Standing in front of a mass of tangled grapevines and wondering what to do can be a scary experience for the novice or even the more experienced gardener.

Pruning grapes becomes easier after understanding the growth and fruiting characteristics of the grapevine. Horticulturists at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach answer questions and give tips about grapevine care.

When should I prune grapevines?

The most desirable time to prune grapevines is late winter or early spring. In Iowa, pruning can begin in late February and should be completed by early April. Grapevines pruned at this time of year may “bleed” heavily. However, the loss of sap does not harm the vines.

What is the proper way to prune grapevines?

Grapevines produce fruit clusters on the previous season’s growth. Before pruning, a grapevine may have 200 to 300 buds capable of producing fruit.

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