Get­ting the best fruit pro­duc­tion

Garden News (UK) - - About Now -

1 Ev­ery win­ter, in late De­cem­ber, you should cut back all the cur­rent sea­son’s growth to one or two buds so that each rod de­vel­ops many spurs along its length. Tim­ing’s im­por­tant be­cause if you leave it too late, when growth is about to be­gin, sap will flow from any cut, caus­ing ‘bleed­ing’, which will weaken the vine. 2 As shoots grow flower buds ap­pear. If grow­ing dessert grapes, snap off the sec­ond shoot from each spur (the fruit-bear­ing stem that grows from the main rod). When the shoot grows, pol­li­nate flow­ers by shak­ing them or run­ning your hand over them. Prune the shoot with flow­ers after two leaves, beyond the flower clus­ter, to ‘pull’ sap to the grapes. 3 As sum­mer pro­gresses more sideshoots will ap­pear along this new shoot and these must be pruned or nipped off back to one or two leaves as soon as pos­si­ble. This will con­trol the growth and make sure there’s good air cir­cu­la­tion around the leaves and grapes. 4 When grapes are set and swelling well, thin out the fruits of dessert va­ri­eties so they’re not crowded, which may en­cour­age rot. You can thin some leaves too, so sun gets to the grapes for ripen­ing. 5 Black grapes will colour be­fore they’re fully ripe and white grapes will change from lime green to golden yel­low. Test a few to check they’re ripe, and en­joy! 6 Clear up the leaves as they fall in au­tumn and prune again in De­cem­ber.

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