How to prune grapes in autumn?

As a rule, difficulties in growing grapes in beginning gardeners arise with the correct formation of the bush. Advice on this issue is often confusing, contradictory and understandable only to a narrow specialist. In the review you will find detailed instructions for pruning the vine for the winter, outlined in simple words - as they say, "for dummies."

Why are grapes pruned in autumn?

A competent approach to any work begins with an understanding of the purpose - why cut the grapes, and why this procedure should be carried out in the fall.

The formation of the vine by removing excess shoots and fragments, solves several problems:

  • stimulating the development of a new vine in the lower part of the bush and at the same time limiting the appearance of new "useless" shoots on last year's branches (polarity);
  • healing and rejuvenation of the plant;
  • giving the bush the desired shape;
  • improved lighting of shoots and ovaries;
  • prevention of uncontrolled overgrowth of the vine.
Did you know? Wine and bread, consecrated according to a special ritual, according to the Christian tradition, enable a person to be reunited with God. This is the meaning of the rite called "communion, " or "Eucharist."
  • Due to the achievement of these goals are increased:
  • life expectancy and fruiting of the vine;
  • culture resistance to diseases, as well as adverse weather conditions, including frost;
  • quantitative and qualitative indicators of productivity (cluster sizes, taste characteristics of fruits).

During the active growing season, you can not cut plants, so such work is carried out in early spring or autumn.

However, the latter option is preferred for two reasons:

  1. Shelter of the vine for the winter is convenient to combine with pruning, since fewer lashes need protection, respectively, work requires less time and effort.
  2. Slices made on the bush in the spring, after the start of sap flow, provoke “crying of the vine” - abundant release of juice from the “wounds”, as a result of which the blooming of the buds and vegetation slow down.

On the other hand, if the autumn pruning of grapes is carried out at the right time and according to the correct scheme, in the spring such a vine will wake up at least a week earlier than uncircumcised.

Read also about the correct pruning of grapes in spring.

Correct grape fall pruning

Grape pruning is a science where everything is important - time, methods, layout, technique, tools and even weather, which changes rapidly in the fall.

When do you need to trim in the fall?

Before the onset of winter, the thawed vine is cut twice: at the first stage, young shoots that do not have time to ripen are cut from the bush, the main work is carried out at the second. Between these two stages, from two weeks to a month and a half pass, depending on the climate.

It is better to determine the dates for grape pruning not according to the calendar (September, October), but based on the condition of the bush, the timing of fruit ripening, weather conditions, being guided by the following:

  1. Criteria for conducting early (preliminary) pruning - the crop is already harvested, but the leaves on the vine remain green.
  2. Criteria for the main pruning - the leaves are discarded, the first frosts have passed.

Depending on the region, planned activities are carried out from mid-September to the end of October for the first stage and from mid-October to the end of November for the second stage.

Did you know? Black grapes contain two substances that are, as established by scientists from the US state of Oregon, the most powerful natural immunostimulants. The first is called resveratrol - a pigment that gives the berry a dark color, the second - pterostilbene, making it fragrant.

Scheme and methods of trimming

The formation of a bush of grapes is carried out throughout his life, but as the plants grow older, the approach to the procedure changes. Therefore, the pruning scheme of vines at the age of 1, 2 and 3 years may vary.

Young grape

After planting a grape seedling during the first year, the laying of a future bush involves the formation of two main shoots - “sleeves”. Therefore, the remaining shoots are cut off at the base, and the sleeves - the strongest branches directed in different directions - are shortened by four buds (a cut is made under the fifth internode).

On the remaining fragments of shoots, all stepsons are removed (the beginnings of the sprouts appearing from the bud between the stem and the base of the leaf). In this form, the annual seedling is left to winter.

When pruning a two-year-old grape, in addition to the main sleeves, you can take care of creating a substitution shoot - a shoot extending from the base of the bush or from the bottom of the sleeve. This escape will replace one of the older arms in the future.

For this purpose, choose the strongest of the available sprouts and cut it into 2-3 eyes. The main sleeves are cut off at a height of about 110 cm, so that 2-3 layers are left on each.

Important! Layers should be selected so that they are directed outward from the base of the bush, and not towards each other. Three-year-old grapes are formed according to this scheme: from the layering left on each of the branches, the strongest one is selected. It is better if this shoot is in the middle of the sleeve, and not in the lower part of it. In order to get a crop on such an shoot next year, it is shortened to two buds (sometimes three are left in case one freezes).

The upper layers are cut less, leaving 8–9 buds to form new young shoots. These shoots will also bear fruit, but on a young vine it is necessary to leave one bunch closest to the main stem, and remove the rest. The lower layer will play the role of a knot of substitution, it is shortened by 2 eyes. The part of the sleeve located above the upper layer is cut off.


The fourth and subsequent years, the vine is formed according to the same principle: the upper shoots are shortened by 8–9 buds, laying fruit arrows, the lower ones are left on the knot of substitution.

In case one of the shoots freezes, a third safety escape can be left on each lay. This is the so-called fan-shaped method of pruning grapes. It is simple, understandable and therefore widespread.


It often happens that no one took care of the vine for a long time, or its formation was carried out incorrectly. Overgrown grapes, despite the abundance of green mass, bear poor fruit. You can save the situation using cropping, but for such cases there is a separate scheme.

Important! Trimming neglected grapes should start from the base of the bush, and not from its top.

