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Moving grape vines

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

My house is for sale and we have moved to another house. I have 6 grape vines in the yard that I would like to move to the new place. At the moment, they are absolutely COVERED in clusters. The clusters are very small - the fruits are about the size of a very small peppercorn right now. Maybe half a peppercorn. I don't want to lose all the fruits. Should I move them now, or should I wait until the house sells (who knows how long that will be in this market) and move them then. Will I lose more fruits moving them now or later? They are mostly table grapes. Niagara, Concord, etc.

Also, in either case, does anyone have advice on the actual best way to move them. My thoughts are, dig the holes for them at the new place and amend soil, so that everything is prepared for them. Then, dig them up getting as much root as possible and a very large ball of soil around them. Wrap in a tarp for each one, and then transport it. It's about a half hour drive. Plant immediately and water well.

Any advice highly appreciated!

Lecanto, FL(Zone 9a)

you would probably lose the fruit. I take clippings from my grape plants every so often. They root well. 100%. But they take 2 years to fruit. Are people moving in the old place right away? If not I'd take 1 and see how it goes. And my neighbor uses Quick Start on his transplants with excellent results. I don't know anything about it's ingredients for edibles. Good luck in your adventure.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Thanks - I haven't even sold the old place yet - so I can certainly wait. It's just if it sold suddenly (yeah, who am I kidding?!) and they wanted to move in right away, then it might be...say a month away from final ripeness, so I wondered if there would be a better chance of keeping fruit now, as opposed to moving in early August, for example. Maybe I'll pick one vine and try moving it. This was the first year that they were all going to fruit, except 1, which had two bunches last year. Small bunches. I am so excited about all my grapes for this year, and don't want to lose them all...I think I have about 50-100 bunches per vine right now. I believe I have some Quick Start - I shall go check in the basement where all the bottles of garden stuff live.

It was also the first year my peach tree flowered (year 4) because often the buds freeze off. It is completely covered in peaches, and I am so annoyed because I probably won't get to eat any. Maybe if it sells before they ripen, I can make a deal with the new owner to go back and pick peaches and grapes!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I think if you try to move it before you harvest the fruit there's a good chance you'll lose the fruit. Plants get stressed when they're transplanted (especially if it's in the heat of summer!) so they'll often drop blooms, fruits, etc and focus their energy on root development.

Lecanto, FL(Zone 9a)

I don't know peaches. They are grafted I think.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Yes, my Elberta peach is grafted onto dwarf stock because it's a small tree. Only about 10 feet tall. Probably too big to move, though.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Update: The house sold. They want to close on July 18. So, on Sunday morning, we moved the first two grapevines. Each has at least 40 bunches of grapes. Right now they are the size of small marbles. Today we moved another one. There are five left to go. We dug them and got as many roots as we could, and kept them as long as we could. Sometimes they went under the fence and we had to break them. We immediately put them into tubs of soil, covered all roots, and watered heavily. We put them into the pickup and drove them to the new place. We planted them immediately (so total time out of ground about 45 minutes to an hour) and watered again heavily.

This evening, the two that we planted yesterday morning look fabulous. They had a little bit of wilting on a couple of the tips of growth, but not all tips. Some of the tendrils have already twined around the wire fence that they are placed upon now. There is no sign of wilting of the mature leaves. They are green and very firm and normal looking. The one we planted tonight we have treated the same way.

For anyone considering doing this, the vines I have moved have trunks about the circumference of my thumb, or maybe a little more. They have numerous side branches. They were planted the fall before last. I think they are going to make it just fine, and I think I might even get fruit from them. I will post another update in a week or so to let you know how they are doing. I think a big part of it is the speed of digging and getting them back in the ground, so that they spend the least time out of the soil with drying roots. I also think having holes prepared is helpful, and getting as much root as possible.


Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)


Great news that your home sold that fast...

I sure would love to see pictures. We moved into this house and it has concord grapes and I don't know a thing about them. The birds and wildlife usually get to them before I remember to go to the back of the yard to check on them. This year it was such a mess and needs new support so I went out early one morning and was going to cut them back to just almost nothing so I could take down the old broken support and then get a new one up. In the mean time the silly vines took over and now there are a bunch of peppercorn size grapes.... We also have wild grapes growing on the trees that border our back property line....

So I would really love to see the pictures.


Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Hi Janet,

The house has been on the market since April, although in this market that is still fairly fast for a sale. The things I moved first were all my black currants, white currants, red currants, gooseberries, roses, and then other flowering perennials. I didn't get to the vines before the flowered, so I thought I'd just leave them until the grapes matured because houses around here are taking 6 to 8 months, if not more, to sell. Several houses on my street were up for more than a year. Anyway, I was very doubtful that the vines would survive the move, and had no hope whatsoever of fruits, but it looks like they may surprise me entirely.

I have Concord, Niagara, Catawba, Brianna, and 3 other grapes I don't know the names of. I am not an expert on these grapes by any stretch. I am trying to follow the kniffin system. Here are a couple of sites I have found particularly helpful in that regard, and in learning how to prune, when to prune, etc. (see two links below). My moved grapes are not looking right at the moment because I had to take all the various branches down off the wires that I was training them on. This has made the vines look a bit wild right now, but once they re-establish themselves, I will re-start the proper pruning and shaping process. I just don't want to over stress them right now.


Lecanto, FL(Zone 9a)

I'm keeping that one link on "how to". That's how to for dummies, right up my ally. Glad to hear the grapes are doing well. Nancy

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Nancy - I forgot to mention, as per your suggestion, I got some Plant Start from Earl May garden center and it's for helping out transplanted plants. I am going to mix some up and get it on those vines tomorrow. The mosquitoes were getting too bad tonight. They are crazy since the flooding here. Anyway, I hope that will also help the vines to recover and get growing! It was a great idea of yours. Thanks!

