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Grapevine Training on Pergolas

Grapevines are ideal for creating "green roofs." Carports, pergolas or arcades/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, wooden slats/battens, or wires of the pergola. 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), medium (Variation 02), and wide pergolas (Variation 03).

Grapevine pergola, schematic
Cultivating grapevine on pergolas
Steel pergola for grapevines; producer: Atlas Leipzg GmbH, Mr. Stolle
Pergola/arbour for grapevine
Variation 01 after budburst
Pergola with grapevine
Pergola with grapevine
Grapevine pruning for a pergola
Grapevine pergola with tensioned cables in late autumn (Variation 02 - see below; if suitable, can be used as intermediate stage for Variation 03)
Grapevine on a pergola
New pergola with grapevines
Arbour/pergola with grapevine
This particularly dense foliage has been achieved by training the cordons very closely together on wire ropes as per cable 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), but is spur pruned.
Spanning a courtyard
Pergola according to Variation 03; the spur-pruned cordons are clearly visible.
Greenery on a pergola
Slightly differing from the variations shown below-- a fan form, cane pruned
Cane pruning
Pergola/arbour with grapevines
Pergola with grapevines
The same pergola as above after winter pruning, training as per Variation 02; here predominantly cane pruned (see below)
The same pergola at budburst
Grapevine pruning
A grapevine pergola shading a driveway
Pergola grapevine
Pergola with cables tensioned across the beams, 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 - 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, arbors, etc.. with a width of 1.0m - 1.5m. On free-standing pergolas/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 versatile form. Training is analogous to the 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.