Planting grapes

gjshawk(6)March 4, 2014

Hi, everyone. I was at Walmart the day before yesterday and I found some seedless grape plants. I bought a box, which contains 4 plants, 2 Himrod White Seedless and two Canadice Seedless.

I'm ignorant on how and when to plant. There are leaves sprouting already, so I probably need to get them in the ground.

I live in Fruita, 19 miles from Utah on I-70. The weather has been in the 50s daily and 20s or 30s nightly.

Any advice about planting grapes would be really helpful. Thanks in advance.
Grant

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gjcore

I think it would be early to plant them because they have leaves sprouting and a cold snap will kill them. If they were still dormant it would probably be ok.

At this point you have the plants so you'll need some sort of plan. Maybe keep them indoors in the sunniest area of your house or under grow lights. If you go the outdoor route you'll need some protection such as a low tunnel or garden cloches.

Will Walmart take them back?

Also you should have substantial trellises in place before you plant grapes.

This post was edited by gjcore on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 17:54

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:49PM
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gjshawk(6)

Walmart might take them back but I don't want to go that route. I'll probably see if they hold out for a couple of weeks and then plant them outside. I'll just have to keep an eye on the forecast and make sure to cover them if it looks like it's going to freeze, which it probably will. The packaging says that the March-April time frame is correct for this area, but also says to plant when all danger of frost is past, which is usually early May.

I'll take a chance and plant them this month.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:25PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I think I'd be inclined to keep them someplace cold for a couple more weeks, like an unheated garage or shed that will stay above freezing. If they're small enough, even in the fridge. That'll slow them down for now until the weather is a little more stable. (Be sure you keep the roots moist if you do it that way.)

Or you could start them in some pots that are big enough for the roots they have, and using a fairly decent potting soil, and then keep them outside during the day when above freezing, but you'd be able to move them into the garage or somewhere that's relatively cool overnite when necessary. Probably easier than constantly trying to cover and uncover them if you plant them outside already. If you decide to put them in pots, try to keep the soil as much intact as possible when you remove them to plant them in the ground.

If you do decide to plant them in the ground, corrugated cardboard boxes will be a good way, and well insulated way to cover them when necessary. If the boxes are gonna get wet with whatever the precip is, stick a cheap plastic paint drop cloth over them to keep them dry. If you decide to not use boxes, use a sheet or some kind of fabric--not plastic. Plastic transmits the cold and they'll probably freeze anywhere the plastic is touching them. If you're gonna plant them in the ground, be sure to harden them off first like you would any other perennial that had been grown or kept in a warm place.

I don't know if you have nasty clay out there like we do along the Front Range, but if you do (OR if you're soil is very sandy), be sure to add a lot of organic matter to the soil you're going to backfill with when you plant them.

I planted a Reliance seedless red grape a few years ago, and this past summer was the first time I got a few real live grapes to sample! They were smaller than I expected, but they were WONDERFUL!

We'll expect a report when you get to eat the first of yours!

Skybird

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:55PM
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ion_source_guy

I think many Seedless grapes are propagated by grafting a genetic abnormal seedless stem onto rootstock of a vigorous variety, perhaps grown from seed. When I planted some 10 years ago, they all died back to 2 or 3 inches below ground the first winter. The next year they all came back up from the live part under ground. Not till 5 or 6 years later did it become obvious only 2 of 6 were still seedless stock. The rest never bare fruit since the vine has grown only from the root stock and has the genes of the root stock. 20/20 hind sight I wish I had planted them with the graft WELL below ground and nearly completely covered with dirt or mulch to protect them that first couple of winters.
Good luck,
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 12:58AM
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gjshawk(6)

I want to thank everyone for the great advice. There's a lot of knowledge out there. Now that I know enough to be dangerous, I think I'll move forward. I like the idea of putting them in pots initially until the weather stabilizes. I've got lots of potting mix to use. I'll run out and get a few pots.

Does anyone know how far apart to plant each grape plant when the time comes to put them in the ground? I've got four.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 10:36AM
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gjcore

Grant

CSU has a pdf file that goes into a lot of detail about growing grapes.

www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/550a.pdf

Greg

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:27PM
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gjmancini

Although tempting, I try not to get plants from walmart because they seem to poorer stock. (especially the fruit trees, and bare roots.)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 6:16PM
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gjcore

That's a good point especially considering how much effort goes into grapes.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 10:05AM
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gjshawk(6)

I know I said Walmart but it was Sams Club. I've got them planted in pots right now and am taking them out in the day and bringing them in at night. I want to thank everyone for the comments and advice. It's helped a lot. I'm still pretty much a novice at gardening and I still have a lot to learn.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 7:56PM
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gjshawk(6)

Well, I inadvertently took care of my grape question. I took them out last Sunday morning to sit in the sun during the day while I went to church. Problem was, it was 28 degrees outside. I didn't think that would be a problem because it was going to warm up during the day, but when I got home in the afternoon, the grapes were dead. At least they appear dead. The leaves are dry and brittle and brown. No new leaves have formed. I am giving them a chance to recover in case there is still life there, but it's looking grim. Lesson learned.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:14PM
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gjcore

All gardeners make mistakes that's how we learn. If you are interested in giving it another try I would wait to buy until about mid May. I would highly recommend also going a local nursery.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Definitely don't give up on them! All you need for them to be ok is for the roots to be ok, and I seriously doubt that the roots got cold enough to kill them.

At this point I'd recommend you just leave the pots outside, preferably in a somewhat "protected" place like against a building or next to a fence to keep the nastiest winds and such off of them. Don't do anything to the vines above ground that look like they're dead. I'm guessing even the vines aren't "dead" and that you'll get new growth from them at some point--time will tell. If it's getting REALLY cold out, like teens or below, I'd give them a little extra protection. Sit a cardboard box over them, put a fairly heavy blanket over them, or move them into a COLD garage or shed, but don't move them into the warm house.

The main thing you need to be sure of right now is that the soil doesn't stay too wet or the roots will rot, and then they WILL be dead. Since there's no active growth right now they're using virtually no water. Leave the soil dry almost all the way, all the way down into the pots, before you water them again. When you do water them, water them thoroughly, be sure all the soil is resaturated, and then don't water again till they're mostly dry again.

I think at this point I'd recommend putting them in a place where they'll get a couple hours of morning sun, or late day sun, so they are getting at least some sun, but I'd keep them out of south/full sun until "something happens!" If/when you see new growth starting, either at the soil level or along the vines, then move them back into more sun again.

The first couple years I had mine I was SURE it had died over winter! The vines "looked" dead, and I could easily snap small pieces off of the ends of them. I almost fell over in shock when, quite suddenly, new leaves started to appear--all along the DEAD vines! I don't even look too closely at it at this time of the year anymore, 'cause I know I'm just gonna start thinking that it's dead again! Now I just wait for it to Do It's Own Thing! So whatever the vines look like on yours, don't worry about them! Possibly they are dead----but just as possibly they're fine and just need "enough" time to recover!

Think good thoughts their way--we'll all help with that, and in a couple months let us know what's going on with them.

Skybird

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:07PM
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gjcore

I suppose they might recover but little vines have so little reserves I think it's gonna take a LOT of positive thoughts. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:38PM
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gjshawk(6)

Thanks, everyone. I haven't dumped them in the trash yet. I'm playing the waiting game and hoping something good happens. I hope I didn't mess up when I gave them some water after they appeared gone. I was hoping to stimulate the roots. I'll give it a couple of more weeks. If they're dead I'll get some more, like around mid May as was suggested by gjcore.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:01PM
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