Before you start growing grapes in your backyard, you should get acquainted not only with the characteristics and characteristics of a particular variety, but also with the process of proper care for it. Pruning is one of the main procedures for caring for grapes. Depending on the purpose of pruning and plant variety, the appropriate type of formation is selected.
Before arming yourself with a pruner and proceeding to action, you need to familiarize yourself with the structure of the grape bush. The bush itself is called a liana and grows up, reaches for the sun. It has a root system with three types of roots:
There are also skeletal roots, the very first ones.
And also its structure includes:
- sleeves (perennial vine);
- biennial vines;
- annual shoots;
- stepchildren (very young vines).
Purpose of the procedure
Pruning is one of the main care procedures. Without it, it is impossible to get a high-quality and good harvest. If you do not prune, the plant will become overgrown with unnecessary shoots, there will be very few fruitful ones among them, and over time it will not be at all. All forces will be spent on the development of vines, and not on the ripening of the crop.
And also without pruning, the bush will become very vulnerable to disease. Fruits will eventually change size to smaller and lose their taste. The variety will degenerate and become unsuitable for further cultivation.
Depending on the ultimate goal of this plant care procedure, it is divided into 3 types.
- Sanitary (it is performed to improve the bush). Remove bad, broken, damaged or diseased branches. At the same time, good young shoots are left. With this treatment, one should not spare and leave half-living parts of the plant. This will eventually lead to the degeneration of the bush. Basically, the procedure is carried out in the fall, before the wintering of plants. Or at the first sign of the disease, to protect the entire bush.
- Regulatory (required to increase fruiting, distribute the correct load on the bush). Each variety will have a different load, it depends on many factors. Usually the procedure is performed in the spring, when you can see how many eyes are born on the bush.
- molding (needed to give the correct shape to the grapes). Shaping is done several times a year as the plant grows.
There are several types of equipment used. Their use is justified by the different thickness of the removed parts of the plant. A versatile pruning tool is a pruner, but to remove shoots that are more than 3 years old, it is better to use a bow saw, and for even thicker parts of the grapes, a hacksaw. To remove something where it is difficult to do it with ordinary secateurs, they use a special tool – a delimber. And for trimming shoots with a thickness of more than 1,5 cm, take a pruner with two blades.
For the care of grapes and carrying out almost all types of formation, the installation of a trellis is required. Fruiting vines are tied to it as the plant grows. The trellis is made of special wire and supports, which can be made of metal pipes. The thickness of those that are at the edges should be at least 50 mm, while the central ones will have a diameter of about 25 mm. Wooden stakes can also act as supports. They are located at a distance of about 3 m from each other. And the wire is let in every 50 m.
The length of the trellis in height should be at least 2,5 m.
There are several popular trimming schemes, we will consider them in more detail.
The procedure takes place in four stages.
- Purpose of the first stage – cultivation of one developed shoot. To do this, in the process of growth, all unnecessary stepchildren are removed.
- During the summer all extraneous shoots are removedexcept for the most powerful one. And by autumn it is cut to a length equal to 6 eyes.
- The next year after wintering install a trellis, to which the escape is tied. If the grapes have 2 strong shoots, they are bred horizontally in opposite directions from each other and fixed on a trellis. New growing shoots are formed in a horizontal position and tied to a wire.
- In the third year of the plant’s life, Crop. At the fourth stage, at the end of autumn, stepchildren are cut. Further in the spring and throughout the year, the grapes will grow by 10, and then 20 eyes up. The steps are repeated, but with lengthening of the vine.
The Guyot method is suitable for regions with warm climates. Often it is taken as a basis by beginner growers of their southern regions.
This method has a significant difference: in the process of formation, not 1-2 strong shoots are left, but 4-8. They are located like a fan (hence the name) in the same plane. But they branch out in different directions and at the same distance.
Closer to the ground, the plant has unopened dormant buds: they are needed to restore the plant when the main shoots die. For the first 2 years, the fan scheme is no different from Guyot’s scheme. For the 2nd year of plant life, a trellis is also installed. Further, in the process of elongation, secondary shoots are removed so that the bush does not thicken.
