The pruning systems
The Guyot system: This form of training has either one or two fruiting arms growing from the main stem (single or double Guyot accordingly). It is used for vines grown outdoors, either dessert or wine cultivars.
The rod and spur (cordon) system: This system is usually used for indoor grapes in glasshouses or conservatories, and for growing grapes against walls.
Growing grape vines in containers: Where space is limited, vines can be pruned and trained as standards, with a single stem with a head of branches at the top. Standards lend themselves easily to container cultivation.
To train a standard:
- Train the main stem up a stout bamboo cane. Remove any excess stems appearing from the base
- Allow side branches to develop on the main stem for the first one to two years
- In the third winter, remove all side branches from the bottom and middle of the stem, leaving only the top branches. Allow five to six side branches to develop at the top
- Prune the side branches to five leaves, not allowing them to get any longer
- Pinch back any off-shoots developing from the side branches to one leaf
- Only allow one bunch of grapes to develop in the first cropping year, removing any others that start to develop. In subsequent years, allow one bunch of grapes per side branch
- In early winter, prune the side branches back to two buds
Grapes: indoors and out by Harry Baker and Ray Waite (Cassel Illustrated/The Royal Horticultural Society, 2003, ISBN 1844030644)
This book is available through the RHS Lindley Library.