Caring for Young Grape Vines
My name is David Handley, I’m with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and we’re here to talk about how to prune and train a young grapevine. This is a vine that was planted last spring. We got it from a dormant plant, or rooted cutting, and you can see the original part of the planting right here. This is what we got from the nursery, with a good root system under it. We planted it, and we had a bud break and some vine growth. This is last year’s growth right here. This was a green shoot. Typically, you may get more than one shoot developing. You may have several buds on here. We want to prune this back to one strong vine, your strongest one. We’re going to arrange for that to be tied.
Up to a trellis, because this particular vine is what’s going to become our permanent trunk, or the permanent part of the plant that’s going to be with us for the life of the planting. We want to make sure it’s the strongest of the vines that we can choose from. Any other one that developed that’s very weak, we can just cut that out, select our best one. The time of year to make these cuts are when the canes are dormant, and this is going to be really any time after the new year, until they bud out in late March, early April. We hope in the first year that we get enough good growth that we can tie it to the lower trellis wire. Typically here in Maine, we’re going to be.
Pruning to either a four arm kniffin training system, or an umbrella kniffin training system. Those trellises consist of two wires, one set at about two and a half feet, and a second wire set at about five feet. We hope in the first year that we’re going to get enough good growth to reach at least the bottom wire, but in order to make sure it’s growing straight, you can see we supported this with a small bamboo pole. Any kind of planting stake will work, and we just tie that vine up as it grows, rather than let it grow along the ground where it can get rot problems, and not develop a nice straight growth like we want. We tie it up, just like you’d tie up a beef steak tomato, get the.
Growth that you want. As I said, we’ve got pretty good buds here, reaching up to the first wire. You can see that I actually make it to the top wire, but you can see the growth up here is very scrawny and spindly, and isn’t really going to lead to a good, strong trunk. I’d rather actually start new growth for reaching to this top wire for next year. What that means is that I’m actually going to cut this off here, rather low, to try to get this bud here to break and give me a much stronger shoot to develop my trunk to the top wire next year. I can just take that there, and then, instead of using the bamboo pole this year, I can just tie it to the wire.
This bud will hopefully break, and give me a good, strong shoot, that I’m going to reach the second wire next year. Of course, these buds lower down will also break, and if this one happens to be weak, I may select one of these. But, if this bud does turn out to be a strong shoot, I’ll be cutting these off next winter and getting my single trunk back up to the top wire. Next year, when this does reach the top wire, eventually what we’ll be doing is taking one year old cane, and either draping it over this top wire and connecting it to the bottom wire in an umbrella kniffin, or we’ll be taking one cane at the top wire on each side, and one cane at the bottom wire on each side,.
To create four arms of one year old growth, for a four\uc0\u8209 arm kniffin system. Both systems work pretty well for concrete type grapes here in a cold climate like Maine.
Hi, I’m Tricia, and organic gardener. Grapes are a beautiful edible landscape plant, as well as producing delicious fruit. Today I’m going to plant a new grapevine. If you’re not ready to plant your grapes as soon as they arrive, that’s ok, you can heel them in. You can either dig a shallow trench, put the grape vines in and cover the roots with soil, or you can do like I’ve done and put the roots in a bucket, cover them with soil and protect them with a little bit of straw.
Grapes are tolerant of a wide variety of soils, but it is important to check with your Master Gardener or local ag extension to find out what varieties will do best in your climate. Your site selection should be in full sun with a southern exposure, away from trees. And avoid depressions where cool air can collect. Ideally, preparation for planting your grapes will start the year before with a soil test and an appropriate cover crop. Grapes like moderate fertility and a pH of about 5.5 7. In most climates you can plant grapes in late winter or early spring.
For northern climates you might want to wait until a little bit later in the spring. Just dig a hole the same size as the roots and don’t add any fertilizer. You don’t want to get more leaves than fruit! Soak the roots of your grapevine for about 2 to 3 hours before planting, and then you can prune off any damaged roots. But it’s important to leave as much of the root system as possible. Make sure that the roots are loose and not clumped together. The hole should be deep enough to plant the vine to the same level it was planted before,.
With a few inches of soil over the longest roots. Gently back fill the soil with the topsoil first. And if it hasn’t rained recently make sure and give your plant some water. You want to train your newly planted little grapevine to grow into a big grapevine with a straight single trunk reaching the trellis. In order to do that we’re going to prune this plant so that it has one straightish cane. By the second year you need some kind of a support system. This two wire support system is very common and easy to build.
To train your grapevine to grow straight up to the trellising, you may need to do a temporary support like bamboo and then just tie it together with a little twine or some tape. These are flame grapes, so I’ll be training them to a bilateral cordon. That is I want a nice straight trunk. And then I’ll choose two buds that will be trained into big, permanent branches on either side of the trunk. It’s really important to tag your plants. I use these permanent zinc plant tags.
Its really important to know what variety you have so that you can prune appropriately. Whether you have a big vineyard or you’ve just planted a few grape vines, grapes will benefit from cover cropping. So get ready for winter pruning, and Grow Organic for Life!.