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Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Posted by nicolevabre zone4 (My Page) on
Fri, May 24, 13 at 23:57

Hey All!
I have an arbor that I've finally decided needs shade, and I've chose to grow grapes for the shade AND fruit. From the ground to the top of the arbor is 10'. I'm wondering if a Niagra grape vine will even grow that tall? I am a total amateur; never grown anything other than a few flowers. I mostly want the vines for shade, but the fruit will be a great benefit! Also; should I plant them against the house, or on the vertical posts?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

I would plant near the posts... Niagra should be good, why not get another type for the second post?

I attached a link to my pergola w/grapes....similar to yours except I built with 4 posts and have 4 different grapes growing up each one...

Here is a link that might be useful: Grape Pergola


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

No problem. We've got grape arbors on 3 sides of the house.


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

You shoud be careful of which grape you get. Some of the best tasting and popuar varieties are only reliably hardy to zone 5.

From what ive read, Niagra is not reliable in zone 4, especially if you want shade. Vaiant and Beta should be 100% hardy there, Valiant being a better tasting version of beta. Edelweiss is apparenty a hardy choice as well.

Google the University of Minnesota grape page (key words "minnesota grapes") and they will give you information based on the trials down there.


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Sometimes you have to dig deep to find exactly which varieties do well in your climate.

Our climate is HOT summer days and warm summer nights, and very low chance of any freeze in winter. I looked for grapes that originated in other countries of the world with similar climates, and was very successful in obtaining varieties that do exceptionally well here.

I do not know what zone 4 is, but I have provided a link for you with a list of grapes available in the USA. Click on each variety, and you will see it's origins, where it can be purchased, it's color, and if it's a wine or table grape.

Have fun!
Suzi

Here is a link that might be useful: National Grape Registry


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

I so appreciate the feedback! @melikeeatplants; I definitely will plans two different varieties. It'll be interesting to see how Edelweiss does; I have read it can be finicky and prone to breaking off. And now I'm on the fence about Niagra. I have a friend who has a small vineyard just a block away from me and she suggested the Niagra. I guess if it doesn't work, I'm not out much!


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Decades ago in the pre-AC south, that would be called a "summer porch."


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Well, If your neighbor is growing niagra then you shouldnt have a problem with it at all (or getting some cuttings :D ). Gives me a bit of hope, as im in a cold zone 4 and recently purchased niagra. I was reading up on it and realized I will have to wrap the canes, but It may be more hardy then what I have read.

Do you mind if i ask what state you are in Nicole?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Do I keep the vine to a single cane (?) until it reaches the top of the arbor? I'm not sure it my terminology is correct; please excuse me!


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

@Canadianplant, I am in NW Iowa. My neighbor doesn't have any Niagra vines; she has types for wine-making, and mine will solely be for eating. What I have on hand already are 2 Edelweiss vines, but I will be returning one in exchange for a Niagra. The local nursery had a limited selection: Niagra, Edelweiss & Catawba. I wouldn't be against getting one of all three, but I haven't read much on Catawba. Anyone have any experience with this one or any of them?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

  • Posted by glenn10 5a New Brunswick (My Page) on
    Sat, May 25, 13 at 23:09

Hi Nicole, if hardy table grapes is what you are after then I would go with somerset seedless and Swenson red. I grow both here and I must say the Swenson red is the absolute best tasting grape I have ever eaten! Both have survived and produced fruit after a good test winter where the temp went down to -25F (-32C).
hope that helps :)


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Sorry Nicole, you mentioned a friend suggesting Niagra, I could only assume she grows it. Niagra is apparently used for wine also, and juice, but is usually sold in its growing area for fresh eating - they just dont ship too well


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

  • Posted by glenn10 5a New Brunswick (My Page) on
    Sun, May 26, 13 at 8:07

I grow niagra here, not sure how hardy it would really be as I have it growing on the hot side of my house which is also protected from a lot of the winds too. it produces well but for us it is not a very good table grape. The flavour is quite strong and has VERY thick skin which I just spit out as it is so hard to chew. It is a very good juice grape though, very aromatic. You can smell their wonderful smell when they start to ripen(raccoons can smell them too!)


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

I was able to FINALLY find a Swenson red vine today! After all my research, my heart was set on that variety, and I was upset I hadn't been able to find any.
If I can find somerset, I may trade the Edelweiss for that :)
Thanks!


