In yesterday’s article about pruning, I mentioned that I pruned to spurs on a vertical cordon. That means the trunk is permanent and I maintain short branches of one year old wood, called spurs, that come out of the trunk. If those one year old branches were long, a dozen buds or more, they would be called canes. Canes would make repotting the vines more tedious and would require more support. That’s why I decided to spur prune.
It turns out that some varietals need to be pruned to canes in order to bear fruit. In those varietals, the buds closest to the trunk are not fruitful. If you spur prune them, you’ll get lovely foliage but no grapes. That’s what happened to my Swenson Red last year, and may happen again this year. I pruned in March, and had a vague idea that I should be less aggressive, but I didn’t really know what went wrong or how to fix it. When I prune for next season, I’ll know what to do, but this season, I’ve got longish spurs that aren’t quite canes.
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