[NAFEX] grape growth habits

Jim Cooper JCooper at lewiston.k12.id.us
Fri Mar 13 15:44:07 EDT 2009

Again, another point I forgot. You need to cut the most of the plants back to 2 buds of new growth. Forcing them to begin up again. Attach them to something, like a 2x2 planted beside each plant. or something to keep the wind from breaking them off. Then when they grow up to the top wire let them go up beyond about 12-18" before you cut it back. then allow a few buds from each side to go out along the wire in each direction. Lon says to make them come up to the wire, not droop down to the wire, they will be more productive.

This is very hard to do, cut each plants new growth, mostly off! But it will force them to replace the stalk, and it will be a much stronger, straighter stalk! This will benefit the plant for all its years. The bigger straw to suck the nutrients up to the rest of the plant. 
I have seen some wine grapes growing with 2 stalks, one to the top wire and the other going the other direction to the lower, middle wire. So each plant has 2 stalks. this could be a benefit if one dies and then the other will be there to continue its production for the next year.

All the fruit will hang from the new growth from last year. So it must be supported.  If you trim them off they will not produce any fruit this year, and they will not be in the way of building the trellis.

I have a large arbor on our back deck, and every plant took 2 or 3 years to get up on the arbor and now I have a wonderful view around under the arbor, and a huge amount of fruit, 7' above the table and area under. The other grapes are on the back fence. I built a telephone pole looking trellis and have 4 wires all at 6' so it supports the new growth, and all the fruit hangs down and have little bird damage.

Jim Cooper
Automotive Technology
Lewiston High School
jcooper at lewiston.k12.id.us

>>> "Mark and Alisha Fehringer" <markandalishafehringer at peetzplace.com> 3/13/2009 8:11 AM >>>
Hi all,

Last spring I put in 100 grape plants as rooted cuttings.  They are all American or French Hybrids.  I am now getting my trellis up.  I am finding lots of conflicting information on the growth habits of particular cultivars.  Basically it is a vertical, upright habit VS. a trailing, drooping habit. Descriptions from different sources often have very opposite opinions, and some cultivars don't have much or any information readily available.  Does anyone have some first hand information?  I have Lon's book, The Grape Grower.  I just need to know if I should train to the bottom wire and let them grow up, or train to the top wire and let them hang down.  We have lots of wind, so I think if a variety could go either way, it might do better if allowed to droop down rather than trying to stand up against the wind. Would that make sense?
Cultivars include DeChaunac, Aurore, St. Pepin, St. Croix, Foch, Frontenac, Edelweiss, Esprit, Seyval Blanc, Lucy Kuhlman, Swenson White, Canadice, Concord, Reliance.


Mark Fehringer

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