Harvest is first obtained on the 3rd year of the life of the grapes, when it has already grown 4 main sleeves. In length, they reach about a meter. And in girth – 1 cm. It is required to tie the culture to the wire during the third growing season, do it at a distance of 40-60 cm from the ground. Then they make pruning from the outside, leaving long shoots, but from the inside they cut shorter. In the process of growing the vines, small new branches are cut off, only 2 or 3 shoots are left on the sleeves from above. They must be tied up. Harvest links are grown by the 5th year. In the process of formation, up to 8 sleeves are bred, then the plant is rejuvenated.
Small stemless fan
This is a kind of fan pruning. A fairly new look, was invented in Moscow. Hence its second name – the Moscow stemless fan. Suitable for introduction into small areas where grapes are grown. This scheme contributes to the convenience of sheltering plants for wintering, and also stimulates fruiting and improves the taste of berries. This method facilitates the care of the bush and helps rejuvenate the grapes, therefore it is suitable for northern regions with a cold climate.
This method of formation allows you to reduce the distance between seedlings to 0,5-1 m, and between rows to 1,5-2 m. Sometimes you can use a one-sided fan scheme to further reduce the distance between plantings. Also, a half fan is used to form older plants, when they are already stiff and difficult to form. The small stemless fan is made in 4 steps, which last the same number of years.
In addition to pruning, carry out timely watering and top dressing of the plant.
Step-by-step pruning instructions are as follows.
- First year. The goal is to get two strong shoots at the end of the year. If, after planting on a bush, not 2 shoots begin to develop, but a larger number, for example, 4-6, then the extra ones are removed.
- Second year. The goal is to grow 4 strong vines, which will be the main arms. In the spring, all new shoots are removed to leave the necessary substances as the main ones. And in the middle of autumn, the main pruning is done. To do this, the plant is leaned at an angle against the lower wire of the trellis (the angle will be no more than 45 degrees) and cut off above it at a distance of 15 cm.
- Third year. The goal is the formation of a fruit link. To do this, we grow two vines on each sleeve. In the spring, we remove all shoots from below, except for one, which we leave to form a replacement knot. We cut it off, leaving 2-3 eyes. On each formed sleeve, we leave 2 strong shoots on top: these will be fruit-bearing vines. In autumn, we cut off the lower fruit-bearing vines on each sleeve, leaving 3 eyes on them. And we cut off the upper ones, leaving 6 eyes each. On each sleeve, one short knot and one cut upper shoot should remain.
- Fourth year. The bush should find its final form, which was achieved by this pruning. In the spring, each upper shoot is fixed horizontally on a trellis. During the entire period of growth of new shoots on fruitful ones, and then flowering and fruiting, the load on the plant is regulated. In young bushes, it should be less than in plants that have already fully fruited for more than a year. In the fall, only 1 lower knot and 1 top pruned strong shoot are again left on each sleeve.
During the following growing seasons of grapes, the bush is formed in the same way as in the previous 4 years. A loop is formed of repeating actions from year to year.
In the northern regions, due to the presence of shelter, a sloping cordon suits the grapes. The scheme of the inclined cordon is as follows.
- During the first year, one strong shoot is grown on the seedling, and in the fall it is pruned by about 10 eyes. This shoot should grow obliquely.
- In the second year after wintering, the shoot is tied up at a distance of 60 cm to the trellis (to the wire from it), maintaining a slope to the ground of 35 degrees. When about 5-6 leaves bloom on the vine, all secondary shoots are removed from it, leaving only the top ones.
- Between the first and second wire of the trellis there should be a length of 30 cm, and between the third and second – already at 60 cm. The upper shoots are tied up as they grow: first on the second, then on the third wire from the trellis. Sometimes a fourth wire may be required. From the third to the fourth, an indent equal to 75 cm is made.
- When fruiting produce rationing, leaving two bunches per two-year-old bush.
- By the end of the second year, 4 arrows are formed, cutting off 10-12 buds. Sleeve length should be no more than 1,5 m.
- After wintering for 3 years, all unnecessary shoots are removed, leaving only strong vines. The length of the segment between them should be equal to 30 cm.
- In the same year, the plant bears fruit for the first time. In autumn, pruning is carried out: the lower knots are formed, 2 eyes are left on them. On the top it is worth leaving 4-5 eyes, and also make the slope of the vines.
- In the spring for 4 years, a garter is carried out: the lower knots are tied to the lower wire, and the upper shoots to the second. 4 shoots are left on the sleeves: 2 on replacement knots and fruitful arrows.
