image by KoS, Wikimedia Commons
If you've got visions of Lucille Ball stomping grapes on her famous TV show, maybe you need to get serious about taking care of your own grape plants. Grape plants can thrive in just about any type of soil, but they do need some regular care to produce good-tasting fruit. Learning how to take care of grapes involves pruning, fertilizing, and training the vines. Taking proper care of your grape plants will result in a beautiful foliage display that will liven up your landscape. Let's explore how to take care of grape plants.
Designate an area of your yard for your grape plants. The location should have full sun and soil with adequate drainage. Remove as many weeds as possible before conditioning the soil for planting.
Turn over the dirt in your grapevine plot using a shovel or tiller. Add organic soil conditioner to the plot, mixing this into the top 12 inches of soil. Healthy soil at planting time will encourage strong growth of roots and foliage. Turning over the top 12 inches of soil will also deeply stimulate water percolation into the ground when watering.
Plant grapevines in a hole twice as large as the planting container. Each individual vine should have its own hole spaced 6 to 10 feet from the nearest neighboring grape plant. Place the vine in the hole so the joint between the stem and root ball lies about 1 inch below the surrounding soil level. Add or remove soil from the hole as needed until you position the plant correctly.
Fill in around the plant and press down on the soil to remove air pockets. Don't compact the soil tightly. The area immediately surrounding the grapevine plant should have a slight hollowed-out indentation.
Water the plant until pooling occurs in the indentation. Allow the water to drain into the ground and fill with soil until the surface is level. Grapes require about 1 inch of water per week thereafter at the base of the plant. Watering leaves can promote pest infestations and fungus.
Train the vines onto lattice or wire trellises as the plants grow. Space plant stakes every 10 inches at the back of the grapevine plant. Twist wire at 10-inch intervals and stretch to a nearby stake. Secure additional pieces of wire to make higher-level crossings. The grapevines will work their way up this grid as the plant matures. Add more wire as needed to accommodate the growth of the plant.
Fertilize with a high-quality organic fertilizer in the spring.
Clip back vines to control growth during complete dormancy in the middle of the winter.