Initial Training

The initial training of a vine is intended to direct and accelerate its cov­erage. This may involve tying the shoots of twining and tendril species to the support; holdfast-producing vines will not need to be tied. Shoots that grow outward from the wall or support should be pruned off. Only lateral shoots growing parallel to the support should be permitted to develop.

If the young vine does not have several vigorous shoots at its base at the time of planting, it should be pruned back to the lowest pair of healthy buds. From these buds, several vigorous shoots will develop, which can then be tied or otherwise directed.

Application of a complete, low-analysis fertilizer to the vine during its first spring of new growth, and deep watering to promote deep root­ing, will ensure a successful beginning for the vine.

Developmental Pruning

Developmental pruning is usually necessary if the vine’s full potential is to be realized. The amount of work required depends on the species. If the vine climbs by holdfasts and total wall coverage is the only objective, little attention is needed except the removal of dead or damaged shoots, and those extending too far outward from the wall.

If the pattern of growth is to be more restricted and defined, the vine is likely to require regular pruning once or twice annually. If pro­fuse flowering is desired, young wood must be encouraged and unruly, older, nonflowering shoots must be pruned away. Severe pruning can cut away key tendrils or entwined branches that support the vine, how­ever. Even vines that climb easily may need to be tied to the support in strategic places to guard against falling after a heavy pruning.

Since vines, like trees and shrubs, flower at different times of the year, they cannot all be pruned at the same time if the flower dis­play is to be encouraged. Table 12-1 provides a general timetable for pruning.

pt’ TABLE 12-1.

A Guide to Pruning Flowering Vines

Time of Flowering

Season Flower Buds Produced

When to Prune

Spring (April to June)

Preceding summer

Cut the flowering shoots back to within several inches of the main framework branches immediately after flowering.

Early summer (May to July) and late summer (August to September)

First flowers are from old wood of the previous year. Second flowers are on young shoots of the current season.

Cut back each time after flowering by removing one-third of the shoot. Fertilize after the first summer pruning.

Summer and autumn (June to September)

Current season on new growth

Prune back all the growth from the previous year during the winter and mulch the crown, or prune in the early spring before shoot growth begins.