[NAFEX] American grapes

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Feb 11 13:28:11 EST 2008

Most of those can be pruned to cordons with spurs, though Seneca has to 
be pruned to canes.  I prefer spurs on cordons as they are easier to 
prune each year.  However, if you want you can prune all of them to 
canes, such as the old Kniffen system.  Some varieties like Concord 
will have slightly larger clusters when trained to canes.  Canes just 
take more selecting and the system tends to confuse inexperienced 
growers.  Also, it's easier to overcrop a young vine with canes instead 
of spurs.
Mushroom compost is fine for young vines, and even older ones if you go 
light. Young vines need fertility to get them going well, older vines 
need a little, but not as much.   More important  is keeping the vines 
watered, or better yet, mulched so they stay moist without 
wet-dry-wet-dry watering and drying out.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
For even more grape lessons, go to  http://www.grapeschool.com
For all other things grape,   http://www.vitisearch.com

On Feb 11, 2008, at 8:52 AM, Sue Christensen wrote:

Last spring I purchased a number of grapes for juice/jam and fresh
eating.  Despite regular watering, the extended drought may have
contributed to the very slow growth last year.  Also, an early
spring-like system led to early budbreak followed by freezes, so I
lost the initial leaves. This spring, I need to construct a trellis
to support them and I wondered which type of system you would
recommend for these varieties: Buffalo, Seneca, Concord, Steuben,
Cayuga, Sheridan, Red and White Swenson, Jupiter.

I'm in zone 6A PA, so I don't know if the instructions for northern
planting still apply (2-strand wire fence, prune plant to low-headed
double trunk).

Also, is it advisable to use aged horse manure or mushroom compost
with these grapes? I know these varieties are purported to be
vigorous in nature, but I dug the grape arbor space out of silty loam
grasslands that are somewhat skimpy in depth of friable organic
matter. I was wondering if giving them a "boost" at some growth point
was permissible this year.

Thanks for your advice.
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