How to Raise Grape Vines

Overview

Grape vines are an asset to any backyard. The plants grow quickly, covering an arbor or trellis by summer's end. They provide shade and privacy. The leaves are attractive. And of course the fruit is an added bonus. Grapes don't need a cold period for fruit production like apples, pears or peaches. They grow and produce fruit in temperate climates as well as those areas that get freezing temperatures in winter. Grapes are not difficult to raise and have few stringent requirements.

Step 1

Select a variety of grape that grows well in your geographic area. While grapes will grow just about anywhere with adequate sun and water, some varieties such as concord grow and produce better in areas with cooler summers. Others such as wine for grapes prefer a temperate climate. Check the recommended USDA hardiness zone requirements to make sure the variety you select will live through the winter.

Step 2

Plant the bare root grape. Dig a hole that is 2 feet deep and wide for the bare root grape plant. Mix the removed soil half and half with compost. Refill the hole and make a cone shape in the hole. The roots of the grape vine should sit on a cone of soil in the hole and the graft bud of the grape should be just above soil level. Water and adjust the grape vine so the bud is still just above soil level.

Step 3

Install a trellis in the back of the grapevine so the branches are supported. As the grapevine grows attach the vines to the trellis. Eventually the vine will send out tendrils that will attach themselves to the trellis or other support.

Step 4

Fertilize the vine every month during warm weather with liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Keep watered with an inch of water every week, more in hotter climates.

Step 5

Check for insects such as grape leaf skeletonizers and remove by hand, remove the entire leaf that's affected or wash the pests off with a strong stream of water from the hose. Insecticides may be used as a last resort.

Step 6

Harvest the fruit. Taste to see if it's sweet. Many types such change color before they're ripe. Others such as Thompson seedless remain green even when ripe. Depending on where you live the grapes will bloom in spring, set fruit in summer and ripen in fall.

Step 7

Prune the vine if desired. This isn't strictly necessary but some vines can get out of hand very quickly. Vines grow to 20 or so feet. Grapes fruit on the canes. Pruning back to four arms with six to eight spurs on each arms will provide plenty of fruit for the next season. Remove all pruning so powdery mildew doesn't affect new growth the next season.

Tips and Warnings

  • It's difficult to kill a grape vine by over pruning. However the next year's fruit production may be severely limited or even eliminated by severe pruning.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruners
  • Compost
  • Watering source
  • Fertilizer

References

  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003
  • "The Desert Gardener's Calendar"; George Brookbank; 1999

Who Can Help

  • Backyard Gardener
Keywords: growing grape vines, how to grow grapevines, care for grape plants

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for favstocks.com