Re-Training a Grapevine

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  #1  
Old 01-24-10, 07:04 AM
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Smile Re-Training a Grapevine

Hi! First time at the DYI forum, and I've done some searching online, but failed to find an answer that would fit our situation.

My wife and I purchased our first home last year, and we discovered an nice, well-producing grapevine that has grown along most of our fence.

We've fallen in love with it, but it cause problems for our neighbors, and we'd like to take better care of it for the next years.

We'd like to pull it off the fence and build a trellis approx. 2-3 feet away from the fence into our yard (so we're not trying to completely relocate the plant).

I'm not sure how old it is (we're just learning about grapevines), it has 3 trunks, each about 3 inches thick, and is significantly overgrown throughout the fence.

How can we best prune, and re-train our grapevine to the new trellis, without killing the plant?

Can we cut the trunks about 2-3 feet off the ground and train them up the new trellis, or would that be a bad idea?

Thank you for any help or suggestions in advance!
 
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Old 01-24-10, 09:02 AM
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I'm assuming that you want to prune with out stopping grape production. I wouldn't suggest cutting to the top of the trunk. The plants would probably survive, but it might take five years before you saw fruit again.

Winter is a good time to prune grape vines. They fruit on last year's growth, so try to spare some of that growth.

Here's what I'd try to do:

1) Install the trellis about one foot away from the base of the plants. I'd build the trellis so that any holes I dug were away from the plant roots. You could mount the trellis between two posts that are away from the roots.

2) See if you can remove vines from the fence without too much damage and attach them to the trellis. If you can do this with some of the vines, you can remove the others back to the trunk. You won't have as large a crop this summer, but you should get some production.

3) If #2 fails, I would guide this coming summer's new growth closest to the trunks over to the trellis. Then next winter, I'd prune about half of the vines on the fence. If you repeat the steps next year, you should be able to remove most of the vines from the fence.
 
  #3  
Old 01-24-10, 12:28 PM
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Excellent, thank you. That's what we'll try. Taking a second look at it, it does look like we'll be able to untangle a good amount of it from the fence, and move it over to our trellis.

All that's left is to build the trellis in a month or two when the ground thaws a bit. (hopefully that soon). Otherwise we'll move the existing and prune much of the over-grown stuff next dormant season.

Thanks again! (I'll post an update later this year, I think.)
 
  #4  
Old 01-24-10, 12:30 PM
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Also...you might check into your local master gardener program or extension service. They normally have good location specific info and advice. I think they have a few Universities near you don't they? lol
 
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Old 01-24-10, 01:43 PM
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While you are building your support, don't think "trellis", as I envision something to train roses on. It will need to be substantial since you obvioiusly have good stock growing. Unsure as to what wood is available, we use black locust for the posts. Since you want to grow yours away from your fence, you may want to look into an upside down "L" as opposed to a "T" set up, with the arm toward your yard. Put your support about every 8' with the L and string #12 wire (not electrical) from end to end and down to the ground. This will support the vines as they grow. I put ratcheting take ups on the ends of my runs for adjustment as time goes by.
Good luck with it, and let us know how it goes.
 
  #6  
Old 01-24-10, 01:54 PM
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Thanks for the tips.

Haven't thought about wood yet, but I am planning on using ratcheting on the 12#, that way we don't have to worry about it in years to come. Entire structure will only be 25-30 feet long, I was going to bury a few posts 2-3 ft into the ground so they're 7-8 feet tall, and run the wire across those.

Being a short run, I wouldn't have to worry about earth anchors or h-posts or anything, don't you think? (I've been doing too much googling apparently.)

Looking forward to this!
 
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Old 01-24-10, 07:14 PM
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I would use earth anchors anyway over the ends of the last posts. There's no way you will keep the sag out of the wire once the grapes start bearing down on it. With the earth anchors, you can better utilize your ratchets, too.
 
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