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Grape stems drying up---Oh NO!

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:45 am
by desert joe
Hello helpful gardeners; This is my first post, so i hope i get it right. I live in southeast New Mexico and have a 3 year old Thompson seedless. This is first year it has produced fruit, and i mean lots of clusters. I have not ever pruned it as I'm not sure exactly how to do so. My main concern here is that 3-4 days ago several of the little grape stems started to dry up and the fruit was falling off!! Several of the clusters had the stems completely dried up and we lost all the grapes from those clusters. I checked under the leaves and on the stems and surrounding areas looking for bugs or anything that might be the culprit causing the little grape stems to dry up. I do not see any critters anywhere! Does anybody know what might be causing this? It appears to have kinda slowed down somewhat although am still loosing grapes. HELP! Thanks lots desert joe

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:41 pm
by opabinia51
Has it been really hot lately? What is your watering scheme like?

As far as pruning is concerned: I have been told by an old expert (my great aunt) that your should prune each winter down to the third bud.

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:29 pm
by desert joe
Hello opabinia51; First of all, many thanks for your reply. I have been reading everything that i can on what may have been happening to my vine as this is the FIRST grape vine that I have had any luck getting to grow! Every year for the last 7-8 years or so, i have tried to grow several different kinds of vines but never had any luck getting them to stay alive past the first year. absolutely no green thumb for this guy, i guess. I am just thrilled to all ends that this vine has stayed with me and looks like i may have waited long enough. You know, I think you may have shed some light on why my vine started to dry up the stems and lose the little grapes. It has really been HOT down here in SE New Mexico, high 90's and into the 100's with no rain in so long,,, i started to really pour on the water about every four days late in the evening or early mornings and i noticed that the drying has slowed down and in fact on some clusters, it stopped to where there is about half of a cluster of grapes left. YEA! On the pruning to the third bud, do you mean the third bud on every cane coming from the main trunk? I have seen pictures of grape vines where the trunk comes up about 3-4 feet and has laterals coming off of it every foot or so, but the laterals do not extend out more than 2-3 feet. I would love to have this become an overhead cover for shade but not sacrifice the fruit production. Sounds like you have to pick fruit or shade as one of the other posts suggests. Again, many thanks and have a great day. desert joe

Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:53 am
by opabinia51
Hey Desert Joe,

I always get confused as to DESSERT and DESERT but, I think I can trust you that you have it correct.

Anyway, back to gardening:

Yah, what I have done is cut the vines down to the first three lateral vines and then prune them each to the third bud. Don't worry, the whole thing will grow back the next year. The bonus is that you get lots of stuff to add to your compost every year.

I think in the organic section, there is a thread on how to save water, you may wish to employ some of these methods. Though, I've read that graped do best in a poor soil, adding some leaf mulch to increase the water holding capacity of the soil (and not to mention keep the temperatures down) would be a good thing.