PRUNING AND TRAINING A GRAPE VINE- Begin by buying quality one-year-old vines with vigorous root systems. Plant grapes in early spring as soon as soil can be worked. Before planting young vines, remove all but one of the most vigorous canes. Trim off any damaged or excessively long canes. If using potted plants try not to break the root-ball if you can prevent it.
Vines are usually spaced 8 feet apart (rows should be 8-9 ft. apart). Dig holes large enough to accommodate roots without crowding and set the plants about 2 inches deeper than they grew in the nursery. Firm soil around the roots and water thoroughly. After the vine is planted, cut the shoot back to 2 strong buds.
The First Season- After growth starts, apply 1/3rd. cup of ammonium nitrate or equivalent nitrogen fertilizer as a ring around each vine. Work lightly into the soil. Repeat twice more at three week intervals. First year plants will benefit from occasional deep watering, especially if season is dry. Do not keep constantly wet. Set a post or build a trellis the first summer. Eliminate weeds. Do not cultivate after August first. Late cultivation encourages late growth which may winter-kill. An organic mulch is beneficial.
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