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Planting Grape Vines

Few things are as delicious as homegrown grapes, and the success of your harvest begins right with the planting site and method. For maximum growth and yields later on, give your plants the best foundation possible.

NOTE: This is part 4 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow grape vines, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Planting Grapes

Before Planting

Before you plant, check your soil pH. This can be done by contacting your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Ideally, your grapes need a soil pH between 5.5-6.5. Steer clear of soils that are extremely heavy or very poorly drained. Grape vines will grow in a wide range of soil but they must have good drainage.

Planting Site

  • Grapes need full sun, 6 to 8 hours a day.
  • They grow in rows, to be trained to a trellis and are spaced according to the type of grape. The less vigorous table types and the more vigorous wine varieties should be planted 6-8’ apart. Muscadine grapes should be planted 12-15’ apart.
  • All of the table and wine-type grapes are self-fruitful; but when you plant different grape varieties close together, they’re apt to cross-pollinate each other. Under certain environmental conditions, some seedless grapes may produce a few small, edible seeds or seed remnants. It’s believed closeness of seedy grape varieties influences the situation. When pollen from a seedy grapevine pollinates the seedless variety, a seed or seed remnant may develop. Keep this in mind as you choose your planting sites.
  • Two Muscadine varieties should be planted to provide pollination. It’s also important to note that non-Muscadine grapes will not pollinate Muscadine grapes.

Planting Tips

  • Dig a hole big enough to give roots plenty of “elbow room.”
  • Plant slightly deeper than the soil line.
  • Fill hole about three-quarters full, then soak well with a solution of Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer. (If planting in the fall, wait to fertilize until spring for best results.)
  • Finish filling the hole.
  • Prune your new vine heavily, leaving only two to three buds on its strongest stem. (As it grows, you’ll keep only the most vigorous sprout to form the main stem.)
  • Train to stake during first summer, pinching back all side shoots to two leaves each.

Additional Notes

  • Shallow cultivation during the early growing months and summer mulching do wonders for your grapevines.
  • Your grape vines should live about 20 years with proper maintenance.
  • Suggested number of plants for a family of 5: 8-12 (3 vines per person).
NEXT: Soil Preparation for Grape Vines
Previous: Choosing a Location for Grape Vines