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Mr. Smarty Plants - How to prune wild mustang grape vines.

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Monday - July 11, 2011

From: China Grove, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Vines
Title: How to prune wild mustang grape vines.
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Now that my mustang grapes are harvested. When can I trim them out of the tree top and redirect them to an arbor where I can reach them next year? The main vine is at least 3" across. The vines from this reach at least 50' away. What diameter of this vine can I cut that will re sprout with new growth? Thanks !

ANSWER:

Grape vines should be pruned in the dormant season (winter).  Pruning later than February may result in "bleeding" of sap from the cut stems, but this will not be a serious problem.  A good discussion of how to prune is given in this web site.  However, this discussion does not deal with wild vines growing far up into a tree. 

Hopefully, your vines have lateral branches spaced along the main stem.  You want to prune back these laterals so that each has only 2 to 3 sets of buds. It is these that will produce the fruit.  Leaving too many buds will result in smaller fruit.  If the lower section of the main stem is free of lateral branches you had better save a greater length of main stem until you reach the point where laterals and their buds are located.  Attaching the bare main stem to a horizontal arbor will encourage additional lateral branches to come out in the next growing season.

If you can retain suffiicient buds on the lower portion of your vines, it should be safe to prune even a 2-3 inch thick stem.  If that is done, it might be a good idea to paint the cut surface with pruning compound or paint, although many experts say that pruning paint in unnecessary.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

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