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What are your tips for fertilizing and pruning grapes? I have had some growing close to 20 years and hate to admit I rarely fertilize. But they seem pretty prolific. I’m sure I need to amend the soil somehow. I’ve also read about pruning them and have whacked them back to a few vines in the past per some articles I’ve read. But as my health has deteriorated my care has too! LOL And it seems if I do nothing they grow better than ever every year. I started to just cut the dead vines, and left all the ones with 2nd year growth which I hear starts to produce the fruit. So it’s a tangled mess, but I have a bumper crop every year. I am lucky in AZ it is pretty dry so I dont’t have to worry much about thinning to prevent mildew or other moisture problems. Any ideas how to improve my situation? Thanks!


2 answers

  1. As far as fertilizing, that should be done every spring. I prefer to mulch the vines with a layer of compost or aged manure, and water in additional rock dust every few years. As for pruning, well you know the old saying..."if it ain't broke, don't fix it". That saying may just apply in your case as it sounds like your grapes are producing a good crop every year.

    There are so many specifics when it comes to pruning grapes--enough to write a book--and the rules change based on the type of trellis system you have in place, and what purpose your vines serve. For example, if you're more interested in covering an arbor or trellis and fruit production is secondary, there are a different set of rules. But if you keep in mind the basic rules, then you can go from there: fruit only forms on buds that originate from the previous season's growth; prune your vines when they are completely dormant; do not prune grapes the first growing season; and the farther the fruiting canes are from the main stem, the less likely they are to bear fruit.

    The method I follow when pruning for production is to leave the main trunk with four side branches of old wood (two sets of two, each set going in opposite directions). Then on each old wood side branch, leave a short vine of last year's new wood, with each vine having three buds for a total of twelve buds. Prune off everything else. Bottom line, if the way you prune works for you physically and you're getting enough fruit to satisfy your appetite, then you are doing your job well!

    1. In response to Kris_Wetherbee

      Thank you for some great information!

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