Smart vineyard: shaping and pruning

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The widespread opinion that pruning grapes is difficult is initially incorrect, since the grape bush is designed very simply. In this article we will look at the basic basics of forming a vine, deal with the cutting technique and learn how to put in order the bushes already on the site..

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruning

Experienced growers say that pruning a vine is much easier than any tree. If trees, depending on the age and strength of growth, form special fruit organs (bouquet twigs, spurs, ringlets, twigs and others), which can be cut off incorrectly, you can lose the entire harvest, then the grapes do not have such organs. It is arranged quite simply – all normally developed shoots grow and produce brushes at the same time. The whole point of shaping the vines is to keep the grapes from overgrowing and to ensure that the vines yield approximately the same amount of harvest each year. For example, if in the current year the bush gave 30 shoots, and 30 brushes have matured on them, then you need to cut it so that the next year the number of brushes and shoots is the same. Do not be afraid to cut off the excess. Moreover, well-growing, healthy grapes can forgive us many mistakes. It recovers much faster than trees, and in the worst case, you simply won’t get the harvest next year..

Under suitable conditions, the grapes grow quickly, and if you give it unlimited space, then the bush will eventually turn into a huge tree, yielding a yield of several quintals. So why crop? – you ask. The fact is that the main condition for such a development of the vine is sunlight, grapes cannot live without the sun. And in dachas and personal plots there are few such places. Therefore, in search of sunlight, your bush climbs onto roofs and trees and bears fruit at the top, from where it is sometimes very problematic to harvest..

There is also another extreme – the bush growing on the trellis “peels off” very strongly, as a result of which it weakens, inhibits growth, and sometimes completely dies. The main thing in shaping is to keep the golden mean, and for this you need to understand the anatomy of grapes.

The structure of the grape bush

The grape bush is very simple. It consists of a branch, a fruit vine and a fruit shoot.

A branch is any part that has gone through at least two cycles in its development, that is, it is a perennial part, so to speak, a skeleton from which vines and shoots grow.

A fruit vine is a shoot after a full cycle of summer development, that is, from which the next year’s shoots will grow in the spring. Until these shoots mature, the vine remains a vine. After ripening, the shoots turn into vines, and the vines turn into branches.

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruning

The fruit shoot, accordingly, is what grows in summer. It emerges from the buds of the vine, elongates, overgrows with leaves and forms a crop. From the bases of the leaves, lateral branches can arise – stepchildren. By autumn, the shoot ripens and turns into a vine, which hibernates until next year..

So, the bush looks like this: the shoots are growing green branches, the vines are light brown in color, shoots grow from them. The branches are covered with dark bark, which is lagging behind the fibers. That’s all that needs to be distinguished when shaping..

The basics of forming any grape bush

Our initial situation is as follows – in autumn, we have a fruiting branch, which in summer was a vine, from which young vines protrude, which were shoots in summer. Before pruning, you need to choose two well-ripened and normally developed young branches located closer to the root – just cut off the rest (for what to do, we will talk in the next article).

Of the remaining two vines, the lower one should be cut short, leaving two buds, and the upper one – much longer, buds by 7-15. As a result, we get a branch with a vine and a knot at the bottom (Figure 1). This is the main element of the bush, which growers call the head. Any bush consists of such heads. The number of heads and the length of the vines of each bush may be different. It is in this way that the load on the bush is regulated, and therefore the size of the bunches.

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 1

Next summer, our head will look like this: shoots will grow from a knot, and shoots with a harvest will grow from a vine. It should be noted that two shoots should grow from a knot, the rest must be broken out (Figure 2). The basic principle in this case is that the long vine is the fruiting part, and the twig is the growth one, that is, the role of the vine is the harvest, and the role of the twig is to grow two new vines for the next year..

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 2

Autumn has come again. After harvesting, we cut out the entire fruit part right to the knot (it has already worked out and will no longer be useful). At the same time, a new vine grew out of the knot, which will become the fruit part of the next year. After pruning, we were left with a twig with new vines, that is, we got what we started with a year ago. It is from this that you need to make a new head again. And so every year (Figure 3).

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 3

It is important to note that, in general, nothing terrible will happen if three or four shoots grow out of a bitch, in the fall you can choose the most convenient one. The size of the brushes directly depends on the length of the fruit vine left, which we will discuss in the next article. The basic principle of such a formation is as follows: on each branch in the fall there should be a head, that is, a vine and a twig on it, and the head can be made in a year from any normally developed vine.

Highlights of cutting technique

When carrying out the procedure for shaping a grape bush, the following basic rules must be observed:

  1. You cannot cut with a blunt pruning shears, such trimming will leave deep “soaked” wounds, and this work is far from easy.
  2. Correctly cut the vines at the internodes – this way the extreme bud will winter better. But regarding the branches, on the contrary, the fewer hemp you leave, the less rot will be in the wood (Figure 4).
  3. When shaping the heads and leaving productive vines, you need to use those that grow from the top of the branch. Even if they sag under the weight of the bunches, they do not break. Growing from the bottom can break off if the crop is large enough (Figure 5).
  4. In the case of removing a part of a damaged or aged bush, it is necessary to follow the rule related to the optimal distribution of root nutrition, the essence of which is that the main feeding vessels are always connected to the substitute shoots. If those have already come out, then the power of the upper ones is weakened. In this case, it is completely useless to cut the side branches in favor of the upper central ones, on the contrary, you should cut off the top in favor of substitutes – in this case, the bush will recover much faster (Figure 6).

