Newly found grapes what to do

splumb(zone 4a)June 10, 2012

We bought a house recently and realized we have grapes growing. They are in a space 8x50 ft. There are not on any supports just laying on the ground. Some of the branches off the main trunks have started to put down roots. Can I up root those and tried to put them on trellises. Of course leaving the main root structure intact.

I have no experience with growing grapes so any advice would be helpful.


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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


You won't be able to make much real progress right now. What I'd do is try to sample the fruit this summer and see if it's anything you want to save. Starting over with a proven variety is probably the best idea in most cases.

If you want to trellis and renovate, cut everything back as much as possible this winter, build a trellis, and train the resulting strong shoots up the trellis. You can grow a vine in 2013 and have fruit in 2014.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 1:36PM
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I like fruitnut's advice. We have native grapes which grow here, and are quite invasive, but not good for fruit. I looked up your page to find you are zone 4. As a new member, we all welcome your posts. If you would edit your name to indicate your zone it would help you get relative answers. Al

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:26AM
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All grapes in my fencerows are wild. However, the previous owner had a thicket of various shrubs, brambles, and in there were several Concord-type grapes. I pulled out the two biggest vines, buried them midway, and trained them to a trellis. The next year I cut down the thicket, including the original vines, and that area is now part of the lawn. The two vines survived on the roots they made in the buried sections, and they have produced, in good years tens of pounds per wine, although deer, birds and raccoons leave not a lot. You need a strong trellis, but plan on it only after you have tasted the grapes.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

This is going way over your head, but, native grapes make good rootstock for varities that produce the fruit you want. Simply root them, then graft a cutting from a good variety on to them, and their roots will give you joy!

Additionally, I would be in heaven if I was in your shoes! Absolutely, I'd make new plants out of the rooted ones, but I'd use them as rootstock, and keep a couple to see what you get. We grow wine grapes, not table, but most wild grapes make good jelly!

Take a chance! Throw the dice!


    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 12:15AM
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splumb(zone 4a)

Thanks for all the advice. I am going to leave them alone for now. I will see how kind of grapes they produce and go from there.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Can you tell if the area is wild or is it near your house, and potentially planted by someone? What is the diameter of the main trunks? Do any of them climb a tree? Often times by looking at the surrounding area you can see if someone has been in the area and if they have been planted or not. If they were planted, chances are they will at least be good for eating or jam. Zone 4 needs a very hardy vine to make it through the winter. If the main trunk is very very wide, its been there a while and is proven a hardy variety. There is a chance of them being concord really. (IF they were planted)

I wouldnt recommend doing nothing this year. You can at the minimal clear the area of other weeds/branches. Let the sunlight get to the vines. Put a stake in the ground if the vines are weak and need supporting. Get the canes off the ground (!!!). You dont need a full blown trellis. Come up with a temporary situation, such as a wire strung between some stakes, for example. Canes on the ground invite summer fungus and should be lifted.

You should be able to see fruit, if they are fruiting this year. It would be in your best interest to check them, and thin. Grapes as a general rule, need thinning just as other fruit varieties. Left alone, the fruit may not reach its full potential, making you think its not a worthwhile vine. Some time and energy will show you if this vine is worth more time or not.

Lastly.. I have seen wild grapes where berries and clusters are much smaller than grocery store bought.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:17AM
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