I have 3 new vines, trellissed up in a makeshift, admittedly low-quality, trellis system. I could do a better job with it but my time is better spent elsewhere at the moment. I had these three grapes given to me to plant, so I threw something together.

I have a small yard and there's no ideal spot, but at least this area is South-facing.

There are and will be more raspberries planted, to take over and control weeds and maybe a tile pathway (I'm removing soil to lower the level), but there are three grapes.

Since I don't have the best system and I know the weight in the future will pull down the wire, I was wondering if there was such a system where people can make the great trunks thick and self-supporting almost like miniature trees. I don't mind if it takes several years to get there. That would be the easiest and cleanest for this area.

wide view of patch of grapes and raspberries

close up new grape vine against pole

More immediately, what should I be doing now, in early August, in terms of pruning and training, and how much can I prune or cut healthy vine growth with benefit? It grows vigorously and I was planning to let the 'limbs' grow as much as they please, with moderate training of the limbs and heavy training of the trunk, knowing that I will prune, and probably aggressively, in the fall. I was wondering though, should I prune now and would that direct more growth to the trunk, or would that waste it's overall energy, or would it make no difference to the trunk whatsoever?

  • I think this goes by names like 'bush trained' or 'goblet trained' vines, as here and I see advice on training it places like here but I have no first hand experience. Really interesting idea!
    – MackM
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 13:20

2 Answers 2

  1. Grapevines produce on their horizontal branches.

Horizontal vines make for big harvests

  1. Trunks will eventually support themselves, but for sturdier growth, they need limbs along their length, not bareness.

  2. These points tell you why vineyards train two-tier candelabras. They look like decorative espaliers, but produce best that way.

Espalier grapes

  1. Raspberries sucker so readily, you will not reach the grapes for their thorns, unless you grow that rare thornless variety.

The trunk is unlikely to be a problem . But each year very long , branches will grow which need support. They will grow over your roof, not easy to harvest.

  • Do you know how high of a self supporting trunk can be grown? What will happen to unsupported grape vines?
    – MackM
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 19:43
  • I expect that unsupported ,they will lay on the ground unless they reach something to climb. Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 14:52

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