Grapes are popular in the garden for their appearance and because of their edible fruit. Caring for grapevines can be challenging, especially before they become established in the garden. While they can survive for many years with minimal care, in order for them to be successful in producing fruit, maintenance will be needed throughout the year. There are varieties of grape that are well suited to most growing areas.
Tie your grapevine loosely to a trellis as it grows. This will help the plant support the weight of the fruit later in the season and prevent the vine from becoming damaged.
Work the soil in the spring with a small hoe to prevent weeds from choking out your vine and to destroy pest pupae that lie beneath the surface soil. Avoid working beyond the first couple of inches of soil as you could injure shallow roots.
Apply 1/4-lb. of fertilizer in a circle around the vine 4 feet away from the plant the first year. In subsequent years only apply fertilizer if the leaves were discolored or growth was poor in the preceding year. Apply one pound in a circle 8 feet from the plant in this case.
Prune the grapevines in the spring while the plant is still dormant and not producing new shoots or buds. Trim off any canes that produced fruit the year before with a pair of pruning shears. Each cane will only produce fruit once, so it is imperative to not allow the plant to waste nutrients on fallow canes.
Prevent pests by keeping the area weed-free and cleaning up any dead leaves that fall around the plant every fall. Antibiotics and pesticides are available to combat many of the pests that plague grapevines. Powdery mildew, grape berry moth and grape phylloxera are only a few of the common pests common to grapes.