All Grape Vines For Sale Are Not Equal

So you’ve decided to take up growing grapes? Well good for you. It’s a very rewarding experience and one that you’re sure to enjoy, if you do it right. However, doing it right does not entail seeing a ‘grape vines for sale’ sign, running in and picking the first, or cheapest, grape vine you can get your excited little hands on.


Growing excellent grapes depends a great deal on your starter material. It is imperative that you have proper planting material or you’re already at a disadvantage. Your local nursery will often have grape vines for sale, but you must have some prior knowledge of what you’re looking for. Perhaps you already have a particular variety like the muscadine or merlot grapes in mind. If not, how do you know exactly what to buy?


All grape varieties can theoretically be grown from seeds so why go and buy them?   Is it a better idea to go for an already developed cutting?  We believe the initial grape growing from seed should be done only by experts.  It is only for the skilled nursery grape grower to grow varieties like merlot, chardonnay or any of the fruit varieties like concord or white seedless grapes with ease.  Nursery grown grape vines will have an existing root system and will kick start the grape growing process in your vineyard. Wine grape vines and those for fruit like concord or seedless typically come as either open grafted cuttings or cuttings housed in a planting bag. In each case there are a few things that you should look out for.


Grape vines as open cuttings:


The graft union on the vine should have healed properly. One indication of this will be a lack of any openings between the carrier and the rootstock. An improperly healed graft union is prone to breakage and any opening can act as a conduit for moisture, leading to rotting.


You’ll want a healthy, strong union. You can test this by slightly bending the grafted vine. If the union is weak, the vine will break easily. Mind you, it will break anyway if you apply too much pressure so be sure to be gentle.


Check the grape vine’s roots and make sure that they are well developed, with no obvious signs of damage. You shouldn’t see any roots sprouting from the graft union. It’s not that you shouldn’t buy this plant, but you’ll need to remove all of the extra roots before planting or your vine might become more susceptible to diseases.


If the bark of the grafted vine looks black, put it back down. This can be a sign that there might be fungus spores. You want bark that is undamaged and shows and even, brown color.


Your grape vine should have preferably more than one cane. Even if there is only one, it should have grown by at least 8 inches from the previous year.


Grape vines in the planting bag:


Unlike open cuttings, it’s much more difficult to see the root system when the grape vine is in a bag. For this reason, it is essential that you ensure the canes from the previous year are well developed.


Grape plants in a planting bag have already developed a root ball with the surrounding soil and this must remain intact. If not, the roots will most likely be damaged.  This goes for wind as well as the fruit varieties.


If you want to save yourself some time, you don’t have to go for a very young cutting. At some nurseries you can buy plants that are up to two years old.  You will have to pay more and if you are putting in a commercial vineyard to grow varieties like muscadine, chardonnay or merlot vines. Balance the additional costs of waiting the extra year for the grapes to grow may or may not be worth the money.  The more mature the vines means that you’ll only have to wait two to three years with pruning for the fruit. 


Grape vines for sale are most times sold by people who have the expertise to help you pick out a good vine. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Of course, now that you have the perfect vine, what do you do with it? Do you just dig a hole and drop it in? How do you take care of it? Well there are many sources of information out there and one of the best is The Complete Grape Growing System. This great ebook gives you all the tips and advice you’ll need to get started on your grape growing adventure

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