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How To Grow Grape Vines On A Pergola

Growing grapes on your pergola is easier than you might think.  In fact, it’s just about the best place you could choose for them!

Advantages

  • Pruning is easier because the grape vine will have an established framework.
  • The grape vine’s leaves will catch maximum sunlight which is essential for photosynthesis and growth.
  • Spraying for disease treatment is easier due to better accessibility.
  • The plant’s foliage provides shade in summer, color in autumn and allows light in during the winter.

You don’t need to choose a variety of grape vine that actually fruits.  If you just want the plant for its attractive foliage, ask your garden center for a non-fruiting variety.  Bear in mind the construction of your pergola if you choose a fruiting variety of grape vine as multiple bunches of ripe grapes can be pretty heavy, so it will need to be a robust structure.

Disadvantages

  • You will have to carry out pruning and other work with your hands above your head which can be a little uncomfortable.
  • You will need to train the grape vine over the pergola; it won’t do it without your help
  • Your vines won’t fruit during the first year of growth.

Planting Grape Vines

  1. As a general rule of thumb, one or two vines of average vigor for every 64 square feet is about right and you can always add more in the future.  Ask your garden center or nursery for advice on which varieties to choose if you’re not sure.
  2. The best time to plant grapes is in the late autumn through to early spring when the plants are least active.
  3. Grapes will grow in any soil type.  Choose a spot adjacent to an upright post on your pergola.  Loosen up the soil so that it’s not compacted and add some compost.
  4. Plant the vines about 1.2m apart and 12.5cm away from the post.

Training Grape Vines

  1. Choose one training shoot only.  This will make sure that the vine reaches the top of the pergola quickly.
  2. Fix the vine firmly but not too tightly to the upright post using garden twine and guide it up to the top of the pergola as it grows.

Pruning and Maintenance

  1. Grape vines should be pruned back hard in early winter.  During the spring and summer months, pinch out new shoots and thin out early fruits to encourage a heavier crop.
  2. Grape vines can be vulnerable to a number of different issues including mold and mildew.  Treat vines with a preventative spray in the spring and summer; ask your garden center for advice on which products to use.

In Conclusion

Grape vines make a wonderful compliment to your pergola.  They can also be grown over a verandah or even a carport as an aesthetically pleasing and potentially tasty garden addition.

 

Image source:  cascadechalet.com

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk

Alison Page

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