How To Plant A Grape Vine

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This article provides helpful tips and instruction for how to plant a grape vine
by Brent Wilson · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · October 07, 2013 · 3,696 views

Before you plant grape vines, make sure to get the right type and purchase high-quality plants. Where I garden in Georgia, the fox grape varieties are best suited for our hot and humid climate. European grapes are more suited for cooler climates. Consult with your local nursery and garden center professional or Extension agent as to the varieties that are best for your area. I recommend purchasing container-grown grapevines. However, you can have success with bareroot plants. Most grape varieties are self-fertile. To be sure, check when you are purchasing vines as to whether or not you'll need more than one plant for pollination.

There are three different types of grapes:

  • American (Vitis labrusca), which are the most cold hardy
  • European (Vitis viniferia), which usually are more for wine than the table and do well in warm, dry, Mediterranean-type zones
  • Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia), which are thick-skinned American natives that thrive in the South.
  • Hybrids, which are crosses between American and European grapes

How to plant a container-grown or bareroot grapevine...Grapevine planting diagram

Before planting, make sure to select a good site. Full sun is best, but grape vines can also be grown in part shade. Just make sure it's morning sun with shade in the afternoon. Your soil needs to be deep, well-drained, and loose and there needs to be good air circulation.

  1. First, grape vines will need to be trained to some sort of support to grow upward. They can be grown on a fence or on an arbor or pergola, or you can construct a trellis or arbor before planting. SEE: How To Train & Prune Grape Vines
  2. Check soil drainage before planting. Dig a hole 12 inches deep by 12 inches wide. Fill it with water. If it takes more than 12 hours to drain then you have porrly drained soil and will need to take steps to improve drainage or plant your vines on raised mounds.
  3. Bare-root only: Soak their roots in water for two or three hours before planting. Trim off broken roots and set the vine into 12-inch deep by 12-inch wide hole, slightly deeper than it grew in the nursery. Cover the roots with 6 inches of soil and tamp down. Fill with the remaining soil, but don't tamp this down. Prune the top back to two or three buds at planting time. Water thooroughly.
  4. Space vines 6 to 10 feet apart (16 feet for muscadines).
  5. For each vine, dig a planting hole 12 inches deep and 2 to 3 times as wide as the rootball. Place soil removed from the planting hole around the perimeter of the hole. If your soil is heavy clay thoroughly mix composted organic matter (cow manure, mushroom compost, etc) at a 50/50 ratio with the native soil removed from the planting hole. If your soil is pure sand you'll need to mix in a good amount of top soil and maybe even a little peat moss to help retain moisture.
  6. Then gently remove your plant from the pot it was growing in. If the root ball is stuck in the pot either cut the container away or place the plant on it's side and pound lightly on the side of the container. This usually helps to loosen the root ball in the container. After having removed the plant from the container, gently loosen some roots around the surface of the rootball.
  7. Set your plant in the hole and add some of your backfill mixture if necessary to make sure the top edge of the rootball is at or slightly above ground level, to allow for settling.
  8. Begin back-filling around the root ball with your soil mixture tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top. Do not put any backfill soil on top of the root ball as doing so can suffocate your plant.
  9. Water your newly planted grapevine thoroughly and then apply a 1-inch layer of organic compost or a 2-inch layer of shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw. Continue watering regularly for several weeks to support settling-in and new growth...but be careful not to overwater. Grape vines do not like constantly soggy soil.



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