How to care for grape vine

mamavamp(10/N CALIF)June 6, 2005

With all the rain we had this year my grape vine is growing and growing. The little grape buds are falling off like mad though. I've rarely gotten good grapes off this vine. They shrivel up like raisins. Should I prune the vine? Does it need water? Fertilizer? Medication? I really need some help.


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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Grape vines need to be pruned when dormant every year or they will take over. In my soil I never fertlize and summer water is optional. Al

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 10:00AM
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lola1(z9 Cen. CA)

Cathi, I think I need more information. Are you talking about the small grape forms that turn into the bunches later in the season? Definitely grape vines should be pruned every winter. Do you know what variety of grape it is? Different varieties require different pruning methods. You mentioned that the grapes shrivel like raisins. Did you notice gray/white fur or dusty appearance on the berries and then progressing to cracking as the berries ripen?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 11:17PM
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hey lola1 yes yes yes. I have been lloking for info on this. i have two vines a concord and a cabernet and the cab has developed what you discribe. What is it?!!? How do I get rid of it?!! Thank you.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 6:49PM
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I have a very mature grape vine. It's growning on a square frame that is about 5ft tall. This vine has been neglected for years but at one point the fruit was harvested to make wine. It's terribly overgrown. I would like to nurse it back to a healthy, fruitful, productive state. I would like to try to make wine again. What steps should I take?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 9:08AM
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Lauren, there is a wine forum on this site...visit there and I'll bet you will get some good advice. My advice if you are serious about making wine is to consult a professional. There are so mary variables when growing grapevines that it SO IMPORTANT to do the proper pruning. And, you need to educate yourself before you attempt to be a's not easy...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 12:46PM
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I pruned mine according to the Western Garden book and it is showing new growth. I have no idea what kind it is as I just moved in late last summer but the birds love it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 12:37AM
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There must be an illustrated online guide to grapevine pruning somewhere out there on the web, does anyone know where to find one?
I've burned up about an hour looking so far & the most comprehensive (though non-illustrated) description on vine pruning I've found was at:

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Davis - Home Orchard

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:30AM
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I am not so darn sure that grapevines HAVE to be pruned much. They produce grapes on year old wood. I watched a show a few years back on European home production of wine, and I so very little signs of pruning. My neighbor from Portugal has a wine vine that he's made gallons from and he's not a big pruner. It's MY humble, but not professional opinion that pruning like it says in Sunset Gardening book has been made popular by vinyards which are growing for production vs size of plant. Growing as many grapes in the smallest area. I am sure that some pruning is good for the plant, but if you have a large arbor and one or two vines, I don't see the reason for much pruning. I prune mine, but I don't have much room, unfortunately... but still, I don't prune it quite as tiny as the illustrations in Sunset, and my grapes, unfertilized and barely watered in the summer are HEAVILY producing right now. Also, last year, I let some of the grapes get absorbed back in the plant which also HELPS the vine.
But, like I said, I am not a professional, and a lot of people disagree with me on my gardening tactics.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:25AM
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CA Kate

We have Crimson Seedless, Ruby, Black Monuka and Thompsons from which we are lucky to get so much as a handful of grapes for ourselves BECAUSE the critters get them all. Every winter DH hacks -- yes, hacks--- them all back to a couple of lateral arms and that's that. We have loads of fruit every year for which the critters are most thankful.

The gophers and CA GSs have either repaid us or helped themselves by annually burying one or two branches which then become a new plant to make more grapes for their consumption.

Ergo, from my experience, special pruning for special grapes is so much hooey. But, I guess, if you want really BIG grapes then you do need to prune.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:59PM
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This is my 4th year with a grape vine I have growing on a very large, sturdy wooden arbor. Up until this year, I've pruned it back hard (as recommended), and I've been rewarded with ... one bunch of grapes that got eaten by the birds. This year I completely forgot about pruning, and there are tons of little bunches of grapes already forming.

