Spring is coming! Buds are swelling, spring bulbs are coming up, the garlic is putting on growth. But winter’s not through yet and there’s one winter chore that still needs to be done. Pruning the neglected grape vines.
Any pruning needs to be done from the last week of January to the first week of February when the vines are totally dormant so they won't bleed sap when they're cut.
Mr. Tooey Cat and our out of control grape vines. Before they built a subdivision behind our house.
My dad planted our vines 30 to 40 years ago and they haven’t really had much in the way of pruning. Most years time just sneaks up on us. Sometimes winter doesn't get cold enough for the vines to go dormant and I don't like seeing sap running out when I make the cuts. Then there’s the dilemma of deciding which which shoots to leave and which to take. Sometimes I’m just plain scared that I’m going to kill the poor things!
So this year I’ve finally resolved to tame Grapezilla.
Another benefit of pruning in the winter is that it’s easier to see what you’re pruning without all those leaves in the way. I cut out all the dead wood first, selected which shoots to keep, and pruned away the rest. I tip pruned the remaining shoots so that they would stay in their own section of the trellis.
The two muscadines and our lone concord grape were a lot easier to manage.
Now that I have these vines pruned, I need to refurbish the support lines and trellis these vines properly.