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 4

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. five

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 6

Knowing these basic rules and understanding what a head is, you can actually start shaping. However, in most cases, there will be real neglected, old and to varying degrees of formed bushes. Let’s deal with them first..

We bring to mind what is

Any summer resident on the site has grapes. And these already existing bushes are:

  • overgrown
  • old and sick
  • stretched out on rooftops and trees
  • “Uncoated” beyond necessity

There are, of course, normal, healthy and properly cut, but the owners of such bushes do not need our recommendations. We will not talk separately about those cut off beyond measure, here you just need to wait until they grow back, and then study the basics of formation. Let’s figure out how to tidy up overgrown, old and elongated grapes.

How to properly prune an overgrown bush

Experienced growers cut four-fifths of all shoots from the bush every year. For many gardeners, the main difficulty lies precisely in this – very sorry. In this regard, we can say that each new vine, the number of which increases by 7-9 times a year, needs to be provided with a solar free space of about 2 cubic meters. If you have the opportunity, then you may not cut it. However, it must be borne in mind that a thickened bush will give underdeveloped flower buds, and such grapes are very susceptible to diseases. As a result, we get underdeveloped leaves and unripe vines, which are mostly frozen in winter. From all of the above, it is clear that it makes no sense to regret. The bush should be trimmed simply and angrily.

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruning

Having carefully examined, we reveal especially weak branches, on which not a single normally ripened vine has appeared. A good vine should be at least a pencil thick, developed in length by at least 7-10 buds. If there are branches overgrown with weak trifles, we cut them out without any regret to the level of a normal branch.

It may happen that nothing normal is found on the whole bush, except for a substitute (that is, a lateral shoot near the ground). Wonderful. So it is necessary to cut everything out, in this case there will be less confusion. Here you should adhere to the basic rule: what has not given birth to good vines has already become obsolete.

Next, select one of the remaining branches, cut off all small and underdeveloped shoots from it, everything that is not ripe (green), as well as all the dead, which will have a transparent grayish or brown color on the cut. Leave only a strong normal vine (Figure 7 and 8).

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 7

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. 8

Cut the lower of these vines short, that is, we make a knot out of it. If on the branch besides the knot there are still 2-3 vines – leave one, if 4-6 – then two. The length of such vines should be 7-10 buds. All matching branches are processed in the same way, everything else is deleted (Figure 9).

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. nine

How to rejuvenate an old bush

If the bush is old, but still gives good substitutes from below, then the roots are normal and it makes sense to work on such grapes. If the old bush does not produce normal vines, it should simply be dug up and a new young seedling should be planted instead. How to do this correctly, we described in detail in the article “Smart vineyard: how to plant grapes correctly”. In the case when you want to preserve a dying variety, it is necessary to cut off ripe cuttings in the fall, root in one of the ways described here: “Smart vineyard: rooting without problems”.

It is not difficult to rejuvenate an old bush with normal roots. To begin with, we cut off everything except strong substitutes. Instead of one branch, it is best to leave a substitute 5-7 buds long.

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruning

When rejuvenating, it is necessary to pay special attention to nutrition and watering, if the bush has lost its lower roots, it is necessary to let the dews work, that is, catarovka in this case will be inappropriate.

In the summer, you need to remove half of the ripening brushes – it is best to leave one on each shoot. In this case, the strength of the grapes will go exactly to growth and rejuvenation..

The next year, you need to give such a bush no more than 70% of the load, that is, cut the vines by no more than 4-6 buds. We’ll talk more about load balancing in the next article. I would like to note again that during rejuvenation, special attention should be paid to feeding and nutrition..

Making a long bush short

There are two ways – you can just cut everything to the very stump and wait a year until new vines grow, from which you can form anything. Or, with a little tinkering, you can save the existing vines and win a whole year of time. To do this, it is necessary to understand whether it is possible to move the grapes to a new place. If so, then at this point dig a meter trench two bayonets deep. If the variety is very valuable for you, then it is better to do everything according to the rules, that is, to organize smart pits according to Karasev or the Galkin trenches.

Next, we pull the bush from the roof or tree – in this case, young vines will be, as a rule, at the very end. We make one head or several of them, depending on the circumstances. If there is only one vine, we cut it into a twig, as a result we get a bush into two or three branches. We fold the excess length into a ring, so as not to interfere, and plant the head (or heads) in pits or trenches. For better rooting, you need to scratch the bark from below. We fill it all with earth, mulch from above (Figure 10).

Smart vineyard: shaping and pruningfig. ten

During the summer, the buried part will take root, but you should not rush to separate it – the roots are still too weak, it will be best if you cut it off next year.

During the summer, shoots will also appear from the ring, which do not need to be removed, since they strengthen the plant. In autumn, the dug part can be formed depending on how you plan to grow this bush in the future..

Thus, you can move any bush from place to place. In this case, layering can be side branches or a top. If desired, the top can be added to a new place every year and at the same time get a powerful grape bush rooted in several places.

So, we examined the basics of forming a grape bush, decided on the basic rules for cutting and figured out how to put in order the already existing grapes. In the next article, we will talk in detail about the basic principles of forming grapes on a trellis or on a gazebo, we will understand how you can regulate the number of brushes, and whether you can get two harvests per year. To be continued…

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