It is that time of the year again when the vines are ready to rest and build up reserves until the next harvest. The lush green leafy vines convert into dull and bare sight. During this phase in the life cycle of the vine, pruning is the elixir of life for the grape vine. Winter pruning is an investment for your following harvest season.
By pruning a vine, you help it live a longer and healthier life. It also helps manipulate the vine into producing the desired vigour, bunch size and quality. Early pruning promotes growth while late pruning increases fertility thus increasing or even decreasing production where needed.
The pruning season starts for each vine as soon as their leaves have fallen, and all nutrients and carbohydrate reserves are pulled back into the vine cordon, woody trunks, and roots to make it through the ice-cold winter. These reserves are then released in spring and are critical for successful bud burst and shoot growth.
There are various methods of pruning, each method developed to fit your farming style and desired outcome. After pruning vines, the wounds where the shoots where cut are treated to protect the vine from fungi. It is especially important to note that pruning in rainy weather or pruning wet vines can also lead to a fungi infection in your vines thus it is best to give your vines the time it needs to dry to prevent any infection.
Pruning is not for the faint hearted, you will require strong hands to cut through the old thick shoots, a sturdy back to carry you through the long rows and endurance to last throughout the winter.