Title Page


30 questions and answers for grape growers
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00048341/00001
 Material Information
Title: 30 questions and answers for grape growers
Series Title: Circular
Alternate Title: Thirty questions and answers for grape growers
Physical Description: 12 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mortensen, J. A ( John Alan ), 1929-
Adlerz, W. C ( Warren Clifford )
Balerdi, C. F ( Carlos F )
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1968
Subjects / Keywords: Grapes -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: J.A. Mortensen, W.C. Adlerz, C.F. Balerdi.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: "December, 1968."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 51255620
System ID: UF00048341:00001

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida




J. A. Mortensen
W. C. Adlerz
C. F. Balerdi


JUNE, 1968

J. A. Mortensen, W. C. Adlerz and C. F. Balerdi'

The following is a compilation
of answers to questions that
have been asked frequently by
growers. Recently in Florida,
grapes have been grown mostly
by home gardeners. The ques-
tions that follow primarily re-
flect their need for basic infor-
mation in grape culture. The
answers are intended to provide
information on the best vari-
eties available and their culture.
1. Can bunch and muscadine
grapes be grown in Flor-
Answer: Lake Emera 1 d
(light green), Blue Lake
(blue), and Norris (large
purple) were developed for
adaptability to a warm,
humid climate and are
long-lived productive bunch
grapes in most areas in
Muscadine grapes are well
adapted to Florida, but
some varieties perform bet-
ter than others: Magoon,
Southland, Chief, Hunt (all
purple or dark) and Higgins
(pink) have done best at
this location. Other varie-
ties and selections such as
Magnolia (bronze) and
Chowan (bronze) are also
being tested.

2. Can Lake Emerald, Blue
Lake, Norris and musca-
dines be marketed?
Answer: Lake Emerald
does not keep well enough
for marketing, but from
home gardens it may be eat-
en directly or used for pan-
cake syrup, jelly or wine.
Blue Lake and Norris can
be marketed at roadside
stands and grocery stores
where the turnover is fairly
rapid. Blue Lake is better
for juice and jelly, while
Norris is better as a table
grape. Norris, with larger
clusters and berries than
Blue Lake, usually keeps
better as fresh fruit.
Muscadine grapes are
liked as fresh fruit and for
making juice, wines, jellies,
pies, sauces, and preserves.
Fruit for table use must be
hand-picked or, if shaken
from the vine, it should be
consumed soon after pick-
3. Should Lake Emerald, Blue
Lake, Norris and musca-
dines be grafted on a root-
Answer: Although some
improvement in bunch
grapes may result from

1 Assistant Geneticist, Associate Entomologist, and Assistant Horticulturist, Agricultural
Experiment Stations, Watermelon and Grape Investigation Laboratory, Leesburg.

grafting, all three varieties
perform well on their own
roots under most conditions.
Where grafting is done,
Lake Emerald or Dog Ridge
are recommended as root-
stocks for Florida bunch
grapes. Muscadines are
more difficult to graft, but
generally grow well on their
own roots and seldom re-
quire grafting.
4. Do Lake Emerald, Blue
Lake, Norris and musca-
dines require pollen from
other grapes or will they
bear fruit in isolated plant-
Answer: Lake Emerald and
Blue Lake are self-fertile
(receiving pollen from their
own flowers) and either
variety will fruit well grow-
ing alone. Norris, however,
is self-sterile and should
have vines of Blue Lake or
Lake Emerald nearby in
order to set fruit satisfac-
torily. Maximum fruit set
on Norris can be obtained
by growing a row of polli-
nator variety (Blue Lake
or Lake Emerald) every
third row in the vineyard.
For example, pollinator in
rows 2, 5, and 8, with Nor-
ris in rows 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and
9. For a smaller planting,
such as single row, use a
pollinator every third vine
in the row.
Most of the newer varie-
ties of muscadines do not

require pollinators. How-
ever, Scuppernong, Hunt,
Higgins, Topsail, Dulcet,
Creek and Thomas (among
others) require a pollinator.
Good pollinators are Ma-
goon, Southland, Bountiful,
Chief, Burgaw, Tarheel and
Wallace. Bees are recom-
mended to aid pollination of
female muscadine varieties.
Use the pollinator vine
every third plant in every
third row.
5. Will California grapes
(Thompson seedless, Em-
peror, Ribier, etc.) succeed
in Florida on a rootstock
such as Lake Emerald?
Answer: No. These grapes
are not adapted to this area.
The use of a well-adapted
rootstock will not make
them adapted.
6. Will the well-known north-
ern varieties (Concord, Ni-
agara, Fredonia) live and
produce satisfactorily when
Answer: Usually not. Some
of the varieties have been
grown for a few years with
intensive care, but basically
they are not well adapted
to this area.
7. Is there any likelihood of
better bunch grape and
muscadine varieties being
introduced that will thrive
under Florida conditions?
Answer: Yes. The Water-
melon and Grape Investiga-
tions Laboratory has an ac-