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Hey glenn, does that ever die back for you at all?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

  • Posted by glenn10 5a New Brunswick (My Page) on
    Mon, May 27, 13 at 21:49

Canadianplant, we had a fairly good winter with 3 or 4 days down to -15F (-26C). As you can see from the picture of one of the longer canes that is just flopping around in the wind has about 3 inches of dieback.
I think there are a lot of things that affect hardiness from what I have seen. I used to fertilize the hell out of everything.......lots of long vigorous growth which did not have time to harden off for winter!!!! Now I do not fertilize my grape vines at all. They grow a little slower but they survive the winter!
Grapes have MEGA powerful roots and go looking for food. Just try and dig one up after one season of growth and you will see what I mean. I dug up some 2 season cuttings last year and the roots went 3 feet in all directions when the top was only a little over 3 feet tall!
I don't even cultivate around my vines......just run the lawn mower around them:)


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  • Posted by glenn10 5a New Brunswick (My Page) on
    Mon, May 27, 13 at 21:58

Nicole, here is another good one if you can find it. It is another Swenson variety called Kandiyohi. Berries are really big and have that grapey juice kinda flavor:)


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Glenn, I went with your suggestion and bought (and planted!) one Somerset seedless and one Swenson red. It took quite a bit of searching for me to find them, but hopefully it'll be worth it! Now that I have them in the ground, I'm not sure what to do with them; I've read that they should be cut down to two buds, but the guy at the nursery told me to just let them be, and train the strongest growth up the post. What would you suggest?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Glenn, I went with your suggestion and bought (and planted!) one Somerset seedless and one Swenson red. It took quite a bit of searching for me to find them, but hopefully it'll be worth it! Now that I have them in the ground, I'm not sure what to do with them; I've read that they should be cut down to two buds, but the guy at the nursery told me to just let them be, and train the strongest growth up the post. What would you suggest?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Glenn, I went with your suggestion and bought (and planted!) one Somerset seedless and one Swenson red. It took quite a bit of searching for me to find them, but hopefully it'll be worth it! Now that I have them in the ground, I'm not sure what to do with them; I've read that they should be cut down to two buds, but the guy at the nursery told me to just let them be, and train the strongest growth up the post. What would you suggest?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

This is where im stuck in regards to my "beta". I have Valiant, himrod, flame seedless, and yes , the niagra for fruit/juice etc, and I want the beta for the exact situation as you.

I know from reading, that it is suggested that you prune to a single strong cane, with 2 or 3 buds when growing for production only, but if youre going for shade, I dont think this is as necassary.

Sure, pruning to one or 2 canes should put the growing energy into those canes and they should reach the top of the arbor faster. What I did was choose 3 canes. The grapes will produce on last years canes no matter how you prune them, its just a matter of geting a high amount (when grown for production) and being able to reach them, seeing as grapes can push over 50 feet.

I am not going to prune these canes at all, and just let them do their own thing....

Glenn - I have read that the more I delve into the depths of gardening lol. I dont fertilize at all, besides layering compost/manure/blood and/or bone meal in early spring when the buds swell (that goes for everything outside. I was contemplating using a foliar seaweed fert to get some micronutrients into the soil.

I experimented with Vanessa and Himrod, unprotected in a soemwhat exposed spot. The canes do not make it no matter how I fertilize or not. I think with a quick wrapping I will get some good canes to survive!

PS (nicole) - Do not be discouraged if your vines dont do well there. No matter what the information says you really wont know how well they do until they are planted. Keep a list of backup varieties just in case. I dont like seeded grapes, but they seem to be the only kind that are 100% reliable here, so I had to find a happy medium (valiant).


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

I have a Swenson red, and am training it up and over my arbor. I have clay soil, and planted it last spring. Don't worry if it doesn't grow much the first year, it's roots are growing! "The Grape Grower" by Lon Rombough suggests letting it grow willy-nilly the first year, and cutting it back to two buds in the winter. Then, the single stem will grow the second year and perhaps reach the top of the arbor. If not, cut it back to two buds the third year and train the single stem again. (Don't worry, grapes are like weeds and bounce right back. All their energy is in their roots during winter so you're not "losing" anything.) Eventually, the single stem will be up and over the arbor and you can let it fruit. Please read up on pruning, you shouldn't ignore it once its up there, you'll need to prune every year. I highly recommend "The Grape Grower!"


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

What does the Swenson red taste like? Can you compare it to Red Flame?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Swenson red is marginally hardy in zone 4 (without protection) I have had mine die back to the ground 2 winters ago.

We are doing a HIgh arbor as well over an elevated deck. I went with the more cold tested varieites for the arbor and have kept more tender stuff low to the ground.

This looks to be our first crop on the swenson red....supposed to be a great grape.


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

  • Posted by bencjedi 6 - Central Kentucky (My Page) on
    Tue, May 28, 13 at 23:50

I just built an arbor out of pieces of an old trampoline a neighbor tossed out years ago. I currently have Niagara and will say they make an awesome jelly and wine (still learning wine-making, second year was better than the first). I bought a Reliance grape and set it by the arbor, but think I need to buy another variety and set it on the other side. It will be kind of shaded later in the day. Should I put a Swensen red by this post? It would be kind of behind the reed-walled tomato-caged "fill as you grow potato tower" thing you see.

