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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Grapes like the Heat, Grow Slowly during Cold Nights

Q. My newly planted grapes aren't really growing fast and are a bit more yellow than dark green. I am wondering if I need to water more. I am only watering two times a week or water less. Or if I need to add something to the soil? Or do nothing and stop worrying?

A. Grapes love the heat. It is probably just not warm enough. Watering twice a week is right when temperatures are beginning to warm.

Apply about five gallons each time you water newly planted grapes. Put a steel stake next to them or a piece of rebar and tie them tightly to it so they are straight. Use the stretchable green nursery tape. Do not use wires.

If you are planning to trellis these grapes, remove all leaves along the trunk except the new growth at the tip. You do not want side shoots to develop along the trunk unless you are growing it in a tree form.

Grapes grow slowly during cool weather
The leaf yellowing could be caused by cool nighttime temperatures or a lack of nitrogen fertilizer. Apply nitrogen fertilizer once a month to the soil around the trees and water it in. Do not apply closer than about 12 inches to the plant or you could burn them or worse.

I see from the pictures you sent you have a lot of rock mulch surrounding your fruit trees and vegetables. Our soils have horribly low amounts of organic content, some of the lowest on the planet.

Grapes, all fruit trees and vegetables including strawberries do not like rock mulch at all. This will be a problem in the future. They like “organic” soils, not rock or mineral soils. The small amount of wood chips you have spread a few inches around your plants will not help them at all.

Wood surface mulches need to be at least 3-4 inches deep and a distance of at least three feet from their trunks. Keep wood mulches several inches away from the trunks of young trees and vines.

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