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Pa Grape Growers, When Do You Prune?


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#1 poni

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 05:42 AM

hey,
I just want to know when you PA grpae growers tend to prune your grapes, i tried pruning in Nov. at dormancy but i feel this created an early bud break, so i was thinking of a march pruning from bnow on. What do you think?

thanks, poni

#2 Eric at Two Gails

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 06:13 AM

I prune as early as February and as late as early May depending on weather and convenience. Given the choice, I tend to go a bit later so I have good visual clues as to any winter damage. Hope this helps.
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#3 Howie

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 06:16 AM

I'm not in PA - I'm about 200 miles North of you (I Google-Mapped Freemont, PA) in Niagara County, NY. I believe most growers in our area prune their vines in March and April. Most varieties have budbreak in late April or early May here. I think one of the reasons for waiting until deep Winter is over is to assess Winter damage prior to pruning, especially with the more cold sensitive varieties.
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#4 K-9

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 07:18 AM

There is also a 2 stage pruning technique where you go in in the Winter - anytime - and do a rough pruning to get the bulk of the pruning done and go back in to fine-tune later on.

One approach is to leave 4 buds and then go back to clean them up to 2 buds in the late Winter/very early Spring. I will do this so that I can get weight off my wires so i can tweak the wires and posts a bit. I have a few wires that dropped down/sagged quite a bit due to the sheer weight of the vines and load of the grapes. I was amazed. Most are Ok though. I actually had a 12 Gauge stainless steel wire break on my Foch row. Hard to tweak all of this up by myself.

But that is my plan.

also if the buds break on the last 2 of 4 buds - you can prune and the closest 2 buds of the spur remain intact so hopefully no frost damage to the crucial bud set.

#5 PHC

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 05:08 AM

Hi, on a normal Spring I try to do my pruning in mid April, right around when my pear start to bloom.
Good Luck. TonyR

#6 poni

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 09:52 AM

Ok, cool, thanks everyone. I'll take your advice.

thanks, poni

#7 wxtrendsguy

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:09 PM

I try to do final pruning as late as possible, usually mid April. But last year was a real SOB! Way to warm in March and April. Fought frost well into May.

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#8 Gary P

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 08:41 PM

I am in the Antelope Valley Ca and we got a couple of inches of snow tonite! About a month ago I gave ny 2nd and 3rd leaf vines what I call a pre prune. I had 2nd leaf Cabs with cordons going 15 feet in each direction so I waited till all leaves fell and they started to harden off and shortened them horizontally to about 4 feet on each side and left 6 or 8 buds on each spur and I will prune again at budbreak. I am a novice and have learned a lot from you guys here and I really appreciate it. I hope it will work for me as I am winging it. As to letting vines sprawl without pruning the best grapes I got this year was from my Merlot vine I use to shade my patio and I drank 2 bottles with family at Christmas dinner and it was quite good,even my BIL said it was really good but still young and he buys alot of expensive wine.Happy New Years folks and may 2011 be a bumper year!

#9 bantam9

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:38 AM

I usually start second or third week of March.

#10 Purple Grin Winery

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:52 AM

I try to get done JUST before bud break, so that I don't damage any new buds when pulling out the old growth.
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#11 running wolf

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 11:41 AM

Along Lake Erie in North East PA into NY they have been pruning since the first of Dec. I would say they probably have 10% completed already. When I asked about it they said they need to start this early to be done by spring. At the end of each row is a colored ribbon showing which worker trimmed that row.
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#12 poni

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 12:59 PM

I try to do final pruning as late as possible, usually mid April. But last year was a real SOB! Way to warm in March and April. Fought frost well into May.


Aww man, i thought that early nice weater was a blessing, but i also fought that frost too! What a pain, but i made it through!

#13 poni

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 01:04 PM

Along Lake Erie in North East PA into NY they have been pruning since the first of Dec. I would say they probably have 10% completed already. When I asked about it they said they need to start this early to be done by spring. At the end of each row is a colored ribbon showing which worker trimmed that row.


Oh i see, ok well i guess i could start pruning now, or wait until march.. I think i may wait until march because i don't have THAT many vines to do (although i wouldn't mind) so i guess i'll wait because i can!

thanks!

#14 Wade's Wines

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 05:04 AM

Not to add confusion but a technique that was discussed here last year was waiting until after bud break and about 4" of new growth. This sets the vines back about 2 weeks, causing them to bloom a few weeks later and hopefully miss a late frost. I tried it in 2010, actually doing it in two stages like K9 mentioned, and don't believe I saw any ill side effects. We didn't get that late frost, so not sure that it made a difference there. My grapes had no more disease pressure than normal years though, but there were too many factors to say pruning time had any effect on that.
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#15 Howie

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 06:55 AM

Wade - that is a good approach in certain situations. The amount of time to ripen the grapes remains the same, so, with grape varieties that require a long growing season, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, you'd be jeopardizing their ability to fully ripen.
Howie Hart




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