Reviving an old grape, possibly choked by a privet

misslisamhamNovember 28, 2012

I'm posting a lot these days, as I've just bought a house in coastal Northern California with remnants of an old fruit garden. (Spent roughly thirty years under brambles, now those brambles are cleared and the garden is reemerging.) Current question is about grapes:

There is a grape vine that is at least thirty years old and about twenty feet long, rather thick for the snaky vine that it is. Has been in shade under trees and blackberries, but still putting off leaves and a little fruit (small, light-colored, sweet with seeds). I've cleared the brambles and plan to train it over a horizontal trellis to create a ceiling of grapes for a sitting area. Wondering if/how I should prune it, and other measures I should take to revive it.

One thing: on a previous post people suggested cutting it back to zero. The problem is that a) the original plant is now in a shaded area; its vines are what's in the sun now and b) a damned privet has grown up in the same spot as the original (see photo below)--a privet which I suspect is compromising the grapes, but which my neighbor would like to keep. Help?

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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Is the privet on your property or the neighbor's? If the privet is on your property then you can do with it what you like.

With grapes, the more you prune the more you get. I got so sick of the mess my concords were making-and they weren't giving much fruit-I decided to hack them all down to nothing and the next year I got nearly 100 lbs from 5 vines. This was about 20 years ago and I've sure learned a lot since then!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:38PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Those old grapes will live forever. I hope you can get rid of the Privet, it does not make a good companion. Without the competition your grape should cover your arbor in two years. I had a similar problem and cut the grapes down to about two feet. I had no idea what the grapes were like and when I found out I did not like them. Be sure the fruit is something you like. Al

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:53AM
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I revived an old grape in a thicket. Then, since I did not like where it was, I buried 4 feet of it in the optimal spot, while still attached to the main trunk. The next year I cut it from the main. It produces heavily now and it has for several years. You may lose two years but you will have it out of there. Though my advice is to cut the privet if it belongs to you. You can always replace it with something better behaved.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:39AM
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