Pruning by the Guyot system

The Guyot system is a traditional practice popularised by Charles Guyot in the 1860s. It is a cane-pruned system with spurs. The cane buds grow into shoots that produce the yield in the following season. The spur buds produce shoots that can be used as canes the following year, thus preventing the vine from sprawling too far along the trellis. Often, spurs become part of the old wood.

In single Guyot, only one spur and one cane are left at winter pruning. In double Guyot, two spurs and two canes are retained.The choice between single and double Guyot is decided by the vigour of each individual plant

The choice of spur and cane

The spur should always be selected first. It should be:

  • Not too low or under the crown
  • Pointing along the row and not into the alley
  • Not too high or centrally located on the crown
  • Nearer the roots than the cane

The cane should be selected so that it is further from the roots than the spur and it should be able to be tied down (bowed) so that:

  • It does not protrude into the alley
  • It does not invade the neighbouring vine’s trellis space
  • The buds are evenly spread along the trellis

Canes are often tied down in the shape of an arch to regularise shoot vigour along their length.

Establishing young vines in the Guyot mode

Young vines must be pruned carefully to ensure that they have a straight trunk, and that their crown is well positioned in relation to the fruiting wire. It is important to remove badly positioned shoots as they grow and all flowers should be removed from the least vigorous young vines.