Grape vine

Hi guys, I have inherited a huge grape vine that needs managing. In fact it needs reducing by half. Can I cut it back now or should I wait till spring? Cheers Jo


  • I prune my grapevine during the mild days in winter,after the colorful leaves have fallen and the blackbirds have stripped off all the grapes.I tie in the growth I want to keep along my pergola and cut back the side and unwanted leaders to a couple of next year's bud notches.I don't think spring pruning a very good idea as the sap may start running..

  • I prune mine in October and no later,I did later one year and it really was poor the following year.I grow mine over an arch and cut all the shoots off leaveing a stem going over the arch.It was poor this year but that may be the weather ,it is over 34 years old and I tried to make wine with it but I am not very good at that! I have taken two cuttngs to grow over the fence to see what will happen.

  • Thanks guys. I shall give it a go next week. Almost all of the grapes have been eaten now and most of the leaves have fallen.
  • Susy BSusy B Posts: 29

    Jo, I was told by a person experienced in looking after vines they should always be pruned before Christmas before the sap starts to rise. I have done mine this way ever since and they have always grown well. The leaves have not fallen yet but the blackbirds have had most of the grapes, it is in a sheltered east facing position.  image

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 528

    Next week is a bit early. Leave it until it is fully dormant, late Nov to early December.

  • I have 3 vines that are now 2 years old, so far I have had no fruit on any of them. They tend to die right down so that they look almost dead, and then start to grow again around April May time? I get a lot of leaves etc and yet not a sign of a grape anywhere. I have strawberries, blackberries and raspberries in the same plot and these fruit really well. Any ideas on what the problem could be?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,563

    Hi Barbara, It takes a couple of years or more for a vine to become established.  The terrible weather last year also wouldn't have helped - my 40+ year old vine only produced about 10% of what it normally does.  Just make sure you prune them properly by cutting back all side shoots to 2 buds from the main stem (do that in December), keep your fingers crossed that we have reasonably normal weather next year, and I'm sure they''ll start fruiting.  You need patience with grape vines;  They take a few years to get going but after that all you need to do is prune them back each winter.  Pests and diseases are rare. 

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Bob is right Babara, I have four vines and they are of different ages. They do take a couple of years to settle down and need a sunny position to perform well. I find that the one in the GH never fails to do well but it had mould this year due to the damp weather. They are easy to strike and pest and disease resistant. I have one in a large pot(about 2 years old) and hope to emulate the commercial way of heavy pruning to see how it performs!

  • Thanks for the advice,I don't tend to cut them down, I just wait for them to die back on their own and they just come back around May time, I have them in with my other fruits (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) all of which are doing very well. I will prune them back this year and see how they are next year. Good job I have plenty of patience. Should I 'feed' them?image

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,563

    Here's the RHS advice on grape vines - lots of great info there including different pruning methods:

    Once they start producing and you see the flowers (which simply look like small bunches of grapes), count two or three leaves beyond the bunch and nip the shoot out.  As the weeks go by, the vine will produce more shoots from the joints of the remaining leaves - remove those shoots too as you want the energy to go into developing the fruit rather than making more leaves which it doesn't really need.  Also remove any tendrils which grow, unless they are needed for support.  Left to their own devices, vines will grow absolutely huge and fruit very little.  Any general purpose feed will be of benefit with a high potash liquid feed (like tomato feed) probably being best.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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