In order not to be mistaken, experts recommend that beginners act according to this technique:

  1. Remove dried, damaged, diseased and non-viable shoots, as well as "hemp" found on the vine.
  2. If there is a healthy shoot near the base of the trunk, it must be maintained as a replacement knot. Such a process is shortened to two eyes.
  3. In the absence of a suitable “candidate” for the replacement knot, you need to use any healthy process that is closest to the ground.
  4. Carefully inspecting the bush, prune perennial vines emerging from neighboring eyes parallel to each other. Such branches are mutually duplicated. Shading one another, they interfere with the development of the bush. Of these branches, it is necessary to leave one, the strongest, youngest and "promising."
  5. After removing unnecessary branches, it is easier to recreate the fan-shaped pattern of formation: on each vine at the age of 2-3 years, select one lower layer for the knot of substitution and 1-2 shoots under the fruit arrows. The knot of substitution is cut into 2-3 eyes, fruit arrows - by 8–9.

Shelter of grapes for the winter

Shelter grapes for the winter need not always and not everywhere. Each variety has a winter hardiness threshold, which is an important technical characteristic, and should be considered when choosing grapes.

If the winter temperature in a particular region never reaches the limits indicated by the manufacturer of a particular vine variety, you can not hide the bushes for the winter. Grape varieties with high resistance to frost are called non-covering.

Important! In the middle zone of the European part of Russia, the following grape varieties winter without shelter: Isabella, Lydia, Crystal, Levokumsky Sustainable, Ontario, Amethystovy, Amursky, Jupiter.

Grapes are a thermophilic plant. Frost-resistant varieties are the result of long and complex breeding work, however even they can suffer from a sharp, albeit short-term, decrease in temperature below the usual indicators for the region. Therefore, it is customary to shelter the vine for the winter in all areas where a decrease in temperature in winter to –15 ° С is considered probable.

Non-covering varieties with high frost resistance are also recommended to be protected before the arrival of winter during the first 2-3 years of the vine’s life, that is, until it has gained enough strength to withstand the cold itself. There are many ways to shelter grapes for the winter, but reliable and uncomplicated in execution is digging.

It is done like this:

  1. Immediately after the autumn pruning, but no later than two weeks before the advent of real frosts (the first frosts for an uncovered vine are even useful as a kind of hardening), several trenches are dug around the bush in the form of rays diverging in different directions. Their number and size is determined based on the number and length of shoots left on the vine, and the depth is 20–25 cm.
  2. Removed from the trellis and trimmed shoots are laid (you can "bunch" of several pieces) on the bottom of the dug trenches and, if necessary, attached to the ground with wire studs.

    Learn more about how to cover grapes for the winter.

  3. A layer of agrofibre, burlap or other air-permeable material should be placed on top of the vines at the bottom of the trench, so that in the spring, during the process of digging, it will not damage the shoots.
  4. After that, the pit is covered with earth.
  5. Depending on the specific climatic conditions, a layer of foliage, straw, peat, sawdust, coniferous paws or other organics can be laid on top of the pit, covering the structure with tarpaulin and securing it with cargo so that the wind does not sweep the shelter in different directions.
  6. As an additional cover after the first snowfall, a high snowdrift is built over the shelter.

Some winegrowers do not bury grapes in the ground, but cover them with organic matter (as described above) or are limited to filling the trench with earth. Both options have a right to exist, if we are talking about a region where the winter temperature does not fall below –20 ° C or about varieties resistant to severe frosts.

Did you know? Grapes in the form in which we know it are not found in the wild. It is assumed that our distant ancestors brought the culture out of forest grapes - an endangered species that had previously grown on the territory of modern Ukraine, Moldova, the Caucasus, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Central Asia and China.

Useful tips for beginners

Recommendations that will help a beginner grower cope with autumn pruning of vines:

  1. For work, you need to choose a dry and sunny day. Rain and snow are dangerous for the plant: in humid conditions, the cuts on the vine become the gateway to infections. For this reason, it is desirable that fogs and precipitation are not expected not only on the day scheduled for pruning, but also on the next few.
  2. Shrubs and trees should be trimmed with a sharp and sterile tool. Before starting work, the pruning shears or clippers must be ground and thoroughly treated with alcohol.
  3. The procedure should begin with planning: inspect the bush, select the shoots necessary for removal and preservation, outline the locations of the cuts, and only then proceed with the main work.
  4. When wielding a secateurs, you need to act confidently and accurately: the cut is performed in one motion, without tearing, unscrewing and other manipulations that contribute to causing additional stress to the plant. The exception is the procedure for removing young stepsons: they are much easier to pinch off with your fingers than to cut off with a pruner.
  5. Slices are always performed at an acute angle.
  6. Trim the shoot is necessary above the eye, departing from it about 0.5 cm.
  7. If in the process of forming a bush it is necessary to remove a thick vine, the place of cut is sprinkled with powdered charcoal or treated with a garden varnish for disinfection.
  8. After pruning and before digging up the vine, it must be treated with ferrous sulfate (iron sulfate). The concentration of the substance in the solution for young bushes should be 3%, for adults - 5%. This procedure will help the plant to endure stress and will provide the necessary foundation of strength for next year.
Important! Iron sulfate protects the plant from pests and fungal diseases. In addition, the drug is indispensable as a mineral fertilizer, because the iron contained in it is in a form that is easily absorbed by plants.

Care for grapes requires mandatory pruning. Its main stage is performed in the fall, at a time when the kidneys have entered the phase of organic rest. On how well the manipulation was carried out correctly, not only the probability of a successful wintering of the vine, but also how quickly and actively the bush begins to develop in the spring, and how many fruit brushes will form on it, directly depend on it.

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