How to prune a grape vine spur

I often get the question: “Danie, how do I prune a spur?”

Without knowing how to prune a spur (short bearer) the correct way, you can spoil your potential crop – did you know that? So, I went out into my vineyards and took some really nice pictures that will explain how to prune a spur.

But before I explain how to prune a spur, you need to know that a grape vine ONLY produce grapes on one-year-old shoots that was pruned on two-year-old canes and not on cordons (arms) or in most cases water shoots (a shoot that developed on 3 year and older wood).

In the picture below, you can see spur that was pruned last winter no.1 (while the grape vine was dormant). During the past growing season, two shoots developed from that spur; no. 2 and no. 3. These two shoots were the bearers during this year’s harvest.

Although they are dormant at this stage, they are still alive and needs to be pruned in order to produce more grapes next season. Inside those little buds you seen in the pictures, are already formed grape bunches – off course you cannot see them with the naked eye, but believe me, they are there! That is why I always hammer on allowing enough sunlight into your grape vine – this helps develop those little grape clusters inside the buds.

OK, so if you look at the picture again, you will notice two red lines. This is where you will prune in order to have a new spur.

In the picture below, I have pruned the old spur back and as you can see, a new spur was pruned with two buds that will develop shoots the next growing season. The shoots that will develop from this spur will bear grapes next season.

If you understand what I am explaining to you, it will make sense that spur I pruned in the above picture, will become an old spur (no 1) next year – during dormancy, after next year’s growing season.

I hope that you now have a better understanding of what a spur really is.

For further, and more in depth pruning techniques, as well as cane pruning techniques, I recommend The Complete Grape Growers Guide.

Have a grape (great) day my friends!

Danie

The Grape Guy

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