Growing Grapes in Your Backyard
Most grape varieties are spur-pruned; that is, the dormant season shoots that grew the previous summer are selected and spaced along the vine’s cordons (main permanent arms) about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) apart. Therefore, on in a vineyard with 7 ft. spacing between vines, there should be about 6 or 7 spurs on either side of the trunk (12 to 14 total). Each spur should be 2 buds long.
When practical, choose canes that grew from the bottom bud or the bud closest to one arm of last year’s spurs. Cut back that cane to create a new spur that has 2 to 3 buds. Try to maintain the spurs at about the same height to prevent shoots from lower spurs getting shaded out from upper shoots.
Often fruiting shoots arise from the cordons or arms. At pruning time in the dormant season these canes can be selected instead of canes originating from last year’s spurs. Choosing these canes places the spur lower and closer to the cordon, but again, if possible avoid creating a low spur among predominantly taller arms and spurs.
Spur-pruned vines on an arbor are pruned in the same way; the only difference is the height of the canopy.
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