Shoot Thinning in Spring

This work is essential -  especially if dispensing with the "summer pruning" - in order to achieve the selected Training of the vine. Knowledge of the selected Pruning System (spur, rod or cane pruning) is also imperative to ensure correct shoot thinning. 

The following shoots are thinned:

 

- absolutely all water shoots ie unwanted shoots arising from the old fibrous wood of the stem (Image 02 - "stem cleaning"), unless they are used for the development of the stem framework ;

 

- any other infertile shoots without visible inflorescences, which emerge from the pruned fruiting cane (Spur, Rod or Cane / Arched Cane). However, at least one near-stem new shoot must remain at each shoot position for the following winter pruning. 

 

- if there are two or several shoots growing from one bud, the strongest one (with inflorescences) is retained, all others are removed. Many varieties have a tendency to produce several shoots from each shoot position resembling a "hedgehog back," especially when Spur Pruned. This is corrected by shoot thinning. 

 

Shoot thinning is carried out when the new shoots have reached a length of approx. 10 to 30cm, ie at a time in spring when the whole vine is still easily manageable for the layperson. The shoots are either rubbed off by applying some lateral pressure (Image 03), or grasped at their base and pulled off. If necessary, shoot thinning can still be carried out in summer, however, the shoots are then usually cut off with a sharp knife instead of pulled off, due to the beginning lignification.

 

Image 01: Should one or both new shoots on this spur be infertile (without inflorescences) and need removing, then the shoot close to the stem must be retained to form a new spur in the following year.
Spur-pruning
Image 02: An unwanted water shoot emerging from the stem of a vine. Water shoots are infertile ie they have no inflorescences.
Pinching out grapevines
Image 03: Shoot thinning by applying lateral pressure
Pruning in spring, vine
Image 04: The wound can heal during summer and will not develop sap flow obstructions in the stem.
Pruning vine in spring