Delay Pruning Until Late Winter

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These warm spells we have throughout the early winter are NOT good times to get out and prune fruiting plants, such as grape vines. Pruning these plants now can create a situation where the plant is damaged by the extreme cold we might have in January or February. Some plants, especially European bunch grape varieties, may have already received enough cold weather to meet their chilling requirements (hours needed to break winter dormancy and trigger new growth). If this has happened the buds will begin to swell. This bud swelling usually happens first at the buds that are closest to the tips of the branches. These can be easily pruned off later if there is a sudden drop in temperatures back into the 30’s and the buds are damaged.

Hold off on pruning until February when we are less likely to have huge swings in temperature that will damage any buds that have come out of dormancy.