Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

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

More Pruning Questions

Planting and care of Desert Willow in Golden Valley, AZ.
May 17, 2013 - I got a desert willow to plant in yard. Some of the leaves dried out before I could plant. Will that stop the tree from growing into a decent size tree or stay as a shrub?
view the full question and answer

Yaupon sprouts from Bennettsville SC
May 29, 2013 - I have Yaupons in a flower bed and they have too many shoots to pull up, can I spray them with roundup and not kill the bush and what strength should I use?
view the full question and answer

Non-Blooming Bridal Wreath Spirea in PA
April 23, 2015 - We have 12 - 15 Bridal Wreath Spirea across our backyard. We have lived here for about 10 years (the plants longer). They have always bloomed except last year (2014) several didn't bloom and this y...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back, pruning and dividing native plants
April 21, 2005 - I am wanting to cut back, or prune, and divide many of my native plants but don't know how. What should I do? I bought them all at the native plant sale at the center last fall. We have a family ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning dogwood in TX
February 02, 2011 - I have a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii) sapling that I would like to keep at shrub height (~6 ft) rather than let it form a tree. Can I encourage this by cutting the main trunk, and if so, by ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.