With this article, I want to show you how you can protect your young grape vines, while spraying weed-killer.

But before we move on:

  • Remember that weed-killer can be harmful.
  • Take note of what weed-killer you use, (contact or systematic)
  • Use properly maintained and calibrated spray equipment
  • Read the instructions on the container label,
  • Ensure that you will not contaminate primary water and food sources
  • Use protective clothing.

With that said …

Weeds are the number one enemy for any young grape vine and we all know that, taking care of unwanted weeds in a newly planted vineyard, can be headache.

If you allow the young grape vine to come in contact with the weed-killer you spray, it will also die or get badly damaged.  The fact remains; we still need to control weeds in newly planted vineyards- period!

Easier said than done, isn’t it!

However, there are a few tricks I will show you how to protect your grape vines while spraying weed-killer.

The first and probably the most important thing to remember, is to kill the weeds before you plant your grape vines.  This will ensure that for the first couple of weeks, your vineyard and young grape vines, will grow without competition for food and water.

However; as the growing season progress, the weeds will start to grow again and this is where the problems start.  With your new vines well established, you cannot simply go out and spray weed-killer again; you need to protect the young grape vines first.

If you grow grapes on small scale, you can simply protect the vines by covering it with a plastic carry-bag, while you spray the weed-killer.  Ensure that the outside of the bag (the area where the weed-killer came in contact with the bag), never touch the vegetative growth of the young grape vine.

The problem starts when you grow grapes on a larger scale.  It is simply impossible to cover every single grape vine with a bag, unless you have the these:

These are called trunk protecting tubes.  Normal growing tubes can also be used, but I personally don’t fancy the use of growing tubes, especially if you are going to leave them on the grape vines.  In our climate, I found that the micro-climate inside the tube, often gets too hot or humid and may damage the foliage or could lead to unwanted diseases.

Once the grape vines are planted and pruned back as described in the Complete Grape Growing System, you simply cut a tube of about 500 to 700mm in length.  Fold the tube into a small circle, that will go around the cutting.  When placing the tube over the cutting, ensure not to damage any buds and new shoots that may have developed from the cutting.

After you have placed the tubes at the base of the cutting, you can tie your training strings to the bottom trellis wire.

When it is time for the weed-killer application, later on in the season, you simply unfold or extract the tube to it’s full length.

Once the spray application is complete, you need to wait a few hours for the weed-killer to dry off, and then again you fold down the tube into a circle and again place it at the base of the cutting.

You can also use plastic covers to keep the weeds away from the cuttings, but I will discuss this in more detail in another blog post.

Neat little trick, isn’t it?

Take care, and happy grape growing…




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