Monday, October 20, 2014

Planting Grape Vines in the Fall

I wanted to follow up on a previous blog about planting grape vines in the fall because I get alot of emails about this.

So we plant grape vines in the fall and spring, but for fall planting there are a few things that are important to remember, watch for and do.

We often grow our vines in pots during the year as they are very easy to manage that way, you can move them in from inclement weather (cold/hail etc), and you can manage the inputs very easily.

This year we planted a new variety this year.  We grew them in pots throughout the year and now it is time to plant them out to the vineyard.

First you have to prepare the soil where they will grow.  Ideally it will be weed free, nicely tilled and ready to accept the vine.
Next as this is the fall make sure you have added some fall type fertilizer that does not have any nitrogen or very little nitrogen, something like a 5-15-15.  This way the soil will begin to disperse the nutients over the winter with water seepage but in the even of an extra long warm fall period you will not have to worry about nitrogen invigorating the vine.

Now dig a hole about 3 times the diameter of the pot that the vine is in.  I also use a post hole auger and dig a 10 inch diameter hole in the middle of all of this and sink it to about 2 feet deep.  Fill the deep hole back and then transfer the plant from pot to the wide hole.  This gives unfettered growth for the roots to grow down and to grow wide.  Water the vine in and ensure the roots have a bit extra soil over them, like a bit of a mound.

One thing to look for is that your vine is hardening off for the winter. You can see this at the base of the stem as that part has turned brown but further up it is still green.  If you vine is hardening off well before winter hits then you have good chance for bud survival.

In the spring let only 1 or 2 buds grow. I actually let 2-3 buds grow till danger of frost has past then let the strongest grow and trim back the others.  Then train that one up a pole over the rest of the summer.