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Dealing with overgrown concord grape vines

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skepticCS

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Hi all,

First time poster here in Hillsborough, NC. This summer I bought a house and inherited with it two concord grape vines that have been VERY neglected. They both produced a crop this year, though, lacking any experience in this area, I cannot estimate its quantity or quality relative to an average. Now that fall is here, I'd like to make a plan for dealing with them so I can start off on the right foot in spring.

I've included pictures below. The first few show one vine which has grown along (and pulled down) the fence around our garden as well as way up a nearby apple tree. The other had some sort of trellis that it was growing on, but that structure is rotting and the vine has become throughly intertwined with overgrown thorny vines.

I will avoid specifics for the moment and focus on general questions I have:

1) It is advisable to try to reattach and older growth cordon to a new trellis or do I need to cut it back to near the trunk and retrain it from scratch?

2) For those that I do trim, how far back should I trim them? Should I leave any of the cordon or trim down to the main trunk?

3a) If I can leave the cordons: How many should I leave and how much of the cordon beyond the trunk should I preserve?

3b) If I have to trim down to the trunk, how much of the trunk should I leave above ground?

Thanks so much for any feedback you can provide! I've got lots of other questions about propagation, trellises, and how to identity a (perhaps wild) grape vine (muscadine, I hope!) growing on an overgrown part of my property.

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salcoco

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I would prune back this spring to a trunk and two cordons so that they form a "T" you will need to have at least 40 buds on the entire plant. they do not need to be evenly distributed. fix the trellis so that it very sturdy and tie the cordons to the new trellis. it seems like we are removing quite a bit of grape vine but in fact you will be replenishing the plant. the following year pick new growth and form the "T" again make sure you have the 40 buds.fertilize in the spring with a cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer per plant. spread it around the plant at least 6 feet in diameter. roots of grape plants can extend up to 8 ft.
 

skepticCS

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That's great information and it seems I'll actually be saving more of each plant than I thought I was going to be able to, so that's extra good news! So, the following year after I do the big pruning (spring 2018) I should cut the two cordons I saved this coming year (spring 2017) and pick two new ones to train? I just want to make sure I understand that part correctly.

How early can I start pruning? Are there any particular climate or plant conditions I need to wait for?

Thanks, Salcoco!
 
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salcoco

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you are correct in picking new cordons in 2018.

I would wait until the vine has gone dormant and all of the sap has gone back to the roots. I am not sure how sever your winters are in NC, but I would not prune until Jan and wait until at least 40 degree days.Concord has a proficiency of dripping lots of sap once it is pruned. do not worry it will recover.
 
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