Pruning the vine, removing leaves and reducing the grapes

Pruning the vine, removing leaves and reducing the grapes

Pruning is one of the most important growing techniques of vine cultivation. Bell pruning is divided into two main categories: sorting for size and balanced sorting Pruning the vine

Sorting for size includes all the trimmings needed to train the vines and create their preferred shape. This has been explained in the previous chapter. The balanced sorting is further divided into:

Passive sorting and summer sorting

Farmers perform passive pruning to help plants balance between proper fruit and germination in the next season.

During the dormant period, after the foliage falls and before the buds begin to bud, growers remove a lot of wood, leaving only a few buds on the vine. The exact number of buds left depends on the grape variety, environment and soil conditions. Typically, for some varieties such as Cinsault, farmers prefer to prune the vines a bit more and leave 2-3 buds. On the other hand, for varieties like the famous Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, they prefer to have about 10 buds.

As a general rule, after pruning too much, some of the remaining buds produce less, but twigs have higher growth rate. On the other hand, if we do not prune our vines sufficiently, then more number of remaining buds will give stalks with lots of fruit. It may sound good, but it is not. If the plant produces too much fruit, the quality of these fruits will be low. It is important to understand that the number of fruits grown per vine is inversely related to the final quality characteristics of the grapes. In addition, pruning time is also important. If we prune the vines very quickly, then we increase the risk of diseases and damage from frost. On the other hand, late pruning will delay plant germination.

Sorting the vines is not an easy process and requires years of experience. Pruning is done using a special pruning hook and cut in an angle of 45 degrees opposite the last bud (ask your local agronomist). We should avoid leaving a big wound on the wood. In this case, we should not forget to apply disinfectant material on the wounds, as it carries a higher risk of pathogenic infection.

The second sorting category includes all summer sorting. At this stage, farmers have a chance to correct any lapses or mistakes of passive pruning. Also, they also remove some flower bunches and leaves. Thus, summer sorting is further divided into:


Sucking means removing small twigs as soon as they come out. Removed twigs grow on unwanted conditions or develop dormant buds. We remove twigs at an early stage of development (by removing them when they are thick and strong) to prevent later injury to the plant.

Therefore, depending on the characteristics of the plant, it is important to know how many of these twigs are we going to remove. For example, for very strong plants, growers remove small to medium numbers of twigs. The primary twigs will develop excessively because of the large rate of removal. As a result, there will be so many leaves on the vine that they will start to overlap and cause necrosis in the stem. Sucking is done by hand because it is difficult for the machine to decide which twigs need to be removed and which are not.


By deadheading, we denote the pruning of a portion of the cane edges. This technique is quite important and has different effects on the plant during different growth stages. In all cases, our goal is to force the plant to periodically stop its vine growth, and to send more nutrients to the reproductive parts. In particular, deadheading a few days before flowering, we induce the plant to send its nutrients to the flowering bunches. Varieties with high probability of flowering can benefit greatly from this. However, its timing is very important. If we deadheading too soon, the plant will start developing its primary buds rapidly. This is obviously not a good situation, as it will generate more competition.

If we do deadheading during the early stages of fruit maturing, when the grape size is similar to that of a lentil, then the plant will send more nutrients to the grapes, thereby increasing their quality characteristics. Also, by deadheading the vines during this phase, we remove a considerable amount of leaves, which reduces the weight of the plant and facilitates deadheading in hand and machine use. Deadheading can be done by hand, or by machine using a pruning tractor. Pruning the vine

Removing leaves

Growers usually remove the leaves of plants by hand for two main reasons. The first reason is that because of this the air circulation in the crop is better. Another reason is that it is easy to spray on the crop to protect it from various insects and diseases. By removing the leaves, we help some of the sprayed substances come in direct contact with the grapes. Even in red varieties, growers have to remove leaves so that the grapes have sufficient sunlight and their color can turn dark red. As a general rule, we can remove leaves at various stages, but the most common of these occur about 1,5 months before harvesting (ask your local licensed agronomist).

Reducing bunches

In general, bunches are reduced in wine-making varieties. This technique involves removing clusters of some immature fruit, because the plant cannot handle it when the production is too high, leading to a lower quality of grapes. Generally, in most European vineyards, which produce high quality wines, farmers choose quality over quantity. We also have cases where farmers remove most fruit bunches from the vine, leaving very few fruit bunches on the plant. He claims that due to this technique his wine is unmatched and sold at much higher prices.

Fruit reduction

This technique involves the removal of grapes when there is too much fruit on the bunch, and if the fruit is spoiled or shrunken. In varieties used mostly for direct eating, farmers remove some of the bunches to make enough room for the grapes to grow properly. In addition, reducing fruits also prevents mildew infection from occurring due to poor air circulation between grapes in dense bunches.

However, these are all some general guidelines that should not be followed without doing your own research. Each plant is different and needs a special combination of dormant and summer pruning. You can consult your local licensed agronomist.

You can improve this article by adding a comment or photo about your passive and summer pruning techniques.

Pruning the vine

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