GrapevinesHelp I think I messed up!


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Hello one and all. I have an arbor in which I planted 4 grape vines ( one at each corner) to vine up and over. I planted my babies last year in the spring. They grew up nicely, but then by late October I pruned them down according to cane pruning methods! I misunderstood the first year timing for pruning and neglected to wait the full year and pruned within the year ‍♀️

Now, I am in a pickle jam…. I don’t know what to do. I have made cuts to some canes already, but stopped myself because I am uncertain if I should even touch it right now. Can anyone help me with this?

I greatly appreciate this!
 
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Hello, and welcome to the Forums.

Don't prune anymore now, especially if you are trying to cover an arbor. Pruning an arbor is different than pruning a vineyard row.
If you want the arbor to be covered in vines form Spring to Fall, you will need to let a scaffold of trunk and main branches grow up and around the arbor. Theses scaffold Branches should not be pruned back every year. Once the scaffold is established, then you can begin annual pruning for fruit production. Spur pruning would be easier to maintain on an arbor, though cane pruning is also possible. Do you know which variety or varieties of grape you are growing?

I am not certain exactly what your arbor planting is like. What is the size and shape of the arbor ? How big were the vines after one season? Did they cover the arbor? If possible, photos explain this situation.
 
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Wow! Thank you for getting back to me.. I will take pics tomorrow. I did cane because o read it is best in cold temps. I live in Stratford, NY. The varieties are Edleweiss, King of he North, Sheridan, and Delaware.
 
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These cultivars are all vigorous American hybrids involving Vitis labrusca, V. riparia and others. Mostly these are intended as table grapes. The cultivar 'Delaware' is the most different of the four, being an American wine grape that may even have some European Wine Grape (V. vinifera) ancestry. This may prove to be less vigorous. If so you would prune it back less to allow it to catch up.

Is your arbor intended to be an ornamental garden feature with some incidental fruit or is a fruit crop the primary motivation? The answer to that will help you decide exactly how you want to prune it.
 
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D5484406-EBB6-41FE-A50A-A72403C2C336.jpeg
 
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Alright, for best fruit production you will want to give it a hard prune at the end of Winter, after the coldest weather has passed.

You will want to choose the sturdiest stem of each vine to be the trunk and prune all the rest away. One trunk is standard but some people do try to keep two. Prune the other trunks off. This may seem drastic but producing grape vines must be pruned hard to direct resources toward fruit production.

About where the trunk reaches the roof, you will want to select four branches. If you choose spur pruning these branches will be the cordons, part of the framework. If you choose cane pruning these will be guyots that are replaced yearly. Select two branches that will grow along the edges of the arbor and two that will fan out towards the center. Count the buds a the base of each leaf. If there are 15 or so tip prune the branch beyond the last desired bud. If they are not long enough yet let them grow. even though major pruning is done at the end of winter, you can and will need to trim during summer too as excessive branching and even excessive fruit will need to be thinned.

The next winter you will start pruning back spurs or replacing guyot canes. Eventually down the road you may want to do harder rejuvenation pruning, for example, if fruit production declines.

I hope that helps. Of course, there are many variations that a grape grower can experiment with, especially on arbors and other non-standard trellising.
 
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Yes! His helps immensely. I want to share some photos with you because I am uncertain if I am looking at this correctly. In these pics I am not sure if the way the trunk I chose is right. In some he ones I am attaching they split very low… do you see what i mean?
 

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Yes, those would be too low for an arbor. If you selected these as your branches to prune for fruiting. you would have low vines that would be growing out away from the pillars into the path without support and the roof of the arbor would be bare.
If you didn't prune those branches at all you would have an overgrown arbor, which would fruit poorly and erratically.
Keeping this many trunks is not recommended for fruit production, but it might be work well enough for a primarily ornamental arbor.
 
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Yes! This helps immensely. I want to share some photos with you because I am uncertain if I am looking at this correctly. In these pics I am not sure if the way the
 

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i sent the message twice in error. OK there is a break where it reaches the top. I guess I will choose the side that looks the strongest and take it from there. so just to be sure then I will leave the arbor as is throughout the winter. Once early spring hits give it a hard prune. Then, again during Summer and for next Winter I should prune before the frost right?
 
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The recommended time for the major pruning of grapes is usually the end of winter, beginning of Spring, before new growth commences, but after the coldest weather. Of course you can do some lighter pruning in Summer and Fall, but you don't want to select and prune your new buds late in the season as this can make them more susceptible to cold damage.
 
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Yes, that normally would be fine.
Is there some reason you feel you should take them off early?
 
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I just don’t know what I am doing yet 100% lol so I ask because I don’t want it to seem like I am not caring for the garden properly to those who are watching me work.
 
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