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How to Care for Wild Grape Vines

By Robin Coe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Wild grapes adapted to your area may have less problems with pest and disease.

Wild grape vines may produce smaller fruit than cultivated grape vines, and seem more like a hassle than a blessing. But with proper care you can enjoy both their taste and the ornamental addition to your landscape. Grapes you find growing naturally in your area are more likely to adapt to weather and pests that other grape vine species may not. The care you give wild grapes could enhance both the taste and size of the fruit that develops.

Make sure the soil around your wild grape vine drains well and is not soggy. Mix compost into the soil evenly if you need to improve drainage.

Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 10-6-4 to the soil in early spring at a rate of a pound per full-grown vine. Add four inches of mulch around the base of the vine to control weeds and increase water conservation.

Tie the plant to a trellis at several points along the vine if it doesn't already have a support to grow on. Remove any diseased fruits as they appear to maintain the health of the rest of the vine.

Cut off all but two vine canes from the main trunk if your wild grape vine is only one or two years old. Also, remove any new shoots or flowers. This will allow the fruit to grow bigger and healthier in the third year of your vines' development.

Cut back one vine cane to 4 feet in length to prune an older vine in the fall. Use pruning scissors to remove the old trunk of the vine in the fall so that the other part you trimmed can become the new base of the vine. Remove any smaller flower or fruit clusters from your vine during the growing season so more energy can be put into the rest of the fruit.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • 10-6-4 fertilizer
  • Ties
  • Pruning scissors

About the Author


Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.