Moving the main stem of a grape in the spring

Discussion in 'Grapes and Grape Vines' started by MBLaWent, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. MBLaWent

    MBLaWent Member

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    Milwaukee, WI; Ishpeming, MI
    This is a vine which I have moved before in my own yard to a sunnier location; it is perhaps about 10 yrs old and has been in its present spot maybe 6 yrs.

    Currently, it is on a trellis but the axial growth near the main trunk died out over time and now the nearest leafy growth is sevl feet up.

    I've read at this site that I can move cuttings and see if they'll root, even at this late date. (I'm moving them from Zone 5 in Milwaukee to Zone 4 in the UP, and the fall comes very soon there. However, perrenials I'd moved on that property late last yr still came up this year, so it's worth trying.)

    In addition, would it be worth cutting back the main stem to sevl inches from the ground and then digging it out and planting it in the spring?

    This grape is ideally located north to Zone 5; however, the summers are warming up everywhere and the deep snow cover where I'm moving may act as an insulator against the winter's cold; of course, I need to plant on the south side in a protected spot. I had gorgeous grape clusters this year and they got eaten entirely by squirrels; I hadn't netted them because I'd had air circulation problems w/the netting before. In the UP, there isn't a squirrel overpopulation because there are predators.

    Thanks--M B LaWent
  2. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Denman Island,BC
    I'm sorry, but I have to broaden this consideration a bit (though this may not be pertinent to your situation) before I attempt to answer your grape question. I hope my questions do not offend.

    What is happening to the property you are leaving? Will somebody else be inheriting the garden, or is it to be excavated or abandoned? The reason I ask is that when we purchased our previous home, the garden area was pocked with little craters, and while that freed us to plant as we saw fit, I found it a bit sad that somebody's creative and nurturing talents could be so thouroughly erased. (This was not a case of stealing the plants; it was that way when we first looked at the property. Just sad.)

    Now that I've got that off my chest: don't bother moving the vine if you can start some cuttings from it. The main asset of the existing vine is it's massive root system; you would be leaving most of that behind however large a root ball you take. On the other hand, the poorly formed stem is a problem you would take with you, unless you cut it down to a reasonable height, then you are hoping to force some of the latent buds to grow a new main stem. That's not an unrealistic expectation, but transplanting at the same time is not going to help your chance of success. Whether you transplant or not, take some cuttings.

    Your best approach for transplanting would be ASAP push in a sharp shovel all round the vine where you will eventually dig it out, and prune back 2/3rds or so, and deep water it. Then delay as long as possible, till it goes dormant would be best, but even a week or two will give the roots a chance to start branching inside the remaining root-ball-to-be. If it's dormant when you actually move it, then prune to two spurs of two or three buds each, otherwise take as much of the remaining vine as you can.

    Plant some of the cuttings near the old vine in it's new home. (just in case)


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