Thursday, October 15, 2009

What is Grapevine Pruning

By Pierre Duponte

Growing grapes and making wine out of them, has been in practice since the beginnings of farming custom. In order to maintain a healthy grapevine, it takes work and dedication. Since it can take up to three years for a vine to give fruit, this time allows the grower to tame the plant's growth -and production- thru pruning. .

What is Pruning & Why is it Employed?

Pruning is the action of clipping back shoots and cutting excess foliage to control the plants growth and to ensure that no energy is being spent feeding dry or unnecessary plant sections. Grapevines are trained to maintain a consistent plant shape, size and productivity; a process that takes about the time it takes to grow your first harvest.

The Pruning Technique

The way that the grapevine is pruned is based a lot on the type of grapes that are grown on it. Hybrid varieties were developed to be hardier during the winter and more resistant to diseases. They tend to produce less foliage then the traditional types of grapevines. The annual pruning removes the previous years fruiting canes or spurs. Because fruit is only produced on shoots growing from one-year-old canes, healthy new canes must be produced by the vine every year

Why Prune: Benefits and Applications of the Pruning Process

The way in which you will prune your grapes once they have taken shape, depends entirely on the type of grape that you choose to grow. If youve chosen a hybrid grape, you know these varieties are suitable for the winter since they endure both cold weathers, and many diseases. As they generally produce less foliage, they will generally require less work than a regular European variety of grapes.

Pruning will rid your grapevines of fruiting canes or spurs from previous years that are no longer productive. Vines canes only produce fruit during the first year of growth, so new, healthy canes must be grown consistently to secure your next harvest. Another benefit of pruning is the ability to reduce the amount of foliage in your vine, as well having control over your grapevines production. The amount of shoots that you clip will be proportional to size of your crop. If your crop seems to have excess foliage that creates a shady canopy, make sure to increase your regular pruning in order to maximize the amount of sunlight that the vines receive.

Tool for Pruning

While there are various hand-tools to help you in your grapevine pruning, it is important to determine the correct one to use for your task to minimize vine damage. The most common tools in the market are hand-pruners, loppers and handsaws. Hand-pruners are recommended for weaker one-year canes, while lopes and handsaws are generally used for thicker plant sections that would otherwise be hard to cut with a hand-pruning tool.

Pruning is a simple process that will help you control the productivity and size of your vine, as well as the quality of the grapes it blossoms. Be patient during the first taming, and you are guaranteed to be rewarded with a top quality wine-making grape.

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