I bought a Flame Seedless Red Grape vine at Lowe's =just for fun to see if I can actually grow some grapes. Never done that before, so I can use some helpful advice. I have it planted where it can be tied to a trellis- Will it need any special protection from insects or diseases? Or fertilizers? I will appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks- Jo in TriCities WA
Jo, I found this link for WSU and while it is geared towards wine production, it may be of some use: http://wine.wsu.edu/research-extension/grape-growing/. It doesn't appear that you have any species of grape leaf skeletonizers in your area (lucky you), but there are other insect pests which I don't have to deal with here. As a side note, don't expect to get any fruit production until the 3rd year after planting. My grapes, both Red Flame and Thompson Seedless were planted in Spring 2010 and didn't produce any fruit the 1st or 2nd year, but this year they are looking like they will be producing a lot of fruit. I've trellised my grapes in a manner similar to the way vineyards do it, running wire between poles and planting the grapes between the poles as shown in the photo.
Grapes will set fruit farther and farther away from the trunk if they are not pruned. You can probably leave it be for a year or two, but after that plan on pruning it hard every year to keep it on its trellis.
Grapes usually form on new growth from two year old wood, so, as Pollen says, you need to prune to keep that second year wood where you want your grapes. Depending on the age of your vine when you set it out, you should get some grapes when you have some second year wood, but not always.
I planted the grapes in this picture around the arbor last Spring, some one year old vines and some 2 years old. The Flame Grape is on the right hand side of the corner, and most of them set the tiny buds, but now only part of the buds are developing into grapes.
So, depending on the size of trellis you want, let your vine grow to cover that area this year, and then next year prune back leaving 2 " long spurs to grow new vines that should produce grapes.
My objective this year was to get the Arbor covered, but the vines are three feet above the top of the Arbor now, so i have had to do some pruning. I had some virus problems last year but spray with Kocide, and have not had any this year. I fertilized to get the vine growth but will not need much once they are established. Deep watering works best. Do your pruning in the winter, as you can lose a lot of sap from the vines in the Spring when growth starts.
This shows how NOT to prune a grape. The cedar tree in the photo has a grape planted near the base. You can see the grape toward the top of the tree, 20-35 feet up - and that is where the grapes will be.
I wish I could have got closer - but I wanted to get the base and top of the tree in one shot.