Removing grape vines

mike48858(z5 MI)July 26, 2004

I have inherited a small piece of property and would like to start a vegetable garden behind the house. Unfortunately, the only sunny area is covered with old, badly overgrown grape vines. They are choked with weeds, and don't appear to be producing any grapes. I would like to just get rid of them, but I'm not sure how I should go about doing this.

Does anyone have any suggestions for making this area veggie-garden friendly? Thanks for your help.

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Mike, just the usual in this type of situation. Yank everything out by whatever means necessary. If the grapevines have big stumps, as old ones do, paint the fresh cut with Brush-Be-Gone and they will die. Otherwise, they will keep sprouting. If this is a much neglected, overgrown area, you might want to allow a full growing season to be sure you get everything out, especially the grapevine and the perennial weeds. Otherwise, you will have a full-scale nightmare in your future veggie garden. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 12:16PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

The weed wrench is a useful tool for removing woody, single stem plants - like sapling trees. Not sure if your grapevine trunks are too large for this piece of equipment or not. See link below for detailed information.

We had discussions about the weed wrench this winter/early spring on this forum and the landscape design and professional gardener forums. May be helpful for you to do a search of the forums on this tool.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 5:06PM
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Fori is not pleased

Have you considered taming the grapes? If you cut them way way way back, they will probably produce again and you can grow them on a relatively small support and have them add to your vegetable garden.
Grapes usually fruit on year old wood, so to produce the old stuff should be hacked. That keeps them small. (Not really small....they can be fairly large, but they can be a reasonable size as well.) Of course they may be wild grapes or something inedible...whatever you do, you're in for a backbreaking job!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 8:41AM
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The other day I accidentally cut down my moms grape vine while trimming her shrubs, the stem left is no more than a foot tall and it has been "bleeding" profusely. It is a 2 years old plant... did I kill it? What can I do to save it or will it be ok?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 3:16PM
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old grapes are occasionally wonderful old heirloom varieties - but more often, they're a cultivated vine that's reverted to the 'wilder' rootstock - so the poster who cut down their mom's grape may have a problem - it may survive, but it may not make the grapes she is expecting.

I love 'fox grapes' but they're unruly vines with huge apetites, so not a good choice for the border of a veggie garden.

there's a mold that often runs rampant on grapes, so it's no good for mulch, but running the stuff through a chipper makes it easier to bag - otherwise, we used to cut it into 3 foot lengths and tie it in bundles until we reached the limits of the loppers....after that, a small camp saw with aggressive teeth (fiskars makes good ones, gerber makes even better ones)works on the trunks

- if you get a particularly wonderful 'octopus' in the middle, I've seen them cut off at the ground, and mounted in various ways as 'sprawling' trellises (squash and cantalopes really like them)

cut the trunk at an angle, and brush it with weed killer - I've found the crown easier to get out the second year....

and now is a great time to spread corn gluten meal or other pre-emergent weed seed inhibitors :)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 8:55AM
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I have a somewhat desperate question. I recently inherited my mother's home which included a grape vine that she had replanted from her childhood home. The vine was at least 90 years old and until very recently we enjoyed wine from it made by a neighbor. (I could never eat the grapes off the vine because they made my lips itch!) A friend who was helping to restore the property during my absence mistakenly believed that the vine was worthless and had it cut down. I was devastated to discover what had transpired and I am hoping that there is some way to restore the plant from its roots, which are still in the ground. The person who removed them mentioned that the plant appeared to be dead except for the top branches--I really don't understand this--but am looking for any advice to reverse this unfortunate circumstance.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:40PM
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