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Grapevine Training on Pergolas

Grapevines are ideal to create "green roofs." Carports, pergolas or arbours make  perfect trellises. The density of the foliage can be controlled by reducing the number of yearly new shoots through rigorous winter pruning.

For such green roofs, only the main arms of the vine or the "old wood" (dark brown in the following diagrams) are tied to posts, timber slats or wires. The new fruiting canes first grow straight up, but will eventually bend under their own weight until they end up lying on the trellis and getting entangled with each other. 

Below, three training variations are illustrated for narrow (Variation 01), median (Variation 02) and wide pergolas (Variation 03).

Grapevine pergola, schematic
cultivating vine on pergolas
Arbour for grapevines made of steel, producer: Atlas Leipzg GmbH, Mr. Stolle
Arbour for grapevine
Variation 01 after bud burst
Pergola with grape vine
Pergola with grapevine
Grapevine pruning for pergola
Vine pergola with tension cables in late autumn (Variation 02 - see below, if suitable, can be used as intermediate stage for Variation 03).
Grapevine on pergola
New arbour with grapevines.
Arbour with vine
This particularly dense foliage has been achieved by training the cordons very closely together on wire ropes as per System 0040. In this photo, the brown cordons were spur pruned, and the young grapes and flowers on the young canes can be seen. This layout follows Variation 03 (see below), although spur pruned.
Spanning a courtyard
Pergola according to Variation 03. Clearly visible are the spur pruned cordons.
Greenery on pergola
Slightly differing from the variations shown below, a fan form, cane pruned.
Cane pruning
Arbour with grapevines
Arbour with grapevines
The same arbour as above after winter pruning, training as per Variation 02, here predominantly cane pruned (see below).
The same arbour at bud burst.
Pruning vine plant
A grapevine arbour shading a driveway.
Pergola grapevine
Pergola with tension cables across the beams for Variation 02 (see below).
Training grapevine for greening pergolas

Training Forms for Pergola-Grapevines

Variation 01:
for pergolas with a narrow width of 0.5m to 1.0m. The main arms of the vines are trained straight up and tied parallel to the lengthwise beam. The side shoot positions are approx. 15cm apart and are Spur Pruned.
For each yearly extension of the horizontal cordons, 3 - 6 eyes can be added. To achieve a denser canopy, pruning can be changed to Rod Pruning.
Variation 02:
for pergolas, arbours etc with a width of 1.0m to 1.5m. On free-standing arbours with vines growing from both sides, the total width can be approx. 3.0m (see photo above left). The cordons are trained along the two external beams of the arbour, then further developed as per Variation 01, although here the side shoot positions are further apart, approx. 50cm. Gradually, pruning is changed to Cane Pruning.
Variation 03:
for structures wider than Variation 02. A very variable form.
Training occurs as per Horizontal Cordon, whereby several cordons developed from one plant can form a "comb-like" structure.
These cordons need to be about 1m apart, the canes are initially Spur Pruned, later they may also be Rod Pruned and Cane Pruned.