The Q&A Archives: Grapes Too Small

Question: I have 2 Red Flame grape vines that I planted about 4 or 5 years ago. They produced lots of fruit this year but many had a mildew-like film and seemed stunted, ie, smaller than what I thought should be normal. Is there something that I can spray on these to cure the problem and still leave the fruit edible? I live in Southern California in Zone 23 of the Sunset Western Garden book.

Answer: First of all, I wonder if the "mildew-like film" on the fruit was the natural "bloom" that grapes get. If the foliage wasn't affected (look for a gray/white, powdery coating on the leaves), then mildew probably isn't a problem.<br><br>There are a few reasons to explain why your grapes were small. Have you been pruning the vines each year? Vines can only support a certain size crop; beyond that fruit size may be smaller. Also, they need plenty of water throughout the summer. And finally, they need to be fertilized regularly. <br><br>You might want to contact your local Cooperative Extension office to inquire about publications on growing grapes in your region. Their number is 213/744-4854.

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