prunning really old tall concord grape vines

Asked February 25, 2013, 9:31 PM EST

Friend has way overgrown vines. Trellis fell over. Prunned off way back to about 8 feet of vines size of 50 cent piece. Much dead wood gone. Small amount of bleeding. Can we cut these back to espallier them or will it kill them? How much can we cut? thank you!

Jackson County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for using Ask an Expert. Rehabbing an old, neglected grapevine is not for the faint of heart! Sometimes it isn't worth the effort and wait involved, so a better solution is to purchase a new vine and train it correctly from the beginning. Grapevines, whether table or wine varieties, need careful training in the first two years, followed by a rigorous annual pruning routine. However, if your friend's vine has sentimental value or yields especially delicious grapes, sometimes the choice to try to save it is worthwhile. Please consult the following section, "Pruning an old neglected vine", from OSU Extension's publication EC1639--"Growing Table Grapes". Not only will this pamphlet help you with the current situation, but it details the two approaches that can be used in creating the framework for a productive vine.The pamphlet can be read or downloaded at: publications. Search on the pamphlet number given above.Good luck with your project.