Canton
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 5:33 pm

Grape Vine going wild...

Hello all - I perused some posts in the forum here to get the answer to a question I have and it led me to register and post. I've gotten partial answers, but wanted some more in-depth insight, if anyone's willing to provide it. Warning: I'm an absolute gardening neophyte, which I hope to change now that I have my own yard.

I purchased a new home in Central Maryland (outer Baltimore suburbs, to the west) and it is loaded with interesting vegetation, flowers, etc. In a mess of weeds, for example, I've just discovered that blackberries are growing like mad, which I'm pretty happy about :D

At any rate, there is also a grapevine that is growing all over the place and actually overtaking a large pine tree in the backyard and starting to "integrate" with it and a blueberry bush.

I'm concerned about 2 things. First, that if the growth goes unchecked, the eventual process of separating it from the tree and bush will be very difficult.

However, in the processing of trimming back the vine, I don't want to destroy it. I have no master plan for the grapes, but if it's possible, I would like to eventually have some grapes and would like even more to build a trellis so that the vine(s) can provide shade in that part of the yard.

Currently, this vine has grown about 25 feet up the pine tree, so it's growing pretty much out of control.

My question is: how should I go about trimming this? Can I just cut it down to the "stump" of the vine and then let it grow next year in a more controlled manner? If so, is the heat of June an OK time to do this?

Suggestions are MOST welcome!

Thanks,
Canton

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Your yard sounds like it would be a dream to work with! And you are correct, it does need to be worked with. If the grapes are not held in check, they will probably kill the tree.

Anyway, Grapes should be pruned right back to the 3rd bud every year. This is best done is late fall or even better in the winter such that the vines do not bleed. So, I would leave it for now. You could put the trellis in and try to train it to grow over to the trellis, as apposed to allowing it to grow straight up the tree.

Blackberries are great but, they can become quite invasive so, just keep an eye on them and do some heavy pruning now and then, I have found that a brush saw works best for that, and you can rent one for really cheap. (A note of caution with these tools though, is that they are very dangerous to use if you are not really careful and do not wear proper safety gear.)

Oh, and with regard to all the wondeful flowers that you have on the property, you can use them in some non invasive landscaping techniques. Take a peak in the wildlife forum under permaculture. Might give you some ideas.

A really good book (great actually) is Gaia's Garden by Jon Hemenway.

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