Of course, it could just be that the vine has reached the point of maturity where it can produce grapes in larger numbers, but so far not hacking back has worked best for me.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:37PM
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How do I know when my grapes are ripe? My husband and I bought our grape vine from a nursery two years ago. When we bought it there were a few healthy leaves on it. We followed the directions it came with in regards to lighting and shade. Then towards the end of the year the leaves fell off. It looked dead and dry (I'm guessing now, that it was dormant). But now this year, in March or April the leaves started to grow back. Then it started to blossom and grow tiny little bunches of grapes. About a month ago the grape grew to the size I have seen in stores, if not bigger. They look green and ripe but are VERY FIRM to the touch. I thought maybe if I left them there they would soften up, but they haven't. Will they soften up? Are they supposed to feel firm? How long do you wait until you pick them? Am I supposed to cut off the bunches and leave them in the sun or put them in the refrigerator or something? I have never had a grape vine. My grandmother had one when I was little and I have always wanted one. Now that I have one I need to know what to do to care for it. HELP!! I don't want all those grapes to go to waste. I have about 8-10 bunches of grapes.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 8:32PM
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They should be ripe in August to late August, in cooler regions they ripen in September.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 9:01PM
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About 12 to 14 years ago a grape vine that had been great suddenly started having rotting grape problems. Leaves fell off nothing I tried like Sevin or Malithion helped. I eventually dug it out and burned it. Two or three years ago, I planted another vine very near the original spot.

The 1st year one of the vines died and the other did so so. The past two years, I back with the same problems. Only the beetles and whatever turns the leaves and grapes brown are enjoying them. I'm ready to dig it out again and give up. Help if you can.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 2:52PM
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Bob3 - Like you I have been looking for pictures as well. There IS a lot of very informative stuff out there but like the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Try the link attached to this message. It is about the best that I have found so far.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 6:38PM
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The most important thing is to be careful of a Phylloxera infestation. Phylloxera are attracted to grape vines like crazy and can cause real long term issues.

I found this article with info on phylloxera and how to tell if your vines are infected:

Here is a link that might be useful: Phylloxera Infestations in Grape Vinyards

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 7:36PM
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I have one Niagra White grape vine that on dry years produce tons of grapes. Last year I made about 3 guarts of grape jelly. But could have made 3-4 times that much, but the grapes turned black and scrivered up due to black spot. So this year (record rain fall I understand)almost all have turned black. I can already tell that I'm not going to get any grapes. They usually get soft and ripe by about 1st week in august for my area. I did go on a md vinyard tour last fall and was told to spray for black spot in june, which I did several times but I guess it still wasnt enough or something. I was also told to trim the grape vine so there were only like "12" orig branches. This does two things, concentrates the sugar into fewer grapes, and allows for air and sun to the grapes, which I guess keeps the black spot away (fungus). any other ideals. I like the magnesium ideal, I'll try that next year.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 5:09PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

As a transplanted East-Coaster now living in Oakland, I have to ask.

When, exactly, is this "winter" you are describing? November? January?

I've got this neglected patch of dirt that I like to refer to as my garden, and it has a huge old grapevine. I'm unclear on when pruning should occur.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 9:34PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 11:55AM
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I prune in Dec.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 7:24PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

Thank you Dicot!

I'm still having such a hard time, learning to "read" the seasons, here.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:56AM
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Ive had 2 Concord grape vine growing "wild" and intertwined for 6 years now in a space thats just 15 x 8 foot, I use no ferts or pruning and every year I get tons of grapes! Ive been thinking of trying wine making at home, does anyone know of any god books/websites that give simple easy to follow directions?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 1:29PM
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muslickz(Zone 9 CenFL)

I have a question I hope someone may be able to answer? I have a concord and a muskadine ( I think that's how it's spelled :P ) Anyway they have recently developed black spots on the lower leaves and are slowly working their way up the plant? I am enclosing a link to the images of the top and underside of one of the affected leaves. Any help would be great!


