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How to Transplant an Old Grape Vine

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Before you transplant an old grape vine, consider that the root ball extends 3 to 5 feet into the soil. You'll need several strong helpers to dig the vine out of the ground and after all your work, it may perish from transplant shock. Grape vines grow easily from hardwood cuttings, which is probably a more reliable option -- and won't break your back. Regardless of the method you choose, try to duplicate the plant's original growing conditions.

Cut the grape vine back in late spring after new growth has emerged. Remove the vines and foliage so the plant stands 6 to 8 inches high. Cutting the plant back simplifies the transplanting process and encourages new growth.

Dig a trench around the plant, 2 feet out from the main trunk. Dig the trench at least 1 foot deep into the soil and deeper if you can manage it. As you dig, rock the shovel under the roots to loosen them.

Raise the root ball out of the ground by rocking it back and forth with the shovel. Remove as much of the root ball as possible, using a partner to grasp it from the opposite side. Trim away roots that remain entangled in the ground. Water the root ball lightly with a garden hose to keep it moist.

Work quickly to dig a hole in the new location at least as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Place the root ball in the hole so the vine sits vertically. Backfill the hole with soil half-full. Fill the hole with water from the garden hose and allow it to drain. Fill the hole completely with soil and tamp down gently with your foot.

Mix 4 oz. vitamin B-1 transplant fertilizer with 4 gallons of water and pour on the newly planted grape vine to help combat transplant shock.

Tip

To grow grapes from cuttings, trim 12-inch long stems from last year's growth in late winter, while the plant is still dormant, advises Iowa State University. Choose vines that are about as large as a pencil. Make the bottom cut directly below the last bud, which is a small triangle that will later form a new leaf. Make the top cut 1 inch above the top bud. If the soil is frozen, wrap the cuttings with twine and place them in a plastic bag with some moist peat moss. Refrigerate them until the soil thaws. Place the cuttings in the soil so the top bud sits just above the surface. Water them to keep them evenly moist. The cuttings will develop roots and new growth will emerge.

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