How to Prune Mature Grape Vines


Pruning grape vines produces a healthy fruit harvest. If you do not prune the grape vines, they will grow too much foliage and not produce fruit. Grape vines are mature when they are at least 3 years of age. Prune your grape vines in the winter months to encourage new growth in the spring. Once you prune the grape vines, you can train them to grow on arbors or trellises so that they do not take over your yard or garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Compost bin
  • Trash bag
  • Remove leaves on the ground around the grape vine. This will prevent insects and birds from invading the grape vines and keep the vines healthy.

  • Prune away any tangled vines. The tangled vines will prevent the grape vine from producing grapes. Place the tangled vines in a compost bin or trash bag.

  • Remove shoots growing between the trellis wires. This will encourage the vines to continue to grow on the wires. Cut these shoots at the base near the main stem.

  • Cut away secondary shoots, also known as suckers, from the main cane's base. The suckers take energy away from the grape vine.

  • Prune the canes to leave four on each side of the vine. Keep two young canes on each side that appear shiny and smooth to keep the grapevine producing fruit. Remove older canes when they begin to crack and peel.

  • Prune the spurs on the main canes. Leave two to three of the bud spurs. Prune them by spacing them apart 4 to 6 inches.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are producing grapes for jelly and juice, you will need to prune the vines down to 40 to 60 buds. If you are growing grapes for wine, you only need 20 to 30 buds.

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  • Photo Credit Grapevine image by Tomasz Pawlowski from
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