Concord Grapes budding but not growing

theengelMay 14, 2012

I have a very old concord grape vine that used to produce mass harvests. My dad planted it. But the last 2 years, it hardly produces anything.

The buds form and everything seems ok. But then only a few of the buds on each bunch starts growing. The others seem to wither and die. I'm going to try and put some pictures here so you can see what I mean. The first one is of a bunch with all the buds still there. The second one is after they start growing--most of the fruits just disappear.

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Looks like insufficient pollination to me. Are you spraying them down in broad spectrum pesticides or anything that might be killing/repelling the local insect life?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:18PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Are you pruning each winter? Without pruning fruit set can decline. Shouldn't be lack of pollination as grapes are self pollinating and seldom have that issue.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:45PM
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We haven't been spraying them with insecticides. Also, I would think that those beginning buds would not form if it was a pollination problem. We do prune each year, but I'm not sure we're doing it 100% correctly. Still--for the outcome to have dropped off so drastically so suddenly, it seems like something else.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 5:15PM
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I am seeing lots of grape flea beetle larvae this year. It happens sporadically. They are not supposed to impact the budding grape clusters, but I find that they do. I know from one other outbreak years ago, they impacted the harvest significantly.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 1:42AM
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I have some old Concords, too, and I pruned them wrong for a couple of years, pruning back hard to a dozen buds. Then I tried cane pruning (leaving a few long canes) and still wasn't happy. An extension agent from WV told me about his neighbor's vine, which never gets pruned and produces like crazy. So this winter I pruned off maybe 20% just to clean up the vines, and they have set so much fruit that I'm thinning off clusters.

The extension link below talks about managing the energy draws between fruiting and leafing, and I must say that your foliage is much more advanced compared to mine, but the grape clusters are at the same stage. So, I wonder if pruning and/or fertilization pushed out a lot of green growth at the expense of the fruits. Just a theory.

Here is a link that might be useful: poor fruit set in grapes

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:46AM
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Usually, my dad follows directions he has for pruning. They have always harvested a lot of grapes--for the 30+ years I can remember. But this started happening just recently. He pruned much more than he usually does this year, trying to test different things, and as you can see, it's still happening.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:55PM
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BTW-this vine is huge. It covers a walkway and an eating area with a large picnic bench there.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:57PM
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