From the University of Georgia
Pruning the Bearing Vine
Grapes require heavy annual pruning to maintain
quality and productivity. Prune during the dormant season. Because of
our mild climate, prune during February. Late winter or spring pruning
will cause “bleeding” (flow of sap through the pruning
wounds), but this should not cause alarm since it does not damage the
Note: Pruning is done in Florida during the following
dormant periods: (a) south Florida-January; (b) central Florida-January
1 to February 15; and (c) north Florida-January 1 to March 10. 2
Two Types of Pruning — Cane and Spur
very different types of pruning are used on bunch grapes. American-type
bunch grapes can be pruned by either cane or spur pruning. French
hybrid type bunch grapes are typically spur pruned. With cane pruning,
only the trunk is permanent. The cordons (arms) are formed by leaving
several of last year's canes. With spur pruning, the trunk and the
cordons are permanent and the current season's growth is cut back to
short shoots (spurs).
Cane Pruning (American type bunch grapes)
not over crop third year vines. Thin the fruit clusters to one per
shoot. Most mature vines (typically 4 years and older) should be pruned
to have between 30 and 60 buds. The more vigorous the vine, the more
buds should be left. Balanced pruning, a method of pruning to balance
production and vine vigor, is recommended for two wire systems. To
balance prune, select four canes of last summer's growth, one for each
direction on the two wires. See Fig. 1.
vine properly pruned showing fruiting canes and renewal spurs. Each
cane on the double curtain or two wire vertical trellis should be
pruned similarly to this.
should be selected from canes arising from the head of the vine. Canes
about the diameter of a pencil are most desirable. Cut each of these
back to leave 15 to 20 buds per cane. Gather up all of last season's
canes pruned from the vine and weigh them. Note: Do not weigh older
wood. As a rule of thumb, 30 buds should be left on the vine for the
first pound of prunings removed, and 10 buds for each additional pound.
Vines producing less than ¾ pound of prunings should not be
cropped. As an example, suppose a vine after pruning where 60 buds were
left yielded 3½ pounds of prunings. Then the number of buds to
be left would be about 55 (30 for the first pound and 25 for the other
2½ pounds). Each of the four canes left should be pruned back to
have about 14 buds each. If balanced pruning is not to be done, then 30
to 60 buds should be left; the greater number being left on the most
Leave renewal spurs to form canes for next year.
These spurs are also canes of last season's growth pruned back to leave
only two buds each. From these spurs will grow the fruiting canes for
next year. Renewal spurs should be located as near the trunk(s) as
Spur Pruning (French hybrid bunch grapes)
pruning is recommended for French hybrid grapes and can also be used
for American type bunch grapes, however cane pruning of American bunch
grapes may reduce disease pressure by removing almost all the old wood
Single wire low trellis with catch arms
late winter cut back side shoots that grew the previous summer. This
forms the “spurs.” Leave two to three buds per spur for
French hybrid grapes and four to six buds on American type bunch
grapes. Select shoots that grew upward in a well-lighted environment to
have the most fruitful spurs. Remove weak shoots. Thin the side shoots
to about 6 inches apart.
The second step is to remove water
sprouts, suckers and any tendrils attached to the trunk or cordons.
Finally, prune back cordon growth beyond the 4-foot point or halfway to
the next vine. In the spring allow four to six shoots per foot of
cordon to develop, removing shoots where necessary. Also selectively
remove leaves from around the fruit clusters to improve fruit quality
and help reduce disease pressure. These leaves can be removed shortly
after bloom but before the berries begin to change color and soften. Do
not remove leaves after the berries begin to soften because sunburn may
result. Thin fruit clusters to no more than two per shoot. As the new
shoots become long enough, place them into the catch wires.
Mature French hybrid on low wire cordon before winter pruning.
Mature French hybrid on low wire cordon after pruning.
Bunch Grape Page
Pruning and Training Page
1 Krewer, Gerard. "Home Garden Bunch Grapes." extension.uga.edu. Reviewed Jan. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.
2 Andersen, P.C., Crocker, T.E. and Mortensen,J.A. "The Bunch Grape." edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
Fact Sheet HS-17A, a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department,
UF/IFAS Extension. Publication Aug. 2001. Revised Apr.2014. Web. 8
Published 8 Nov. 2014 LR. Last update 21 July 2015 LR