Poorly maintained grapes

Discussion in 'Grapes and Grape Vines' started by amckenzie4, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. amckenzie4

    amckenzie4 New Member

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    Hey folks. I moved into a new house this year, and one of the potentially nice things about it is a pair of grape vines. Unfortunately, whoever planted them put two plants about a foot apart, with a "trellis" a little less than three feet high. As you might expect, they've pretty much outgrown the trellis, and are kind of a mess.

    I did get some grapes from them this year -- small (1-1.5cm across, maybe?), green, ripening to dark red, and fantastic flavor. They're south-facing at the top of a small hill, so they get lots of sun where they are, and seem reasonably healthy aside from not having ever been pruned, as far as I can tell.

    My question is, what should I do for these? Is it a good idea to try to dig one out and move it further away from the other? My inclination is to install a wire trellis for them. I've found a lot of good information on maintaining them once they're there, but not much on the stage between "abandoned" and "trellised." Any advice on the right way to switch from one to the other would be appreciated! 20191121_142029.jpg 20191121_142021.jpg
     
  2. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    I'd first pruned those grapes and then dug one up and replanted more suitable place somewhere farther.
     
  3. amckenzie4

    amckenzie4 New Member

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    Thanks! How far back should I prune them? My understanding is that I basically want the trunk to reach at least the lower wire of a trellis: should I be just cutting off all the cane?

    As to replanting... other than doing it while the plant is still dormant, is there anything I ought to be doing to keep it healthy?
     
  4. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you're going to leave one of the vines in place, it would not have to be pruned as severely as the one being moved. You could also just leave both vines in place and prune them so that their canes don't interfere with each other; e.g., grow canes to the right side of a trellis on one vine and canes to the left on the other one. I've planted grape vines right next to each other in order to have two varieties on the same tall trellis, but with canes at different heights. Both seem to grow well. I think that root grafts have naturally developed between the adjacent vines, because one of them was planted at least 10 years after the other one but the later plant seems to be just as vigorous as the original one after a couple of years.

    If you move one of the plants, it would be best to prune it back to just the trunk with some short stubs where you want new canes to grow, if it has a usable trunk. Otherwise, prune it back to the lowest new cane and use that cane as the new trunk.

    Any vine that is not moved can be pruned for the best fit on the presumably new trellis.
     
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  5. amckenzie4

    amckenzie4 New Member

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    Thanks! That's all quite useful, since I really don't know what I'm doing. I have some experience with fruit trees (apple and cherry), but that's about it.

    It sounds like probably try to move one, and see how badly the roots are tangled. If I can't get it loose, fill it back in and let them share a trellis.
     
  6. Edie

    Edie New Member

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    Grape vines that are planted too closely together do not perform as well. I would definitely move one, as one foot spacing is pretty darn close. If you choose not to move it at least follow the advice of the previous post, and grow the canes in opposite directions. Good luck!
     
  7. amckenzie4

    amckenzie4 New Member

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    Thanks! That was my first thought, but I thought I remembered that grapes don't transplant well. Given the choice, I'd rather move one, if I can.
     
  8. amckenzie4

    amckenzie4 New Member

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    I pruned both, and moved the smaller one about 8' from the larger. Since I had a whole lot of material pruned off, I'm taking a stab at rooting them. I wouldn't be upset to add another vine or two next spring. Here's hoping they survive!
     

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  9. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    Looks ok to me! I'd still supported the larger one more substantially, if there is plenty of snow expected in your region.
     
  10. amckenzie4

    amckenzie4 New Member

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    Thanks. As it happens, we may be getting 18" tomorrow. The stake it's attached to is sunk about 8", I think, but I can probably get something better in tomorrow morning.
     

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