Grape Vines didn't reach the top wire...

Discussion in 'Grapes and Grape Vines' started by Brian2412, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Brian2412

    Brian2412 Member

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    Location:
    Richland, WA
    I’m looking for some advice/discussion about how to proceed.

    I planted 7 different grape vines this spring with various results (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sangiovese, Tempranillo). I planted a little late (April/May) here in Richland, WA (Washington Wine Country) in my sandy (QuD), Alkaline soil. I’m training these to a single cordon but only one of the vines made it to the top wire this first year (Chardonnay). The others had varying growth between 3-4 feet with the exception of the Tempranillo (planted latest – late May – and only grew up 12-18â€. I pinched all grape growth (clusters) when I saw them, and once one of the shoots came out about 6 inches I rubbed the others off to concentrate growth vertically.

    In researching how to proceed (pruning wise) I’ve received conflicting information:
    1) Some say to prune back to 2-3 buds and essentially start over…
    2) Some say to let them be…they will reach the top wire early in the second year and will continue to grow just fine.
    3) Some say to prune back to where the trunk is at least as thick as a pencil…

    How do you recommend I proceed? These are aligned in our back yard for asthetics…I won’t be making wine or anything…just want them to grow up faster…

    Here are photo’s of the grapes so you can see their growth rates. The bottom wire is at 3 feet and the top is at 5 feet. Thank you for your help!!!

    1)Cabernet Sauvignon (about 4 feet growth)
    2)Chardonnay (5+ feet of growth)
    3)Merlot (~4 feet growth)
    4)Pinot Noir (3-4 feet growth) (Sorry not the best photo)
    5)Riesling (3-4 feet growth) (Again, not the best photo)
    6)Sangiovese (4 feet growth)
    7)Tempranillo (12 inches growth – planted very late, but not very vigorous)
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Burnaby, Canada
    I haven't grown wine grapes, but I assume that their growth habits are similar to table grapes. I've found that grapes are very tolerant of any kind of pruning; it would be difficult to kill them no matter how you prune. When my grapes don't produce the summer growth that I would like, I leave them unpruned until the following spring and wait to see how they do. After the new growth is 6" to a foot long, I select the strongest shoots growing where I want them and prune off all the rest. Since first year plants often do not grow very robustly, you will probably find that next year's growth will be much stronger and will have a choice of many shoots to select from. Since your vines have many more buds than you need, it might be a good idea to pinch out the growing tips of the lowest shoots as soon as you know that there are robust higher shoots available.
     
  3. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Denman Island,BC
    I agree with Vitog with the proviso that no pruning or bud removal be done before the "last frost" date for your area. Last year we had a late hard frost that killed quite a few of the primary buds on the very young vines. They are vulnerable partly because of the size (small) of the first year's growth and partly because they are still low to the ground.

    Ralph
     
  4. Brian2412

    Brian2412 Member

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    Location:
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    Thank you all for your replies! I really appreciate it.
     
  5. Gardenlover

    Gardenlover Active Member

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    Location:
    Southern Ontario, Canada Zone 6a
    that is weak growth...it is probably the wrong cultivar for your area or it didn't take well.
    I had similar issues with grape vines like that....very poor growth so I pulled them out of the ground with my bear hand....and as I thought...VERY POOR ROOTING....was almost dead.
    Sometimes these things happen.


    B.t.w. love the stone walls.
     
  6. Dusty Feller

    Dusty Feller Member

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    Location:
    Courtneay
    Same thing happened to me I just kept my fingers crossed and they came back bigger and better the next year.. good luck
     

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