(by the way I am in zone 6 on clay and HEAVY limestone rock.. see bench in background.. had to rent a jackhammer to get that out of my garden.. it was twice that size and I cut it into a bench and muscled it into a free bench)


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

What does the Swenson red taste like? Can you compare it to Red Flame?

It has a similar crunch which is uncommon for cold-hardy grapes. It has its own very fruity flavor, more "fruity" than Red Flame. If it were seedless it would have taken over the grocery shelves.

Scott


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

I really hope I don't kill off my Swenson red; that sounds delicious!
@Fruit maven; I'll definitely be investing in "The Grape Grower." I was able to download a sample via Amazon.com, and for a "how-to" book, it was really quite good!


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  • Posted by glenn10 5a New Brunswick (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 18:25

I have to agree with Scott, Swenson red is like eating a piece of candy. Every time I hand some out to co-workers or friends to try their eyes get REALLY BIG!
Canadianplant, I also have Vanessa and himrod. Both are really good flavored.I lay mine down for the winter by growing them as a "lazy-J". Without laying them down they get a lot of die back, especially the himrod.
bencjedi,definately get yourself a swesnon red! you will not be disappointed!


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  • Posted by bencjedi 6 - Central Kentucky (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 22:46

I found a source of Swensen Red online and just placed an order. I'm sold on the positive reviews and your recommendation Glenn. When anyone tells me a fruit tastes like candy they have my attention! :)
That's probably why I bought the Reliance variety too as someone reviewed those like that at gurneys.com LOL

The Niagara makes a DELICIOUS jelly. I look forward to making it every year and enjoy licking out the pot where the grape jelly was made. My pot gets coated with a sticky, chewy yummy hard jellied coating after pouring out the jars.. I like to scrape it off and lick the aftermath left in the pot with a spoon. :)


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 23:16

Nicole, here's a good resource for training grape vines for your situation.

Here is a link that might be useful: training for pergola


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Thank you. nil13!


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Im afraid you will have dieback on a high pergola with swenson red. Its hardy, but not THAT hardy, definitely worth trying up north, but best to protect it in the winter. Because for a pergola, it will take several years to regrow if you have complete dieback, I would definitely stick with a more hardy variety. Im in ND, zone 4 and so far my hardiest vines have been valiant (obviously) and edelweiss. I just planted somerset seedless this spring, but I have tried reliance and it died to the ground last winter. Also Vanessa definitely needs protection in my area. Bluebell is also hardy but my vines havent taken off nearly as aggressively as Val and Edel.


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

That's great to know, Derek. As of now, I have the Swenson Red & Somerset in the ground, and have 2 Edel still in their containers but are starting to bud beautifully. I'd like to put the Edel in the ground especially after reading this, but am at a loss on where to put it. I'd like it to grow by the arbor, but where would you suggest?
Have you found the Edel to be fragile or finicky?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Still my old 'out of hand' eating favorite: the old 40 yr. old seeded concord! I planted a seedless concord a couple years ago also & am waiting to see how it tastes... ? similar to the old seeded concord? This is old wine grape growing country (New Mexico) & in later years it has become popular again & grows some great wine grapes. Just had one of the local wine tasting festivals a week ago here. A grape arbor sounds great!


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

There is a seedless grape trial in zone 5, Madison, WI at the UW Research Station. Several grapes have been proven to be hardy here, and with two prunings in the spring, set fruit and ripen. (If you do a minor pruning in March and then a more complete pruning in April, you delay budbreak and lessen frost damage.) The grapes are completely exposed (it used to be a large cornfield), and not covered during the winter.

The most hardy and earliest-ripening varieties were Somerset Seedless (red), and Trollhaugen (purple). Both were developed in northern WI by Elmer Swenson. None of the green seedless grapes had excellent hardiness, all had some winter damage on bad years.

I linked to their website. I have found a much more thorough PowerPoint description of ALL their varieties, which is worth searching for.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of WI Display Gardens Grape Trials Report, 2012


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Here it is!

Here is a link that might be useful: PowerPoint on seedless table grapes in WI


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Question: the leaves on my Somerset seedless vine looks really dull, lacks luster, compared to the leaves on my Edelweiss & Swenson Red. We've gotten lots of rain, and most days are cloudy and not too many days have gotten above 68° F. The leaves aren't wilted, but they seem flimsier and not as thick as the others.
I can't find any good pictures of Somerset leaves, so can't tell if that's what they normally look like.
Thanks for any feedback!


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Here is a close-up picture of the leaves.


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

Several posters have mentioned "the need for winter protection" with certain varieties in the colder zones. What do you do to achieve this protection?


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RE: Growing grapevines over arbor for shade

I actually have just planted these two weeks ago. I'm not sure what I'll do for winter protection... I just hope they make it through this gloomy summer!


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