[NAFEX] Grape plant survival

Ray Kaminski r-jkaminski at att.net
Sun Feb 10 20:35:45 EST 2008

     In reading about dropping blackberries from freezing I would 
like to share my experience of dropping grape plants in a similar 
way.  I have 15 grape plants total and 5 of these will not survive 
the cold without help.  My grapes are spaced 10 feet apart in 3 
rows.   Heavy wire is placed between the poles for support at 2 feet 
high and 60 inches on top.   The grapes grow with an arm going each 
direction from center of the plant on each wire. This is good if you 
do not have to mess around with the plants, however if you have to 
cut them from the wires and lay them on the ground it becomes a real 
mess. They tangle up and when you go to pick them up in the spring 
your problems really start when it comes to pruning. An easy method 
of handling the tender grapes is to go a place that sells 
construction material and get some of the heavy wire that is used and 
placed into concrete when it is laid.  It is the heavy wire that has 
squares of of about 6 inches.  It comes 5 feet wide and I place a 5 
foot high by 7 foot long piece (side ways)  attached with "S" clips 
to the support wires.  As the grapes grow during the year they attach 
themselves to the construction wire. In the fall early (while still 
warm after harvest) I unhook the "S" clips and lower the whole plant, 
wire and all to the ground.   When you do this they will not go flat 
to the ground right away but they work them selves down slowly with 
out pressure and thus no breakage of any wood occurs.The weight of 
the plants and the wire  on top, keeping them flat, will help to 
bring  them to the ground.
In the spring you pick up the whole wire, grapes and all,  attach the 
"S" clips again and you are ready
to prune without a tangled mess.
My brother saw my method and his comment was "Give the job to a lazy 
man and he will find an easier way to do the job." He also uses that 
method in central Wisconsin and loves it. If you have any 
questions  please E-mail me.  Ray  Zone 4  N.E. Wisc.

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