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How to Fertilize Grape Vines

By Karen Carter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Grape vines thrive when planted in areas of full sun exposure. They grow well in a wide range of soil types with good drainage. They require a maintenance routine of weeding, pruning, tying and fertilizing. These necessary cultural operations promote growth and maintain the vigor of grape-bearing vines. Moderate amounts of fertilizer create a sturdy, drought-tolerant grape vine. Grape vines can be productive for over 30 years with reasonable care even when planted in rocky, infertile soil.

Remove the winter mulch after the danger of a spring frost has passed. Remove any weeds that have sprouted around the base of the grape vine.

Cultivate the soil around the grape vines to the depth of 2 to 3 inches. Do not go much deeper since you might disturb or damage the root systems of the grape vines. Loosen the soil when it is dry so you do not create soil clumps.

Spread a complete fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 in two circular bands 12 and 18 inches from the base of the grape vine. Fill in between the two bands with a light layer of fertilizer. Move the bands out to 2 and 3 feet as the grape vine matures.

Mix the fertilizer into the top 2 inches of soil with a rake. Mixing into the soil allows the roots to obtain nutrients more efficiently and reduces fertilizer loss from heavy rain runoff.

Water the grape vine thoroughly to activate the fertilizer. The water helps to work the fertilizer down to the roots as well as help settle the soil around the grape vines.


Things You Will Need

  • Cultivator
  • Fertilizer
  • Rake
  • Water


  • The amount of fertilizer used depends on the age of the grape vine. Use 1/4 cup of fertilizer for yearling vines. Apply when new growth appears and then repeat fertilizer application a month later. Older grape vines are fertilized when their buds begin to swell. Use 1 cup of fertilizer for a 2-year-old vine, 1 to 1 1/2 cups for a 3-year-old vine and 1 to 2 cups of fertilizer for a vine that is over 3 years old.


  • Use shallow cultivation under the grape vines to keep the area weed-free. Cultivate at least 4 feet wide around the grape vines. Mulches can be used to reduce weed growth, but avoid organic mulches that release nitrogen throughout the growing season into the soil. Nitrogen released too far into the season causes uneven ripening, overgrowth of foliage and poor winter tolerance.

About the Author


Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.