What does it take to grow excellent quality grapes (wine or table grapes) in your backyard?  Having excellent quality grapes don’t just fall from the sky; there are a few key things you as a new or seasoned home grape grower must always keep in mind and one of the most important is having proper planting material.

I know this is problem for many grape growers.  In some countries, getting your hands on good planting material, is very hard and sometimes impossible.  Being able to grow buy grapes from a nursery makes it much easier, but you still need to ensure that the planting material you are about to buy is of good quality.

First of all; get the name of the variety you are buying because this will most of the time determine how you will prune and manipulate your.  Choosing the right variety for your climate is very important.

Now, what to look for when buying grafted cuttings:

1.      Make sure the graft union has healed properly and that there are no openings between the rootstock and the carrier.

2.      Make sure the union is strong by slightly bending the grafted vine – don’t over bend it, it will break. If the union didn’t attach well, it will brake easily.

3.      The rootstock must have well developed, strong roots, with no signs of defects.

4.      Take a look at the bark of vine, it should be undamaged with a dark brown color – not black as this can be an indication of some fungus spores (from the previous year)

5.      The canes of your vine should have grown at least 8 inches the previous year and preferable there should be more than on cane.

6.      No visible roots should come from the graft union – if there are roots, remember to remove them before planting, otherwise your vine loose its resistance to diseases inside your soil.


Grape Vine Cuttings



When buying grape vines in a planting bag:

1.      Because you cannot see the root development of the cuttings inside the bag, you must ensure that the canes that developed the previous year well developed.

2.      Never take the cuttings from soil in the planting bag; keep the root-ball intact and do not remove any soil around the roots of the cutting.

3.      Make sure make a large enough planting hole to accommodate the entire root-ball.

When buying two year or older grape vines:

1.      All of the above is just as important for buying older grape vines.

2.      Prune back the vine to ensure proper root development.  The roots will most probably go into a state of shock, just after planting the new vine and will not take up any water or minerals for a week or two.  Therefore, the lost of moisture through leaves and shoots should be minimized.

When taking cuttings from another vine:

First, during the winter (just before spring), when it is time for pruning the vine, cut eight to ten shoots of the previous years’ growth from the vine. If possible, take cuttings after there has been enough cold weather to kill any diseases there might have been and to give the canes time to ripen (mature).

The best cuttings are from the base of the cane, near the older stem. Each cutting should have 6 to 8 buds and should be approximately 12 to 16 inches long (figure A), with several nodes (places where buds are located). Avoid cuttings where the wood is soft and spongy and has large piths. Do not use too thick or too thing cuttings; I would say not thinner than a normal pen and not thicker than say one and a half times the diameter of a pen. 

REMEMBER the vine knows the top from the bottom, so make a square cut at the top, about an inch above the bud and a skew or slanted cut at the bottom, right beneath the bud, so you know which way is up.

No matter what type of propagation material you will use, just make sure, it is virus and fungus free planting material and that the roots and canes are in good health.

Starting a grape vine with proper planting material is the key to having a great looking young vine that will reach the trellis wires in no time.  There is no use in preparing your soil the right way, constructing a canopy support or trellis, laying out irrigation system, if you don’t have good quality cuttings.


Get all the info you need to grow your grape vines like a seasoned pro by joining the Complete Grape Growing System Membership Site.  For only $29, you get free instant access to all the information PLUS 2 videos to show you how to prune a spur and how to cane prune your grape vine.

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