As a grape grower, you know that the first year of the vine is highly important. It sets the tone of growth for the future, promotes the development of the vine and helps reduce disease and prevent other infestation.
Here are dos and don’ts on how to prune grape vines in the first year.
- Do remove flower clusters. When your vine starts forming flower clusters, you need to prune this off early on. Otherwise, these flowers will develop into the fruit that you don’t want during the first three years of the vine.
- Do remove all fruit. Don’t use the fruit of the vine during its first three years. It’s important that you prune this off. During the first year, you want the vine to remain focused on establishing its root system and growing properly instead of bearing fruit. It takes three years to become well established.
- Do cut off the lateral shoots. You want your vine to grow upwards and not sideways. To control this, you need to prune off the lateral or sideway shoots that are coming off from the main or apical end. Remove all the lateral shoots growing from the trunk of the vine. When you reach the top, leave those shoots alone. This will grow to from the canopy of the vine.
- Do choose the shoots to cut off. Once you have removed the lateral shoots, you can now focus your efforts on the other remaining shoots, especially those that will form the cordon. Select the shoots that seem sturdiest and cut off the rest. Pruning allows for the plant to direct its energy towards growing properly and being more productive to produce a higher quality yield. If there are less shoots for the vine to feed, it will grow faster.
- Do form a straight stalk. Using some twine, secure the vine so that it forms a straight stalk. Securing the vine will also help prevent any unwanted lateral shoots from growing. You need to tie back the stalk on a wooden stake or trellis of some sort. You may also use some string or other material as long as it can support the vine. Tie the vines loosely to the stalk.
- Don’t cut off the leaves. The leaves on the vine must be left behind to provide the proper levels of carbohydrates and nutrients to the plants.
- Don’t use dull pruning shears and tools. Don’t give yourself a difficult time. Use sharp pruning scissors to make the job easy. As the vine matures, it will become more difficult to prune especially if you don’t use the right materials.
If you prune your vines properly, you’ll allow just the right amount of sunlight on your vines. Also, you’ll promote better fruit growth as well as set the direction of the growth of the vines. The root system of the vine will be established properly if you prune regularly and correctly. Prune the vines properly during the first three years so that in the succeeding years, you’ll be able to harvest a good grape that you can use to make wine or enjoy at your table.