Grapes are a favorite fruit of many. Why? Let's see, they're adorable to look at with their tiny little fleshy bodies, abundant with delicious juice. The vines that they grow on add a sense of dreamy elegance to any garden. So, whether you're growing them for wine or for the table, you're sure to enjoy growing grapes of any kind. This article, however, focuses on a specific variety of grapes: concord grapes. Just like any other variety of grapes, this one too requires proper and regular care for it to bear healthy fruits. Let this Gardenerdy article be a guide to you on pruning them so as to keep the vine healthy and producing wholesome fruits.
Pruning Concord Grapes
Concord grapes are one of the many cultivars of the fox grape family. Just like other varieties of grapes, concord grapes too are grown for purposes like consumption, wine making and also for various products that are made using its juice. They look absolutely lovely, these berries. Seen in deep shades of blue and purple, these grapes have a very full and fleshy body. Their skin can be easily peeled off from their bodies. They are a variety of grapes that contains seeds and have a lilting fragrance. These grapes are used in making products like grape juice, grape flavored jellies, candies, etc., apart from wine.
Growing concord grapes in your home for the table is a wonderful idea. There's nothing more delightful than having a basket full of fresh fruit, especially from your own backyard. However, this variety of grapes requires annual pruning to maintain its health. And that's what we'll tell you how to do in the points below.
- The first thing to be aware of is when you should be pruning them. These grapes are dormant during the winter, due to the heavy frost conditions. Hence, this is the best time to prune the vine.
- Sometime around the end of winter and just at the beginning of spring is the perfect time.
- Another thing that you need to keep in mind is the age of your grape vine. Concord grape vines need to be pruned only after a year of their growth. So, don't prune it before that. The trunk will not have developed by then.
- So, we're assuming that your grape vine is more than a year old. Now, the first step involves a proper visual assessment of the vine.
- Check the top of the trunk (the main stem, just like that of a tree, from which the branches sprout out) for all the dead, dried and diseases arms (the branches growing from the stem) and make sure those are cut out completely first.
- These cuts that you make should be made at least half an inch above a bud on the cane (shoots on the arms).
- When you hold the shears in your hand, make sure that the cut you make is at a 45º angle to the bud.
- Now, after all the dead and dried ones are removed it's time to focus on the weak looking shoots. Remember, concord grapes grow on last year's trunk, so you can't afford to have any weak shoots on the vine.
- When removing these weak shoots, cut them at least half or one quarter of an inch above the point where they are attached to the stem.
- Once the weak ones are removed, again survey the entire vine. Does it look neat to you? Are the arms on the lower parts of the vine getting enough sunlight or are the top most arms blocking it? If you feel that there is inadequate supply of sunlight to the lower branches, then by all means trim off as much as you want from the top. Don't worry if the plant looks almost 10% of its original self, this is perfectly all right.
- Now that you have only healthy arms and shoots left, check to see that there is at least a gap of approximately 10 inches between the healthy shoots. This will help the grapes grow better.