[Grapevines] Do we prune off basal shoots and secondary shoots in spur pruning?

First of all, I have an unknown variety. So I’m not sure if the answers to these questions are variety specific or not.

Many of the sources I’ve read say that you should have 2 buds per spur and that spurs should be about fist-width apart or 5 inches. That makes about 4 shoots or so per foot of canopy. With that being said, some questions come to mind.

  1. Does that mean we intend to have two shoots per spur? In other words, does that mean we prune off secondary shoots arising from the two buds on the spurs?

  2. Does that mean we prune off any basal shoots other than ones we intend to use as replacement spurs for next year (to keep spurs close to the cordon)?

  3. Do we let said basal shoots (as described in question #2) carry fruit or do we prune off their fruit?

Bonus question: how many fruitful shoots would you advise for an unknown grapevine variety going into it’s 3rd year in 2021?


With an unknown you can’t be sure that spur pruning will retain fruitful buds. In some varieties those two bottom buds may not bear fruit. You’ll know after the first yr. Based on that any variety can be cane pruned but only some are fully fruitful if spur pruned.

The good thing about grapes is each yr you get a do over. So you can learn and do better the following yr.

Also the spurs retained must be last yrs wood. Older wood won’t be fruitful.

If it were mine I’d leave some spurs to see how they do. And some canes just in case. You can prune out what you don’t want after they set fruit.

I’d prune out everything else. Not sure what basal shoots mean to you but when I prune there is nothing else left.

Third yr size can vary a lot. But maybe 20 shoots with fruit.


That is a really important piece of information. Thank you so much!

So about 10 count buds in each direction (meaning on each cane)?

It’s hard to say without seeing the plant. You can always thin off clusters if there are too many. Or cut the bottom half off each cluster esp if the clusters are long and scraggly. But about 20 fruitful buds on the whole plant should work. You could leave 40 and then thin clusters.