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Growing Guides



Grape Vines

 

Planting

Grapes prefer a sheltered site, ideally against a sunny wall or fence. The soil should be well drained and not too rich. The planting distance will depend on the adopted growing system. On the rod system, vines should be planted 2m (6ft 6in) apart.

Plant your vines as soon as possible after receipt. Should weather conditions be adverse (i.e. if the ground is frozen or too wet to plant), then the bushes can be left in their pots in a sheltered spot or if bare rooted should be temporarily heeled in until conditions improve. Dig a hole or shallow trench and cover the roots loosely with sufficient soil or compost so that no roots are exposed to the air.

Improve the soil structure by thorough digging before planting and if possible mix well rotted manure or compost into the top soil.

Soak the roots in water for 1-2 hours. Dig a hole comfortably large enough to take the rootball, remove the pot and plant, ensuring the top of the rootball is level with the surrounding soil or up to 1cm (½in) deeper. Apply rootgrow™ mycorrhizal fungi directly to the roots before planting - this will help the plant to establish quickly. Firm the soil around the rootball and water-in thoroughly.

There is no need to remove the grafting wax which is there to protect the graft - the wax itself will weather away over time.

 

Watering

In very dry weather water your vine thoroughly once a week, especially during its first spring and summer.

 

Weeding & Mulching

Keep the area around your vine free of weeds, particularly during its first year. An annual mulch of well rotted compost will greatly improve moisture retention and soil structure, and help suppress unwanted weeds.

 

Pruning

There are many different methods of training vines, developed over thousands of years.  A simple way to grow vines in a restricted area is using the rod system. To establish the vine allow only two strong shoots to develop. These two shoots will form the main stems or rods. Vines fruit on new side growths from the main stem. In spring, when the fruit has developed, pinch out the tips of young side growths leaving two or three leaves beyond each bunch. In November, after all the leaves have fallen, prune back all side shoots to two buds from the main stem or rod. Never allow more than two new side shoots to grow from each of these spurs.

 

Feeding

Feed liberally in spring using Fruit Feed.

 

Pests & Diseases

Grapes are generally trouble free but watch out for powdery mildew (white blotches on the leaves and fruit) and grey mould (botrytis). Any chemicals should be used strictly as per the manufacturers instructions.

 

Further Information

For further information refer to RHS Growing Fruit by Harry Baker. Useful information can also be found on the RHS website.

 

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