I have grown several varieties of table grapes for the past few years. I started to get some pretty good crops two years ago. I had thought that all you had to do was the winter pruning: follow the instructions in the Western Garden Book. Well, I have found out that there is more to it than that!
Our climate lends itself to allow the vines to go rampant! Cool, wet springs; warm dry summers. I have been tip-pruning somewhat haphazardly over the years, mostly so I could use the paths from the front to the back yard. I now know that a summer pruning strategy will allow you to reap larger harvests of sweeter grapes. (I have ‘Himrod’, a green seedless and ‘Suffolk Red’ a red seedless. Neither is prone to any kind of mildews or leaf mold attacks in our climate. We are in Zone 7, at 150 ft altitude, NW Washington State within 10 miles of Puget Sound salt water. Vines are planted on the south side of a stucco house!)
I found a great 3 minute video that really tells you want to do, and why. It is here: Summer Grape Pruning.
The two photos in this post were taken on July 16, 2014, after the pruning and opening up of my vines. (Caution: your young grapes clusters will be used to the shade and will burn if you suddenly expose them to the full sun. Plan accordingly)
I hauled all the cut canes and leaves to the side yard and ran them through the lawn mower, bagged up the pieces and now they are path mulch in the vegetable garden. Since they are all green and soft, the mower did a good job.
I am thinking that this chore does a number of things: allows better air circulation for our coming wet weather, allows the grape clusters to get the needed 6 hours of sun on them each day and allows our use of the paths.
’til next time,
Highland Garden House B & B
501 E. Highland Ave.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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