s vines. The mass of vines that grew last year don’t normally blossoms or produce grapes this year. What you want to do is to prune your vines so that each plant gets cut back each year to just a few stubby canes.

This stub has buds that will grow new vines that will produce grapes

Ideally, grapes are grown on wire trellises. If you are growing in a field, set up posts with “T’s” made of 2 by 4’s at the 3 foot and 5 foot height. Then run wires through them to support the vines. The woody vines supported by the wires are called cordons. From the cordons each year will grow new canes that need to be cut back to the cordons.

Click here to see a nice U-tube video that shows how to prune grapes.


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