As one of the largest grapevine producers in North America, Vintage Nurseries has been asked many times, “When is the most important time of the year for my vines?” Interestingly, there are several answers.
Spring is obviously the key planting time, but there’s no need to rush. If you receive your vines early enough, January through mid-February, there may be no need to acclimate them. For shipments after mid-February, however, you will want to keep them slightly moist and in the box in a shaded area before planting. The further into the season that you receive them, the more acclimation they will need.
For all orders shipped after May 1st, for instance, you will want to allow the buds to start pushing in the shipping container before planting. It’s also smart to soak the roots in water for a minimum of four hours, ahead of the planting process. Since Vintage Nurseries ships dormant vines directly to our customers from cold storage, unless requested otherwise, the acclimation is very important. Rushing to plant vines can cause higher than normal losses. Just remember that, while you are storing them, they need to be in a shaded area to avoid drying out.
If the weather forecast calls for hot, dry weather, it is better to leave the vines in the box temporarily. In this case, you would want to hold off planting until
there is a break in the weather. A fold-top carton is recommended for all vines, both dormant and potted. You should complete this as the vines are being planted, or no more than a few hours after planting, because damage to exposed vines can occur quickly.
Fall is a season that should never be overlooked for proper vine management. Even though the plants are shutting down at that time, they still require water. A slow, steady shutdown of the vines is optimal, so they’re prepared for winter’s cold weather. This means watering them, but only moderately because you don’t want them to keep growing and risk damage from a winter frost.
This is a good time to do a petiole analysis, which lets you know the nutrient composition of your vines. With this knowledge, you can give your vines their proper balance of nutrients before they go dormant. You’ll also want to use the Fall season to check for any visual viral symptoms, so you can send suspicious samples in for testing to our state-of-the-art in-house lab.
Remember that roots continue to develop during dormancy, so your vines will need moderate water even in winter. New roots are near the surface and soil must not be allowed to dry. Keep in mind that vines in dry soils are also at much higher risk of frost damage. So irrigating ahead of an approaching frost provides important protection.
Should you have any questions about planting or maintenance, at any time of the year, Vintage Nurseries will be happy to answer your questions. You can reach us, toll-free, at 800-499-9019 or visit our website at www.vintagenurseries.com.
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Source: Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association