CARE OF YOUNG GRAPES ORCHARD
|Grapes are certainly a multi-purpose fruit, being used for wine, baked goods, jams, and for eating fresh off the vine. With their ability to grow in many places around the world, they are a great addition to any garden. In its natural habitat, the vines grow and produce during the hot and dry period. Temperatures above 10C to 40C influence the yield and quality. High humidity and cloudy weather invite many fungal diseases.|
|The grape is widely adopted to various soil conditions, but the yield and quality reach to the highest on good fertile soils have pH 6.5 to 8.5, organic carbon above 1.0%, free of lime and having a medium water holding capacity.
Spacing for planting is maintained depending on soil type, variety and method of training. The distance between two rows may be 2 to 3 m while distance between vines within a row will be half of that, accommodating vines from 150-200 per acre. In the first couple of years, the vine should not be allowed to produce fruit. It needs to strengthen its root system before it can support the extra weight of fruit.
Pruning is important. Not only would vines run rampant without control, but canes will only produce fruit once. Prune annually when vines are dormant, in March or April. This is before the buds start to swell, but when winter damage is apparent. Don’t be afraid to remove at least 90 percent of the previous season’s growth. This will ensure a higher quality product. Remember, the more you prune, the more grapes you will have.
In the first year, cut back all buds except for 2 or 3. Then, select a couple of strong canes and cut back the rest. Make sure the remaining canes are fastened to the support.
In the second year, prune back all canes. Leave a couple of buds on each of the arms. Remove flower clusters as they form.
Do not fertilize in the first year unless you have problem with soil fertility. Fertilize lightly in the second year of growth. Use mulch to keep an even amount of moisture around the vines.
A mesh net is useful in keeping birds away from budding fruit.
Grapes vines take about 1.5 to 2 years after planting to bear the first crop. During this period the care of young vines is taken as under:-
- Seeded varieties – Seedless varieties will produce smaller grapes.Cardinal, concord Emperor, Italia, Anab-e-shahi, Cheema sahebi, Kalisahebi, Rao Sahebi,
- Seedless varieties – Thompson seedless, flame seedless, kishmish chorni, perlette, Arkavati.
Managing diseases, insects and other pests
Most insect and other problems can be reduced by planting vines in a sunny location with good air circulation.
Weather conditions, winter hardiness of the variety, infection from the previous year, history of pesticide use, and surrounding vegetation can affect a vine’s susceptibility for a particular year.
Diseases flourish in high humidity. Good air circulation in very important for preventing most diseases. This means annual pruning to keep the canopy from getting too dense.
Equally important is raking and removing leaves each fall as well as picking up and composting fallen fruit. After pruning, remove cuttings away from the vines.
Diseased portions of a vine should be removed and discarded at first sign of disease, to prevent spread to the rest of the vine.