Grape vines in clay soil?

silent88May 21, 2012

Hello,

I planted some grape vines last year and I dug maybe a 2 cubic foot hole and mixed in compost and clay. The rest of the soil around it is clay. I have been reading this isn't very good for grape vines. My grape vines seem to be doing well this year though and I'm wondering if they will continue to do well or if the clay will do them in? I'm planting a new one tomorrow is there any better way to prep the soil? I'm going to make the hole much larger with more compost/clay mix.

The varieties are Thompson an flame seedless.

Thanks

Austin

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calistoga_al

Here in the Napa Valley, devoted almost entirely to grapes, and largely clay soil the grapes do fine. Grapes need well drained soil, clay is fine as long as it drains well. Here in the valley there are small areas that the soil does not drain well and the farmer chooses to either install drain tiles, or simply does not plant in it. Al

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:04AM
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calliope(6)

Exactly. I wonder what zone you are in and what variety of grape you are speaking to. I'm in Appalachia and the soil here is primarily clay and the varieties grown are mostly concord. They grow so vigorously on clay soil they escape and go wild if not watched carefully and are even included on invasive lists. If clay soils were not fertile whole states would be barren, no? It's all about drainage as Al says.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:53PM
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denninmi(8a)

My mother made our original planting of grape vines in an area where the clay soil is so heavy it coats your boots in a thick layer when wet. That was sometime in the 1960s, I would imagine, maybe even earlier -- I know they were there when I was in preschool, and the exact same vines are still there -- Concord, Delaware, Niagra, Seedless Concord, and then an Interlaken that was added later in the 1970s. Water does stand there for a day or two during periods of heavy rain. They seem to thrive.

But then, my later planting of grapes, a combination of table and wine varieties, was made at the other extreme of the property on top of the hill in sand, and they thrive, too.

I guess the takeaway for me is that grapes aren't fussy.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:54PM
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