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)


thank you so much for those sights they are great. I've got them marked now...LOL


Clatskanie, OR(Zone 9b)

Cmoxon, put in the sale agreement that you are allowed to come back in winter to dig the grapes. There is no substitute for mature vines.

All grape species grow along streams where they can send down pencil like roots 15 feet or so to the water table. Your older plants are definitely worth transplanting.

I personally think it is more important to have a wet place to plant them, with plenty of Transplant shock preventer (Vitamin B, etc) to help them adjust. After the leaves fall off in the fall, it is safe to transplant them.
Grapes hemorage and bleeed and die back if you prune them or dig them before dormancy. I have grown both of those varieties and they were so wonderful for my children when they were little. They still talk about the grapes at Thanksgiving and Xmas. WONDERFUL CHILDHOOD MEMORIES, in the family grapevines. Frank

Lecanto, FL(Zone 9a)

CMoxon - I'm cleaning up my thread watcher and I keep thinking about your grapes. Did they make it? And did you get the baby grapes to grow?

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Wormfood - take a look and you tell me if they made it!! ;-)

Seriously though, I cut about half the fruit off each plant at moving, and the couple of vines that seemed to suffer more, I cut off all the fruit within the first couple of weeks. The rest ripened beautifully, there are lots of new shoots on the vines, and just yesterday I made 8 cups of grape jelly with the fruit. The bowl in the picture was filled twice. If all the fruit had made it, it would've been 4 times. I can't wait for next year!!

While I don't recommend moving grape vines if not absolutely necessary, it can be done with considerable effort, heavy watering, and out of the ground/back into the ground as quickly as possible, with good root coverage of soil while moving.

Thanks for asking!

Thumbnail by DrDoolotz
Lecanto, FL(Zone 9a)

OMG they are just beautiful! Mission accomplished ! And as Frank says (above) you'll have a story to tell the grandchildren, or whoever.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)


Would you care to share you jelly recipe.... we have some old grape vines left by the previous owner, and this spring I tried to get to it to start the process of reshaping and getting a new support built for it. I cut so many vines off just trying to get down to see what was really there to then start over with.... unfortunately, I got side tracked with some new flower beds and never made it to the back of the yard to get the job finished..... I thought for sure I had cut off enough vines that no way would I have any grapes this summer..... Well the new vines went crazy growing and there are so many grapes that my neighbour (who asked first) has been trying to make some jelly and not had much success yet. He left the pot and it boiled over...lolol and then took it off for it to settle down then try to restart from where he left off....LOL

Anyway since there are so many grapes and they are rip now, I would love to give this a try..... so the reason I was wondering if your jelly recipe is one that you wouldn't mind to share. You can always pm it to me....

Also, since I did have so many grapes, does that mean that the grapes come on new wood or is the current season grapes on old wood???

thanks again, I'm so thrilled that your made it, but when plants are in the loving hands of a gardener who takes care they really do amaze us...


Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Hi Janet!

Happy to share the recipe I used. I adapted it a little from the Ball "Blue Book of Preserves." It is adapted enough that I gave it my own name because it's not really their recipe any more.

Here are a couple of tips:

1. The separating of the grape "insides" from the skins is time consuming. I only used about half the skins (the red ones) for the skin cooking step, but I did separate all grapes. You can kind of get into a rhythm with it once you figure out how hard you have to squeeze the grape. Squeeze the insides out the end that already has a hole in it from the stem. If yours don't squeeze out easily, not sure what to suggest!
2. I combined several different varieties of grape. I think it doesn't matter what varieties you use as long as they are ripe.
3. Mine is almost a cross between jelly and jam because I didn't use pure juice - I used the cooked down pulp of the grapes that I pushed through a fine strainer. This makes it a little thicker but great flavor.

Claire's Grape Jelly-Jam

Grapes, mixed types - amount not specific
Sugar - amount depends on prepared grapes - see recipe
1 pouch "Certo" pectin (not sure if 100% necessary but I used it anyway)

Wash grapes and take them off the stems. Separate grapes from skins (takes a long time). Put skins (especially red ones) into a saucepan with about 1/2 inch of water in the pan. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will create a beautifully colored reddish-pink "juice" that has a lot of flavor. Set aside.

Put grape "insides" into a large saucepan and cook gently without any water until soft and breaking down into a jammy consistency (about 20 minutes or so). Put pulp through a food mill or press through a sieve to remove seeds.

Now you have a big bowl of pulpy stuff and a bowl of pinkish juice from the skins. Put them together and then measure how many cups of grape "stuff" you have. Put an equal amount of sugar as you have grape "stuff." So if you have 6 cups of grape preparation, add 6 cups of sugar.

Put grape preparation and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring slowly until the sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to the gelling point. Either use a candy/jam thermometer or the "cold dish in the freezer" method. If you don't know this method, let me know and I will explain it to you. Skim foam off as you boil the mixture.

When gelling stage is reached, add pectin, stir in quickly (not sure if the pectin is necessary but I like to add it for extra assurance that it will actually "gel"). Ladle into jars leaving about 1/4 headspace. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

For my water bath, I use a big stock pot with a vegetable steamer set into the bottom. There are many things you can use if you don't have a canner setup. Again, if you have questions on that, let me know.

Here is a picture of my jam so you can see the color. It is not bright purple like the grocery store stuff but it tastes way better! The dark purple stuff in the store is not a natural color I don't think.

To be honest, I am not sure about the grapes question and the old wood/new wood, but I do know for SURE that at least some grapes come on new wood because mine certainly did this year. Not sure about the old wood.

Have a great time with your grape jelly making! Let me know how it comes out if you use the recipe!

Thumbnail by DrDoolotz

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