- In autumn they create a fruiting link from the vine and the lower knot.
The cordon scheme has 2 more varieties: vertical and horizontal types of formation.
This method is suitable for forming varieties growing near arches or walls of arbors or pergolas.
- From the second year cut the plants so that 2 eyes remain on the fruitful shoots.
- Next year you need to perform a long pruning of both shoots. They are bred in different directions. One is placed parallel to the wire to form the future sleeve, and the second is placed vertically up. A fruitful vine will grow from it. Then it is cut into 2-3 eyes, and the sleeves are tied to the sides at an angle.
- 3 year the sleeves are cut into 3 eyes, and the vine itself (after 2 wires) – into 6.
- The shaping goes like this: a cordon is formed from the vine, and fruitful vines are formed from the side shoots.
- After winter, the entire vine is removed for 4 years.. And when the grapes grow to the desired length, all shoots (except those on the side) are cut out.
For example, Isabella grapes are formed in this way.
It is carried out as follows.
- One strong shoot is grown from a seedling. The rest are cut off.
- A year later (after winter) a horizontal garter is produced. Inflorescences leave 2, no more.
- In autumn, 3 shoots are left on one sleeve. Of these, the lower one is left as a knot, the other two are necessary for growing vines.
- In the third year in March-April, every 2 vines (fruitful) are tied up (vertically) to the support wire. By the end of summer, about 7 young vines will grow on the bush. Further, their formation is carried out according to the Guyot scheme.
- In the fourth year in spring, the entire cordon is tied up parallel to the wire.
A powerful, strengthened vine is formed over three years.
There is another interesting option for beginners.
- Any pruning starts from the upper shoots of the vine. Shoots 50-80 cm long are pruned during autumn. If the shoots have grown longer than 80 cm, then they are reduced by 10% and all shoots are cut off on the sides.
- After leaf fall, the 2 most healthy and strong shoots are left, their length will be no more than 80 cm. The lowest shoot is cut off, leaving 3 eyes. Such an escape is called a substitution knot.
- From the opposite side, 6 to 11 eyes are left on the shoot, the rest are removed along with part of the plant. The exact number of eyes left is calculated as follows: the diameter of the shoot is added to two spare buds. Thus, a fruit arrow is obtained.
As a result of this method, several powerful trunks and shoots (sleeves) remain, on which there are unopened buds, thanks to which a bush will subsequently form. The degree of pruning intensity is determined by the thickness of the vine. The thicker it is, the more it should be trimmed.
Gardeners inexperienced in pruning are advised to start with a shaping pattern called a stemless four-armed fan, although Guyot’s pattern can also be taken as a basis. It depends on the variety grown and the climatic conditions of the area. After pruning, the plants are treated with agents against diseases and pests, and they are also prepared for wintering. If the culture grows in regions with a cold climate, then the bushes are prepared for shelter. This is not required in areas with warm weather.
What does pruning depend on?
Formation depends on:
- climatic conditions;
- varieties, respectively, and the strength of the development of the bush;
Depending on the climate, one or another method of forming a bush is chosen. For example, the ease of use of covering material before wintering depends on climatic conditions. It is necessary to take into account the distinctive features of a particular pruning scheme, choosing it for a particular climate. For example, for northern regions with a cool climate, the scheme of a small stemless fan is suitable, and for more southern zones, it is better to choose the Guyot method. Molding is chosen depending on the strength of growth, climatic orientation, pollination technology and the degree of yield. Each grape variety has its own characteristics, they differ from others. For example, for Kishmish grapes, it is better to choose the formation scheme according to Guyot, since this variety belongs to the southern ones and has low frost resistance.
Trimming is different and in length.
- Long. With it, at least 9-10 eyes are left on fruit-bearing vines. Needed in areas where there is a high risk of kidney death from frost.
- Short. Here leave 2-5 eyes. It is used for varieties whose fruitful shoots are formed from the lower buds.
- Mixed. Fruitful shoots leave 5-10 eyes, and on a replacement knot – 3. This pruning is suitable for any variety and is considered universal.
Proper pruning helps the plant to develop in a timely manner, pollinate and bear fruit. After all, the goal of any plant care procedures is to obtain a high-quality, rich harvest for several years.
For information on how to form grapes correctly, see the following video.