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Grapes need patience when it comes to pruning

Question: When should I cut my grapevines back? They’re on a trellis and are one year old. During the summer, they spread out very well and produced several large groups of table grapes.

I would wait until late February or early March to prune them. We still have some potentially difficult times to go through this winter for grapes. Cutting them early may result in a loss of bud wood and fruit production.

When pruning, you will cut back this past year’s growth (it will be a different color) so that only one or two buds remain. I prefer two. Also, I usually prune it back so that 10 or 12 buds remain if I do it early. Then just before bud swelling in the spring (about early March), I cut the spurs back to two buds. This way, if there is dieback during the winter, I won’t lose the fruit-producing spur.

Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at extremehort@aol.com. Visit his blog at
xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com.

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