The Q&A Archives: Seedless Grapes

Question: I have been told that seedless grapes do not grow in the Pittsburgh, PA region. If it is possible, can you recommend a seedless grape with the best chance of survival? Some planting and soil conditioning tips would also be appreciated.

Answer: There are several varieties you might consider trying, although success will certainly depend on the growing conditions and at least as important, microclimate you have to offer. You will find a table showing seedless grapes here: along with detailed information about their requirements. Based on your knowledge of your site and your rpeferences, you may be able to select one or more varieties to try; Himrod is often suggested as well.

Grapes do best in full sun all day long in a position with good air circulation during the summer to reduce disease problems. Cold temperatures are made harsher by winter wind, so a spot with winter protection is also preferred. You will need a large area because grapes are large vines and their trellising takes up room, too.

Grapes are not terribly picky about soil, although good drainage is a must. They also prefer a pH of between 5.0 and 6.0. Bare root grapes can be planted in early spring and should establish themselves over the coming season. Be sure to water them regularly until they are established if it does not rain. Mulch is a good idea to help control weeds and maintain soil moisture. As a rule of thumb, new plants can be fed about a half pound of granular 10-10-10 fertilizer shortly after planting, and increased to a pound per vine the following year.

Additional soil improvement would be required as indicated by basic soil tests. Your County Extension (350-2540) should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results, as well as supplying you with the suggested spray routine and timing for grapes in your area.

Good luck with your grapes!

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