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 6:17PM
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queerbychoice(USDA 9a/Sunset 8 (CA))

I've never pruned mine, so I wish it would hurry up and start taking over. Granted, it's still a little under a year old. But as far as I can tell, it hasn't grown an inch.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:36PM
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We prune our Thompson seedless every winter. It's a prolific producer in season, with HUGE bunches that are about a foot long. The grapes themselves are not very large, but sweet and delicious. We live in a neighborhood full of critters. Raccoons roam around all night, possums and skunks are sighted, and of course the usual squirrels, gophers, moles, and birds. For unknown reasons they all leave our grapes alone? The vines are about 6 years old, growing against a s/w facing fence. We water during summer heat waves, but that's about all.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:54AM
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My grapevine is 3yrs old ,it`s now 7/7/09 and the grapes will be seedless purple.I`ve noticed that some of the grapes are shriveled and black. What`s wrong ?Also when should I trim the vine back ? I live in Kansas City,Missouri

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:47PM
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napapen(ca 15)

All the vines in Napa are pruned yearly in Dec, Jan and Feb.
The leaders are usually tied to a wire so they will grow like a fan and in April the plants set fruit - if it's too cold the fruit will fall off. Picking can start in Aug but usually later. The worse thing that happens is a summer rain as it can mold the fruit Also if you keep the inside of the plant cleaned out the air can get in there and dry out alot of diseases. No I'm not a grape grower just surrounded by them. If you are not from here, you might wonder what those mystery lights are in the vineyard at midnight!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:40PM
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We moved into a new house in Florida from new England and our view was blocked by a wall of wild grape vines, we have cut them from the bottom and are wondering when, and or if the vines will ever fall from the trees, they are way out of reach otherwise we would try to pull them down. They are very old muscadine, and very invasive. Thanks for any advise you may be able to give me..

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 12:13PM
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lindaca(Calif 9)

My son has an old, old grape vine in his yard. The grapes are seedless and really tasty. My question is can I start-propagate new plants from this and if so how.
thanks for any advice

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:08AM
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johnnycadoseed(z9NV sunset 11)

I have Thompson seedless, Candace, Concord seed,Concord seedless, Flame, and Fantasy. Every year, I take cuttings from every vine, dip the end in water, dip the wet end in rooting powder and put then in a small pot filled with potting soil. I've always had total sucess. They receive about 4 hours of morning sun and are in shade for the rest of the day. I hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 2:54PM
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lindaca(Calif 9)

A couple of question. Do you take a green cutting or a woody cutting. Hope that makes sense. Also how big a cutting say 6 inches?
Thanks so much for the help

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:49AM
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johnnycadoseed(z9NV sunset 11)

I cut a green (not dormant) vine about as round as a pencil, approx. 12" long with at least 3 nodes. I cut the vine with the bottom node as the bottom of the cutting. Make sure you know which is the top and the bottom of the cutting. I immediately soak the bottom node just to make it damp enough so the rooting powder sticks to it and plant it in a small pot filled with potting soil with the bottom node and wood in the soil up to the next node. I have a 14" pot that I put 5 cuttings in, Another 8" pot that I put 4 cuttings into, etc. I have pots for all varities of grapes labeled. I keep the soil moist but not soaked. I make sure the pots are in the sun long enough to keep warm but not hot. In a few weeks you will see green from the exposed nodes. Linda, this is what I do with complete success but I would suggest googling propagating from grape cuttings to find out the proper way. I'm probably doing a half dozen things wrong but it works for me. Good luck, John

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:08PM
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I have mature grapes common green ones. Every year I get lots of flowers and then grape clusters and they fall off the vine. What do I need to do or not do?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:54PM
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lindaca(Calif 9)

You guys are the best! Thanks for the help


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Greetings from the Philippines... Sir/Madam, I'm still a beginner to care for my 4 years grapes, they looks beautiful while bearing fruits.. but as of these year/days, some of their fruits looks ugly it can't grow'z of their cracks and rotten. So what should i do? Any chemical or pesticides to use to protect? Hoping your caring hands give flower to my question to bear better fruits someday soon or later... THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 5:24AM
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I just moved into a house and the last owner grew grapes I dont know what kind of grapes they are but they started to grow but now some of them are growing and some of them are not growing I need help how do I get them to grow and grow big

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 3:18PM
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Just found this great video on youtube, there were quite a few, but I thought this was very informative, from a horticultural center.
Hope this helps others who have questions about pruning there grapes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cane pruning vs Spur pruning

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 9:07AM
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Hi All: I planted a white grape a couple of years ago and it grew well till this year. At this time of the year it should be all leafed out, very full. It looks like late fall right now, what few leaf's developed early spring are falling off. I just want the green for sun shade.

Thank You

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:47PM
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