Cane Pruning

Cane Pruning - also known as "Arched Cane Pruning" or the Guyot Method - with 8 - 12 eyes on the canes, is commonly used in vineyards, and occasionally is used on grapevines grown along house façades. With this method, vigorous grapevine varieties can be "tamed," gaps in the stem framework bridged and very high fruit yields achieved. Here we illustrate this technique for fully trained vines. If necessary, please peruse first the information under Training in the 1st to 3rd year!

The diagrams illustrate the pruning technique over several years based on a single "side shoot position" arising from the stem. Other side shoot positions have already been established on the stem framework, usually about 40 - 80 cm apart, which may be spur or rod pruned. The new side shoot position shown in the following diagrams is developed from one shoot, which was well-planned during the vine training. When rejuvenating an older vine, the same procedure can be applied to a water shoot which has arisen from the main trunk, to form a new side shoot position. 

 

Cane pruning includes pre-pruning , fruit cane pruning and bending / tying. These steps can be carried out immediately one after the other or in stages over a few days or weeks.  For vines growing along the house, we recommend to keep to the following sequence: all side shoot positions of the vine are pre-pruned to remove the bulk of the wood and to get a better overall picture of the vine. This also facilitates the pruning of the fruit canes and counting of the 10 - 20 buds per square metres of wall space. 

 

The diagrams in the column to the left show the side shoot position after leaf fall in winter, and the pre-pruning into the old wood (dark brown).  The vine was pruned in summer, otherwise the shoots would be much longer now. Each cane produced an average of 1 - 2 grape bunches in summer. The diagrams in the centre illustrate the fruit cane pruning into previous year's wood (ochre), and the diagrams on the right side show the results. The additional required Bending / Tying is described separately.

Two side shoot positions arising from a vine, with "arched cane and replacement spur," at bud break in spring.
Circular pruning of grapevines
Diagram 00: Young vine infan form, the framed area is illustrated in all following diagrams.
Pruning sketch

Beginning 4th Year

Diagram 01: A new, well lignified side shoot in a young vine (Diagram 00) or a water shoot on an older vine.
Diagram 02: First the cane is spur pruned to ensure vigorous bud break and growth of the future canes
Diagram 03: Formed spur

Beginning 5th Year

Diagram 04: No pre-pruning now, because both shoots of the spur will be used: The upper cane will be the fruiting cane in the upcoming season, the lower one the replacement or future spur.
Diagram 05: The upper cane is pruned to a long fruiting cane, the lower one to a spur. The spur must always be closer to the stem than the fruiting cane, to ensure that the side shoot position remains close to the stem over the years.
Diagram 06: Pruning completed on side shoot position, with an arched cane and a replacement spur.

Beginning 6th Year

Diagram 07: refer also to Image 01 above. All shoots of the arched cane ideally produced 1 - 2 grape bunches in summer and are now worn out. In the pre-pruning, the entire arched cane with all its shoots is removed. Often the two shoots growing from the replacement spur are so vigorous that they can retain the fruit produced in summer, otherwise the grapes were removed in summer.
Diagram 08: Forming of the new arched cane for next season (fruit cane pruning) and the replacement spur for the season after next. The replacement spur must always be closer to the stem than the fruiting cane, which will be removed in winter.
Diagram 09: Pruning completed on side shoot position, with an arched cane and a replacement spur. This time the fruit cane is already in an approximately horizontal position, hence no bending is necessary, just tying it.

Beginning 7th Year

Diagram 10: Many or all shoots on the arched cane produced grapes and are worn out, the entire arched cane with all its shoots is cut off.
Diagram 11: Forming of the new arched cane for the upcoming season, and the replacement spur for the season after next. Again, the replacement spur must be closer to the stem than the fruiting cane.
Diagram 12: Pruning completed on side shoot position, with an arched cane and a replacement spur. This time, the fruiting cane was in a rather awkward position and had to be shaped and tied into the desired position by carefully twisting and "massaging" it.

Beginning 8th Year

Diagram 13: Again, many or all shoots arising from the arched cane produced grapes and are now worn out, the entire arch including its shoots is removed (pre-pruning).
Diagram 14: Forming of the new arched cane for next season and the replacement spur for the season after next. Again, it is important that the replacement spur is closer to the stem than the fruiting cane.
Diagram 15: Pruning completed on side shoot position with arched fruiting cane and replacement spur.