The fall before you plant, mark the location for your vines. Get rid of all weeds, especially perennial ones, as your vines can easily survive 30 years or more in the same location. Grapes don't require superior soil, but good drainage is a must. Although you won't start training the vines until the second year, set up the trellis system before spring planting so you don't damage the roots later.
In the spring, work the soil again and plant the vines 6 to 10 feet apart. (Double this spacing for muscadines.) For each vine, dig a hole 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide to accommodate the roots. Shovel in a 4-inch layer of topsoil. Then prune the top of your grapevine back to two or three buds and trim off any broken roots or roots too long to fit into the hole without crowding. Set the vine into the hole, slightly deeper than it was grown in the nursery, and spread its roots. Cover the roots with 6 inches of topsoil, keeping the buds above the soil line. Tamp down the soil, then fill the remainder of the hole with topsoil but don't tamp it down. Water the new plants well. Although grapevines are known to be drought tolerant, they need plenty of water right after planting so roots can get established.
|1. Grape Essentials|
|2. Planting Grapes ← you're on this article right now|
|3. Care & Harvesting of Grapes|
|4. Grape Pruning: Three Systems|
|5. Buying Grapes|
Article published on June 23, 2008.