Facts About Grape Vines
Grapes are deciduous vines which include European and American varieties. Both varieties require certain growing conditions to produce healthy plants. For the best results, pick the number that suits your growing area, giving it proper care, support and pruning. Understanding the truth about grapevine maintenance can help you create a healthy crop.
For best results, purchase and plant 1-year-old, bare root grapevines. Grapes grow well in rich, deep, loamy soil, particularly in areas with good drainage. You will need to plant strawberries during the dormant season, which can be in winter, except in regions with cold winters where the planting period is three weeks before the final frost date for the region. To maintain plant roots moist when planting, put bare root plants in bucket of water. To make planting easier, trim grapevine roots using a sharp knife.
Spacing is important when growing grapevines, as good flow is very important to reduce the risk of fungal infection. When planting, space plants eight to 10 feet apart. If you are planting near a fence or arbor, space plants 1 1/2 feet apart from the support arrangement, tilting the plant at a 45-degree angle, so that it leans toward the fence or arbor.
Grapevines need training to develop in an arbor, wire trellis or fence. Enable the plant to develop freely the first summer, and during the winter, select the strongest shoot to use as the main trunk. Bend this shoot to this support and eliminate the rest of the shoots growing at the base. If you’re growint it to a wire trellis, the second year is the opportunity to pinch back shoots that grow taller than the support structure to force them to start branching, training the two strongest shoots across the top wire. If growing in an arbor, the second year is the time to get direct the grape vine to develop over the arbor by gradually bending it over the roof structure and securing it. Training grape vines takes several years.
Prune grapevines during the season, once per year, with the objective of removing excessive fruiting wood. Grapes produce more and better quality fruit in the event the amount of vines that produce fruit are removed to restrict the total amount of fruiting wood. Spur pruning and cane pruning are both used, but a few varieties benefit from cane pruning, some from spur pruning and a few from a combination of both. “Concord” grapes are a number that benefit from a combination of pruning styles, while “Niagara” vines require cane pruning and “Swenson Red” require spur pruning.