The Q&A Archives: wine plant watering

Question: I have a mature 3 year old zinfandel plant in a large resin type container. This season I moved it from shadier location blocked from late afternoon sn to full sun deck exposure and have installed drip irrigation watering system set at 48hr for 2-3 minutes. At 2 min there doesn't seem to be enough water and at 3 min the coaster is full of water. How much water does it really need. The vinyards in Napa country don't appear to have wet really soil but it's difficult to tell. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen the irrigation system working.

Answer: Moving your grapevine into full sun was a good idea. You'll have a healthier plant and it will produce more fruit. In the field, grapevines typically have deep root systems and are usually watered only once 10-14 days (depending upon soil type). In a container, you'll need to water more frequently, but you'll also need to allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. If the soil remains soggy wet, root rot will set in. It may take some trial and error to determine just how often you'll need to water. I'd try every 5-6 days, long enough to thoroughly wet the soil. You can always dig down into the container to see how dry the soil is and adjust the timer on your drip system. Best wishes with your garden!

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