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Old 05-26-2015, 04:53 PM   #1
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Can I prune an old ignored grape vine?

Ive had a grape vine growing for years ( I'd say at lest 5 + years, probably longer). I don't remember if I planted it, or if a bird did, but Ive just been watching it grow and ignoring it over the years.

Now that it has matured, and Ive gotten a few grapes over it the past year or two, I figured, maybe I should be taking better care of it and prune it properly.

Which brings me to my question, is it ok to prune the grape vine ( as it should be pruned) this late in the game ? or by doing so, will I screw it up?

It still appears to be manageable, it hasn't totally over grown.

Larry

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Old 05-26-2015, 05:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
Ive had a grape vine growing for years ( I'd say at lest 5 + years, probably longer). I don't remember if I planted it, or if a bird did, but Ive just been watching it grow and ignoring it over the years.

Now that it has matured, and Ive gotten a few grapes over it the past year or two, I figured, maybe I should be taking better care of it and prune it properly.

Which brings me to my question, is it ok to prune the grape vine ( as it should be pruned) this late in the game ? or by doing so, will I screw it up?

It still appears to be manageable, it hasn't totally over grown.

Larry
Winter seems to be the approved time to prune the vines. Perhaps the following can be of help to you.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=284
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Old 05-26-2015, 05:31 PM   #3
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Larry, I would wait till the fall, after harvest, to prune. We're into the growing season now, which isn't the best time to prune fruit plants; you'll be cutting off the buds. If there are any broken vines, you can remove those. You can also train the vines now.

Here's more info from Cornell University's Extension Office: Gardening Resources, Cornell University

And a video:
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:25 AM   #4
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I can't help with cultivated grape vines, but we yank the wild grape vines off the trees year around. What you can do, is watch the leaves...once they are about the size of your palm, you can harvest them for dolmadas. Pick the after the 4th leave down....and in the fall, prune them, make grapevine wreathes or napkin ring size...
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:46 AM   #5
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I'm in the wait till fall camp to prune.

Great idea CWS has to use the leaves.
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:56 AM   #6
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In the mean time, you can harvest the grape leaves and preserve them for later stuffing.

When I was a child, mom and dad would take my sister and me on a Sunday drive. Then dad would pull over in the middle of nowhere. Mom would hand my sister and me grocery bags and direct us to the roadside grapevine. We had to pick until the bags were full. She'd stuff those leaves for the most delicious meals.
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:41 PM   #7
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I've been growing grapes for about 15 years, and I can tell you the absolute best time to prune is in very early spring. Ideally, you want to wait until the last possible moment to prune. Around here we usually wait until the buds are just beginning to push out a bit (late April most years) but you don't want to wait until after bud break because you lose a lot of sap at the same time when the plant needs the energy.

When you prune you encourage bud break, so if you live in an area prone to spring frosts and prune too early, your tender young buds have the potential to suffer frost damage. Fortunately, there are secondary and tertiary sets of buds, so even a bad frost may not result in a total loss.

Pruning in fall isn't a good idea, either. Again, pruning encourages growth. In the fall, it's better to let the vine just harden off so it will survive the winter.

There is a real trick to proper pruning. You generally only get clusters forming on wood that was new in the previous year, so you don't want to completely remove anything that is shiny brown. Just trim these shoots back to leave first the 2 or 3 buds closest to the cordon or main trunk, and you'll get grapes every year.

Rest assured, there isn't really such a thing as a vine that's beyond salvaging, unless it's truly dead. Even a badly butchered grapevine will usually send out suckers in the spring. They have a very robust root system that encourages survival, even in the most adverse conditions.
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:51 PM   #8
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Sounds complicated, Steve. Good to hear from you.
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:22 PM   #9
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Hi Steve, nice to see you!
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:33 PM   #10
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Welcome back Steve, it's good to see you again!

Before my daughter got married, she rented a little condo that had grapevines on the patio. She had no idea what they were, and hacked off the top 3 feet or of the 'dead plant', down to almost ground level. I think this was around March.

We told her it was a grapevine (saw it before she hacked it up) and to start watering it. She did, and it went crazy - she had so many grapes she had to give some away.

They sure a beautiful vine - I would try my luck at some if I had the empty fence space to put up a trellis.
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