The Q&A Archives: How do I move grape vines?

Question: I have to move six of my five year old grapevines from my arbor. What is the best way to do this, and when should I do it? Richard McKee Baraboo, WI

Answer: The best time to move grapevines in your area is April or early May, before they leaf out, says John Marshall, past president of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and owner of Great River Vineyards in Lake City, MinnesotA. You'll need to prunethe vine heavily in March to have a better chance of success when transplanting. Cut out most of the wood, leaving only two one year old canes with about four buds on each cane, he says. To transplant, dig out as much of the root system as possible, pruning any long roots. Dig the new hole twice the diameter of the root mass and plant the vine as deep as it was in the old hole. Backfill around the vine with soil amended with peat moss and water well. If you're afraid of losing the vine when transplanting, propagate some new plants by taking stem cuttings from one year old wood in fall. Each cutting should have four buds on it, says Marshall. Plant the cuttings right side up in a nursery bed or cold frame so that two buds are below ground and two buds are above ground. Your grape cuttings should root within two to three weeks, but don' move them to their permanent location until the following spring, he adds.

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