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Growing grape vines

Growing grape vinesAs a rule the gardener is advised to obtain the few vines he may wish to plant for family use from some reliable nearby nurseryman, who will be qualified and willing to help him in the selection of varieties suited to his locality, rather than to attempt to propagate them for himself. He should, however, know and understand the more simple methods of propagation, and then, if opportunity offers, he can put his knowledge into practical use by propagating them for himself. Most varieties of grapes are easily propagated by one or both of two simple methods that are in general practice, viz., by layering and by cuttings.

All varieties of the grape may be propagated easily by layering. The process consists in bringing a branch of the growing vine into direct contact with the soil and holding it m that position until roots are thrown out at the point of contact, after whch the newly formed vine or plant may be cut loose and transplanted to any desired place where it is intended to grow. One growing season will be required for the root system to be sufficiently perfected for severing the new plant from the mother vine.

Layering should be done in early spring. Plants may be made from one cane or shoot of the previous years' growth of wood. This is accomplished by placing the cane, when the buds have fairly started, in a shallow trench about 3 inches deep. After the shoots have grown a few inches a little earth should be drawn into the trench filling about the vine and the base of these growing shoots. In a few days a little more earth is to be worked in and so on till the trench is full. Meantime the shoots should be tied in an upright position to small stakes, and the ground kept well cultivated during the growing season: The following spring the buried cane or underground stem with its rooted plant at each node or joint, should be taken up and the plants separated by cutting them apart. Then each young plant will be ready for its permanent place in the vineyard.

Propagating grapes by cuttings - Cuttings for propagation should usually be prepared in the fall. This will be a measure of safety against possible injury, injury from severe winter weather that may follow, though, if the winter proves to be mild, most hardy-varieties would go thyough without injury, in which case they would still grow if cut fresh from the vine in the spring at the time for planting them out. Cuttings, should be made about 1 foot in length or long enough to include three or more joints.

They should always be made from a shoot of the last year's wood; called a cane. The first cut, beginning at the base of the cane, should be made about half an inch below the lower eye or bud, then draw the cane forward to the desired length and cut off again below the bud in the same manner and so proceed until all the cane is divided into cuttings.

The lower or butt end of each cutting will be thus recognized by its short and uniform length below the bud, while the upper end will have a longer stem or spur extending above the upper bud. This fact, if remembered, will always enable the planter to determine which end of the cutting is the lower end, the one to be inserted in the ground.

If the cuttings are made in the fall, as they usually should be, they may be tied in bunches of convenient sizes and buried in a dry place in the garden by covering, them completely with fresh, clean garden soil, until time for planting in the following spring.
Great care should be taken not to, place them where they will be covered by stagnant water at any time during the winter.

As soon as the soil is in proper condition to work in the spring, a bed or nursery row should be well prepared and the cuttings taken from their winter quarters and planted in a V-shaped trench which is made ready for them. When they are all placed in the open furrow, by leaning them against the almost perpendicular side at regular intervals of about 4 inches apart, the soil should be drawn in from the opposite side and, when the trench is partially filled, made compact about the base of the cuttings by a gentle pressure of the foot, after which the trench should be filled to the level.

They should be so placed as to bring the upper bud of each cutting just even with the surface of the ground. During the spring and summer following, the ground must be well cultivated, allowing no weeds nor grass to grow among the young plants. Many, but not all, of the cuttings of most hardy varieties thus treated will grow and form good plants for the vineyard at the end of the first year. They are seldom so good for transplanting after they have stood the second year in the nursery.