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Monday, May 28, 2012

Grape Vine Stopped Growing and Losing Leaves

Q. I am having a serious problem with my grape vine.  It seems to have stopped growing and is losing leaves. I used a lot of bone meal on the plants and I am wondering if I have over fertilized it? The ground is never dry, the flower bed it's planted in is on the same drippers as prior years.
Readers grape plant. Notice the leaf discoloration in the top
center of the picture that might be a disease problem.

A. Thanks for sending a good detailed picture. I looked at the picture closely upon magnification which I could do on my computer. Here is what I could determine from the picture and your comments.
            I saw some good strong growth from some of the vines, but there appeared to be a fair amount of unproductive wood in the canopy. I am wondering if there is quite a bit of dead wood in that vine.
            You reported leaf drop and I could see some scorching in the leaves. This type of leaf damage is common to some grape diseases. The grape bunches looked very healthy so I am guessing that something happened rather quickly to the vine.
This could be a problem to have grape clusters this exposed
in our high light intensity desert climate. However, this
exposure faces east so it is not quite so bad.
            I rather doubt that applying bone meal, even in fairly large amounts, would cause this leaf drop and leaf scorching unless it was applied directly to the base of the vine and in large amounts. If this problem you are reporting happened over the entire vine, then something happened to the root system or the trunk of the vine.
             It is possible it could be diseased if there is a lack of air movement in that location. If that microclimate is higher in humidity it might also cause some leaf problems (disease) that could cause defoliation. This is not the climate for disease problems to florish so I would not be treating for diseases unless humidity and cool temperature persisted or if I saw the chance for diseases to persist from year to year due to the microclimate. In our climate, this type of weather condition does not usually persist and there is enough stored energy in the plant for it to refoliate.
            One problem might occur and that is defoliation of the vine and sunburn of the already semi mature bunches of grapes. If grape clusters are exposed to sunlight early when they are small they can accomodate higher light intensities but their is an increased chance of sunburn on the berries when the plant defoliates when the grape berries are this far along.


  1. Hi, My name is Steve. I wrote you where it said 'contact me', but am not sure if it went through?
    I have a grape vine that was growing and producing. It was cut back and transplanted. It has not even producec any leaves or growth this summer. I am worried it is dead , but don’t know if it is just recooperating??? and in a dormant period???
    I am watering it, and I cut a lot of wood off it to hope it will start over. It looks like it was going to produce two new shoots and then nothing has happened. Is there anything I can do. I have pictures I can send you. I hope you respond and are able to help me and my grapevine. My deceased father gave it to me and I so so so so want to see it grow again.
    Thank you . Steve
    My email is semarion007@yahoo.com

  2. Hi Steve, Please send me some pictures and tell me how it was purchased and where, if it was containerized and the size of the container when you planted it, how soon after you bought it and got it planted and the time of year you planted it. Tell me how you amended the soil and your watering practices. Young grape vines are extremely sensitive to a lack of water. They do not survive drought conditions when they are young. However, after they get established they have tremendous potential to withstand drought but perform better with regular irrigations in the hot, dry desert. You can send them to Extremehort@aol.com

  3. hey there. Planted 5 tompsons seedless from Home Depot. One died because my water wasn't making it to the vine. 2 are growing awesome and the other 2 hit about a foot and a half and stopped growing. I have them about 15 feet apart. Why would 2 already be 6 feet tall and have arms out 4 feet when the 2 have not even made it up the point where I can start to trellis it yet? do you think this could be just be a water issue? Should I try a fertilizer?

  4. Hi folks. I have four grapevine bushes. We had a freeze past two years. Two of them doing fine, however two others stop producing new leaves since last year. Is that mean that they are dead? How would I check if they are dead?

    Please advise.

  5. Some grapevines are more tender to winter freezing temperatures than others. Those grapevines with European grape Heritage in their reading history have poor tolerance to freezing temperatures. For instance, most all of the European grapes coming from hot weather climates will not tolerate temperatures much below 20° F. Expect these grapes to freeze to the ground while other grapes may sail through the winter unharmed.

    If you don't live in California I preferred to grow grapes on their own roots rather than grafted on a rootstock. If they freeze to the ground many of them will grow again from their stems below the soil. If they are grafted onto a rootstock, then the rootstock may grow back and then you might as well throw it out.

    Cut the top back close to the ground. Let it soccer from the base. Selected the strongest sucker and re-tie it to a grape steak to get the stem straight and establish it back on the trellis again.If you push it hard with water and mostly nitrogen fertilizer you can reestablish it back on the trellis in one growing season. With some grapes I have been able to have it fruit in the second year after establishment.