Alan Lee
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:24 am
Location: Clarkston, Washington, USA

Reclaiming an Abandoned Grape Vine?

While clearing brush, sucker black locust trees and weeds for a garden area this spring I discovered an old grape vine. The neighbors say it is a concord, somewhere around 50/60 years old and had the best tasting grapes. So instead of yanking it out I strung the vines out along a chain link fence. Now I have 50 feet of grape vine growing wild and crazy and what looks to be a bumper crop of grapes. The trunk is old and gnarled and instead of going staight up runs along the ground for a couple of feet, bends back over itself for a couple of feet and then heads west for a couple of more feet before splitting into the three huge vines that I strung over the fence. Can I, should I try to prune this back to normal garden sized grapevine and if so, how and when. If not, can I propagate it somehow? Thanks.

~Al~

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Wow, what a find! That sounds SOO interesting and FULL of possibilities! 8)

I've no experience growing grapes so this is a just a general gardening technique:

One way I can think of that may work to propagate it is ground layering -- you either scrape a bit of the skin or bend, maybe crack a little, where it can easily touch the ground and bury the section of the vine (buried section should include a leaf or branch node). Several people have said that laying a rock over it will help to mark the location and provide insulation and mulch. I also found out that rocks help to provide moisture by condensation. The way I hear it, you leave it for a season and over the winter before checking. Growth in spring from the section past the rock is a good sign. As long as there are roots growing from the buried section, you can sever from the mother plant.

planter
Senior Member
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:34 am
Location: South Shore MA/ Z6?

Grapes demand a hard pruning!! Just look at the 200 YO grapes in the vinyards of cali.. Small plants with giant trunks and bumper crops. I don't know enough about it but a little googling on vine pruning should quickly answer all your questions. Grapes are the kind of plant you can mow to the ground and they just laugh at you the following spring. :D

Just understand that if they ARE concord they sure make better jelly and such than eating out of hand!! Not that I don't eat a few on the back forty every year just for the pucker and they smell great rotting on the vines...
GL and have fun!!
Got anything good that's Z6 hardy?

Alan Lee
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:24 am
Location: Clarkston, Washington, USA

Well I've checked all 20 pages, read everything that pertained to grapes and followed the still active links. Seems like it could be saved but might take years. Might be a fun project but I haven't decided whether to do it or not.

Applestar I'm definetely going to try groundlayering as well as a couple other ways I read about. I've got three people who want starts and a couple of ladies say they will share the jelly if I let them have the grapes. Can't beat that. Guess it's hard to find concords around here anymore.

Planter I may end up doing that just don't know yet.

~Al~

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