Planting Bareroot Grape Vines

Grape vines area great edible plant to add to the garden. Grape vines can be used in many ways and have the attributes of an ornamental plant with high value as an edible plant. As an edible plant grapes can be used to make wine, juice, and their leaves are edible making them an interesting choice for wrapping food inside to create stuffed grape leaves. As an ornamental grapes can cover arbors, decorate pergolas, or dress up trellises. When planting grapes you want to give them every chance at a great start so in this post you can see how I planted a bareroot ‘Marquette’ grape vine in the garden.

Grape vines are usually shipped bareroot. Bareroot simply means there isn’t any soil material. This saves on shipping costs and prevents the transfer of insects or disease through the soil. Usually they will be packed in plastic with a moist material inside like spaghnum peat moss, sawdust, or shredded newspaper. Once you get your bareroot plants it’s a good idea to get them out of the box, remove the packing material, and put the vine into some water to rehydrate. Usually it is recommended to soak them overnight.

Choosing a Location for Grape Vines

Find a location in full sun to plant your grapes. Low lying areas can become frost pockets in the early spring which can damage early grapevine growth so avoid those areas if possible.

Planting the Grape Vines

In early spring dig a hole 10-12 inches wide and deep. (I just planted this one so I’m late to the game.) In the center of the hole make a small mound about 3-4 inches tall in the center.  Then spread the roots over the mound while keeping the grapevine centered on the mound gradually back fill with the soil and tamp it down with your hands as you go.

Each time I tamped down the soil I watered a little to make sure the roots had easy access to water.  I incorporated a little leaf mold into the planting hole to add some quality organic matter into the soil which is probably not necessary but I figured a little extra compost will only help it get a good start.  Once the whole was filled I covered it with mulch and put a little piece of fencing around it to prevent the deer from eating my new grape vine.

Later after planting

Once the grapevine grows a little it will need trellised in some way. An arbor, pergola, or some other structure will be needed to help the grapevine grow. Ideally you should have already done this but I haven’t decided exactly how I want to trellis these up. In commercial production grape vines are trellised along a post with a “Y” or “T” shape and the vines are tied to strong wires or pipes.

Keep the vine pruned to 2-3 branches during the first year. Each year it will need pruned back in the early spring because grapes form fruit on the new growth.

When these vines are older I’ll demonstrate how to prune your grapes.  For now though we’ll just have to watch the vines grow! Of course we could always do a little grape vine propagating as they grow!  Do you grow grape vines in your garden?