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Balanced pruning is used to manage vegetative vigor and fruit load to optimize yield and fruit quality in most of fruit species. The objective of this study was to determine the bud viability, yield, and fruit quality potential of four grapevine cultivars using three pruning strategies. Four cold climate grapevine cultivars- -Brianna, Frontenac, La Crescent, and Marquette--were tested with spur (SP), short cane (SC), and spur plus short cane (SPSC) pruning treatments in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The SP treatment was 10 two-bud spurs per vine, SC was five four-bud short canes, and SPSC vines had four SP and three SC. Soluble solids, pH, and total acid were measured for individual bud positions on all spurs, canes or spurs and canes on each treated vine. Yield in all cultivars was lower in 2019 and 2020 due to severe winter cold. The greatest bud viability across the three years in each cultivar was achieved in Frontenac and Marquette with SP, followed by Brianna with SP and SC and La Crescent with SPSC pruning treatments. The highest yield for pruning treatments was Brianna with SC, Frontenac with SPSC, La Crescent with SC and SPSC, and Marquette with SP and SC pruning treatments. Brianna had the greatest fruit soluble solids and pH in SC pruning treatment. In contrast, Frontenac and La Crescent had greatest fruit soluble solids and lowest total acid with SP pruning treatment. Marquette showed similar soluble solids across all pruning treatments; however, pH was greatest in SC and total acid was lower in SP and SC than in SPSC. The pruning strategy impacted bud viability, yield and fruit quality measures most differently in Brianna and La Crescent; however, with these vigorous vines the SC could provide greater yield. In contrast, in Marquette and Frontenac bud viability, yield, and fruit quality were generally favored with SP. Results of this study indicate different pruning techniques, which taken in consideration with winter injury, can be used to optimize each grape cultivar yield and fruit quality

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Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science



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