Layering a grape vine:

In this article I want to share a neat little trick grape growers use to propagate new grape vines in established vineyards.

If you have ever tried to replace dead or weak grape vines in an established vineyard, I am sure you will agree that is a daunting task.  You normally struggle to get these new vines to the trellis wires because of competition for food and water and because of over shading from the existing vines in the vineyard.

Although it is always advisable to try and replace dead vines with new ones, there might be times when you don’t have new vines or if you failed to grow a new vine, then you can use a simple method called “layering”.

Layering a grape vine – How To:

Layering a grape vine is done in the dormant season, when you prune your grape vines.  All there is to layering a grape vine, is to make a new planting hole where you want to establish the new vine and then take a cane from the existing vine, bend it down towards the ground and loop it inside the planting hole for about one foot and then up again.   To keep the cane in place, before you fill up the planting hole, you can put a stone on the cane and then cover it with soil.

layering a grape vine

After layering a grape vine, you will soon see new shoots starting to develop from the layered cane!

New shoots after layering a grape vine

 From there you train the grape vine exactly as if it is a newly planted vine.  During spring, new shoots will develop from the buds on the layer.  If you have the Complete Grape Growers Guide, then train a new training shoot exactly as I show you in the guide. 

Anyway, roots will develop from the buds that are buried under the soil and your new vine will get its food from the existing vine, until the roots of the new vine are strong enough to support the grape vine.

After a year or two, some growers remove the part that is coming from the existing vine, but I prefer to keep it until I am sure the new grape vine is well established and producing a crop.

The disadvantage of using layering is that your new vine will have no rootstock and could be more susceptible to soil diseases like Phylloxera and nematodes – off course it depends on how susceptible your variety is to those diseases.

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