Pruning Grapes – Hard Work that Truly Bears Fruit
Pruning grapes is an essential part of growing the plant and, therefore, in making wine. The very sound of the word pruning can be easily interpreted as hard work…that’s just the way when you want to grow grapes for wines. You need to work to make sure that your grapes are of the highest quality. This is the only means of attaining a good harvest and great tasting wines. And when that happens, you are definitely in for a treat. Remember, the taste of your wine has little to do with your skills or expertise as a winemaker. Rather, the secret to great wines is no other than top quality grapes.
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As you may know, pruning grapes is just one part of the work. Of course, just like with any other crops, you need to ensure that weeds and other unwanted outgrowths are not siphoning off much of the nutrients intended for grapes. Although grapes intended for winemaking grow best in soil that is deficient in nutrients, this plant still needs food to grow and develop. After all, grapevines can take about 36 months before they can bear fruits. So, during the first few years, you really need to tend and care for your grapes.
By pruning grapes, you help the plant develop. And as more shoots sprout, the vine itself will be primed for further growth. But with too many shoots, a grapevine will unnecessarily use up more food. By pruning, you allow only the strongest shoots to form the arms of the vine, which will be attached to the trellises and where the fruits will grow someday. You see, ideally grapevines should be composed of only one main shoot where other tough shoots will grow on later. So you have to be vigilant and religiously cut off all the other shoots that develop prematurely. Pruning is also necessary in shaping the vine as a whole and improving productivity.
The method used in pruning grapes can depend a lot on the type of grapes you have planted. For the hybrid type, you will not be required to prune the vines regularly as the plant itself has been genetically designed to produce fewer leaves and shoots than the European variety. Often, you will only need to prune hybrid grapes to cut off old canes and spurs used for the previous year’s production. When pruning, you will need equipment like handsaws, loppers, and pruning shears. Always remember that pruning should not be complicated. It may require hard work, but it sure is worth all your effort.