Grapevine Pruning in Winter

February 6, 2014 – a thicket near the garden club plots

It had been weighing on my mind all fall and winter: pruning the grapevines at our garden. They had been let go for years and are weak.

They say that at our latitude in the US (I’m in growing zone 5b/6), you should prune in the middle of winter, sometime after President’s Day. So yesterday (February 22) the day finally came with the sun shining and slightly warmer weather, to go prune.


The grapevines are still on the fence. This is before pruning. This was taken February 6.

After pruning. You can now barely make out the grapevines growing against the fence. In summer, they bend the fence due to weight. And look! You can see the raised beds were warm enough to melt the snow. This was taken February 22.

Parts of the snow had turned to a sheet of ice.

Sun reflecting off what became a sheet of ice when the snow melted a bit.

We got all the grapevines pruned. My butterfly bush too.

You can make out just a couple of the grapevines. But in the center of the picture, on the other side of the fence, you can see the clippings on the ground. Those used to be intertwined with the fence. The dwarf butterfly bush is barely seen on this side of the fence, on the far left.

It was a great relief to have that chore done for the season.


    • It was much colder the first time I was there February 6. This being February 22, we had a “heat wave” compared to other times of the winter. Yes, it’s been colder than most records for 20 years!


      • Our local old-timers say that they cannot remember a winter this cold. But record cold takes on a new meaning in Illinois, compared to north Texas. Do you get outdoors often?


        • No, it’s so bitter cold I can’t take it. But this past several days it’s been better. It was great to get out in the garden last Saturday. Even though there was nothing else to do there, it was hard for me to leave (as usual) lol There are indoor malls here that I could walk around, and I do on occasion (not to shop).


            • About the only thing they’re good for. lol Hey, there’s a mall here in St. Charles, it’s scary because it is literally like a ghost town. No joke. It’s 2 levels & quite large. There are only 2 food stands left in the huge food court, and 2 anchor stores, and a cinema. Everyone else left and the shops are all black plastic & barred entrances. People use it for walking all the time. But it feels like a zombie apocalypse happened there. In some odd way it gave me hope. lol


    • First, I never planted them, so I have no idea what variety they are. 2nd, they weren’t pruned last year, nor thinned, so the grapes we got were tiny. They actually were quite sweet & a bit tart. They seemed to be some concord variety – they were dark purple. I’m not counting on a harvest, but at least improve the health of the plants because whoever planted them years ago grew them simply as a bug trap (Japanese beetles love them). I figure that means they’re pretty unhealthy for bugs to set in so easily.


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