How do you take care of grapes for trimming and disease?
The Gardener’s Answer
Kentucky has a long history of growing grapes. In fact, our state is home to the first commercial vineyard. On a smaller scale, grapes are a fun backyard fruit for Kentucky gardeners. In all situations, proper care is essential to a healthy, productive vine.
Do you know which grapes you are growing? American cultivars perform best; some are more disease resistant than others. All grapes require full sun and good air circulation. They are adaptable to many soil types, but will grow best in a nutrient rich, well-drained soil.
If you have not had your soil tested you can contact your Cooperative Extension Office for instructions. It is always a good idea just so you know if the pH needs to be adjusted or if nutrients should be added. Grapes prefer the soil range between 5.0 and 6.0.
As with all plants it is best to provide adequate growing conditions to help prevent insect and disease issues. Year-round weed control is important and all plant debris should be removed at the end of the growing season to prevent overwintering of insects and diseases.
As for pruning, are your vines older and neglected or newer and getting established? Prune now to remove dead, diseased, or unproductive canes. This is a good time to look at the vine and remove canes that will allow for better airflow. Keep in mind that grapes are produced on previous year’s growth. Always use clean, sharp pruners, and if any canes are diseased, be sure to clean between cuts. This will prevent disease spread.
For detailed information on pruning, training and caring for grapes in Kentucky, click here.