How to Tend Grape Vines

Overview

Grapevines are hardy and seemingly grow without a lot of help. However, growing and thriving are two different things. Grapevines require proper care to produce optimal results in the form of an abundance of sweet, juicy grapes. With proper care, in a few years time, grapevines typically produce enough fruit to make the efforts of the gardener worthwhile.

Step 1

Plant your grapevines in full sun and in well-draining soil. Grapevines do well in warm climates. Plant your grapevines at least 6 feet apart. Place rocks in the bottom of the holes before planting the grapevines; the rocks help the soil drain. Do not overcrowd the roots--spread the roots out before covering with soil. Remove all but the healthiest canes.

Step 2

Water your grapes daily the first three months. Moist roots are more flexible. After your grapevines are well established, cut back to watering twice a week, except when temperatures are extremely hot. Resume daily watering during hot weather to produce plump and juicy grapes.

Step 3

Train your grapes on a trellis, pole, wires or a fence. Wrap them around your chosen structure so they grow in the desired direction.

Step 4

Prune your grapes during the dormant season. Thin out the vines so more energy goes to the strongest canes. Pruning results in larger and more abundant fruit. Pruning is less essential the first year, but yields positive results starting with the second season. Cut off old wood to promote healthy new growth.

Step 5

Feed your newly planted grapevines to encourage optimal growth. Feed with fertilizers rich in zinc, nitrogen and potassium. After the first few years, use less fertilizer. Excessive fertilizer in later years leads to an abundance of leaves but a shortage of fruit.

Step 6

Protect your grapevines from pests. Mildew, a common problem for grapes, occurs in hot and humid summers. Black rot and fungus attacks grapes during spring rains. Aphids, mites and Japanese beetles attack grapevines. Spray grapevines with fungicide. Keep the ground around grapevines clear of fallen leaves to reduce the amount of pests and fungal growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid the use of fertilizer that contains herbicides. Herbicides damage grapes.

Things You'll Need

  • Grapevine plants
  • Water
  • Trellis, pole, wires or a fence for training
  • Pruning sheers
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticide

References

  • Vine to Wine Guide: Grapevine Care
  • University of Minnesota: Growing Grapes for Home Use
  • Best Garden Shop: How to Care for Grapevines
  • National Gardening Association: Grape Essentials
  • National Gardening Association: Care and Harvesting of Grapes
Keywords: grapevine care, growing grapes, grow grapevines

About this Author

Rebecca Moore has been a writer since 1994. She has been published on Associated Content, Suite101, eHow and numerous print magazines. Moore attended Living Word Bible College and Leeward Community College. Moore enjoys spending time at garden shops and botanical gardens and experimenting with hydroponics and square foot gardening.