Dr Ahmad S Khan, Naveed Ahmad and Dr Basharat A. Saleem Growing grapes in your home garden can be a wonderful hobby and a challenging experience. Many varieties of grapes can successfully be cultivated in backyard garden with distinct fruit colour, size, taste, flavour and aroma. Harvested fruit can be consumed fresh or used for preparations of juices, jellies, jams and various dessert recipes. Besides the obvious use as a fruit, grapevines can be attractive ornmentals in any home garden. Along with other management practices like nutrition, insect pest and disease control, the pruning of grapevines is essential which is never done by home gardeners. People complain about less fruiting or some time no fruiting in home garden grape vines - its remedy is pruning which is essential for the production of high yield with good quality fruit. The judicious removal of any plant part to improve its shape and usefulness is known as pruning. Pruning grapevine not only helps to evenly distribute the fruiting buds but also facilitates of berry thinning (removal of grapes at earlier stage for good size). Grapevine is a kind of plant which shed all leaves with the onset of winter and become dormant up to the end of February-termed as deciduous. Pruning of grapevines should be done when theyre dormant from the second week of February to end of February before the bud sprouting in spring. Pruning too early at the beginning of dormant period and too late after bud sprouting is not recommended because it may harm growth as sap flow rises in branches at this time. The desirable fruit buds usually appear on one-year-old wood technically called cane. Whilst, older wood usually results in water shoots that are not immediately useful for fruit bearing but people become happy on this useless sprouting because their vine is going vigorous. However, cutting back the water shoots to two buds (known as renewal spur) may be useful for fruiting in the following year. How much to prune a grapevine is always a challenge for amateur gardeners? Pruning which is carried out during first few years to give vine balanced framework, shape and support is called training. Grapevines are not self supporting and need some staking for support, which can be achieved by using some polls or wires. For one year old vine select the most vigorous looking stem during the winter and remove all other stems at the base of the plant or as close to the trunk as possible. Stake this stem and it will become the trunk of the vine. Use a grape stake or tie the vine along a fence with wire. Allow stems to grow from the main trunk. If the vine isnt branching where you want it too, pinch the top of the main trunk to encourage sioe branching. Cut back the top of the trunk during midsummer of the second year, when the vine reaches the desired height. This tip pruning will force new growth along the main trunk. Remove any new branch that doesnt fit in your plan. Cut back all except the desired side branches and the main trunk during the second winter. What you have now is the basic frame for the plant an upright stem with two sets of side branches. Allow the vine to grow during the third spring and summer, remove anything that grows from the trunk. You have to retain the basic framework of the vine. Leave ten to twelve buds along each of the branch during the third winter. Pruning during the third winter is crucial to future fruit production. These ten to twelve buds will produce fruit during the 4th summer. During summer, the fruit develops on the new growth that springs from the renewal spur. Keeping them short during the dormant season keeps the plants under control. Buds that are brown and brittle have been damaged by the winter frost should be pruned off. Keep vines pruned to allow maximum airflow and sunlight to reach the vines and fruit. Be careful not to cut off the newest years growth from the renewal spurs. You only need one bud from that growth, but if you lose it by careless pruning, you will lose your harvest for next summer. Trim off lateral shoots which grow out to the side. This type of shoot is not very fruitful and should always be removed. Prune new shoots coming from the main trunk during first couple years to encourage the main vine to grow. The best buds for fruit production on a cane are the fourth to twelfth buds. Buds after that are not as productive and should be pruned back, unless you need them to provide stabilisation on the trellis. However, this behaviour mainly depends on the phenology and physiology of each variety. Use iron wire to tie off your vines and create horizontal supports. Dont prune too early in fall and after first week of March. Always use sharp scissors to make sharp and smooth cuts. Pruned wood can be utilised for multiplication of new plants as grapevines are commercially propagated asexually through hardwood cuttings.