tive breeding program from
which new improved bunch
grape varieties should be
developed from time to
time. Lake Emerald, Blue
Lake and Norris were de-
veloped at this Laboratory.
Also varieties and ad-
vanced selections of musca-
dines developed by breeders
from other states are being
tested for growing in Flor-
8. Can a prospective grower
do anything to prepare for
new grape introductions?
Answer: Since Lake Emer-
ald is suitable for use as a
rootstock in Florida, a small
planting of this variety
might serve as the source of
wood for rapid rootstock in-
crease and thus shorten the
time necessary to bring any
newly-released variety into
full fruit production.
9. Can I get dependable re-
sults by growing grapes
from seeds?
Answer: No. One cannot
predict the kind of grape
that will grow from seed.
10. What method of propaga-
tion is recommended for
bunch and muscadine
Answer: Bunch grapes. -
Rooted grape nursery stock
customarily is produced
from cuttings made in Jan-
uary from 9- or 10-month
old wood. Canes used for
hardwood cuttings should

be about 12 inches long,
with 2 or more buds, pen-
cil-diameter or a little
larger, fairly straight, with
brown bark and green
wood. The bottom cut
should be just below the
lowest bud and the top cut
1 inch above another bud.
The cuttings should be tied
tightly in bundles of 50 or
less with the bottom ends
even. A cool, shady loca-
tion should be chosen for
the callusing bed. A trench
should be dug slightly
deeper than the length of
the cuttings. The bundles
should be placed in an in-
verted position in the
trench, the soil pulled
around them and packed
firmly. Additional soil
should be used to provide
about 3 inches of cover
over the entire bed. Cut-
tings placed in a bed of
this type will callus and
start roots in about 6 weeks.
A moist location or at
least one where watering
can be done should be
chosen for the nursery.
Nursery rows should be 4
or 5 feet apart and callused
cuttings should be lined out
about 9 inches apart in the
row. Cuttings must be set
right side up in the nursery
row. They should be set
with almost their entire
length covered with soil
and kept moist until they

are growing rapidly. Plants
will be ready for digging
the following winter.
Muscadines.-Layering is
the most common method
of propagating muscadines.
Peg a long cane on the
ground in June, leaving the
cane attached to the vine.
Make a slight cut at the
bottom of cane lying in the
soil to promote root produc-
tion and cover it with soil,
leaving the shoot tips ex-
posed. In the winter the
layers are uncovered and
rooted shoots are separated
from the mother cane.
Softwood cuttings (taken in
June or early July) can be
successfully grown if prop-
agated under mist. This
method is becoming very
popular among those having
a mist propagation bed.
11. What is the recommended
procedure for grafting
Answer: Some bunch
grape varieties are fre-
quently more productive
when grafted on a root-
stock. Although several
methods of grafting or bud-
ding are possible, the cleft
graft on 1-year old root-
stocks, made either in the
nursery or in the field, is
Grafting in central Flor-
ida should be done prefer-
ably about February 1. The
rootstock should be cut off

with a saw or sharp shears
at a smooth place between
nodes about 2 inches above
ground level. The stump, if
small, should be split with
a sharp knife; larger
stumps may be split with a
grafting tool or chisel.
The budwood for scions
should be chosen from the
healthy vines. A graft scion
should be 5 to 8 inches long
with 2 or more buds and
1/"-3/8" diameter. The por-
tion of the scion to be in-
serted in the cleft should be
cut carefully to a long, ta-
pering wedge, preferably
slightly thicker on one side.
The wedge cut should be
started just below the basal
bud on both sides. The scion
should be inserted carefully
into the cleft so that the
cambium on its thicker edge
and that of the stump coin-
cide. The pressure of a
large stump may hold a
scion securely; small
stumps should be tied firmly
with raffia or soft string
that will rot away after a
few weeks.
Grafts are mounded with
soil to prevent drying of the
scion. The graft should be
banked with clean, moist
soil up to the top bud of the
scion. During dry periods
watering will be necessary
about twice a week. A small
depression made in the top
of each mound will facilitate

watering. The grafted vine
should be trained to a single
shoot on a stout permanent
stake attached to the trellis
12. Are soil types and locations
important for grapes in
Answer: The promising
areas for grapes have a wide
range of soils, including
most of the soils suited to
citrus culture. Fine sands
and upland soils, especially
those with underlying clay
at about 3 feet, are ideal
for grapes.
Soils less adapted to viti-
culture are the white sands,
e. g., St. Lucie, Leon and
St. Johns. Immokalee fine
sand can be used if bedded
and irrigated. Hard red
clay, any poorly drained
soils, marl, peat, muck and
peaty muck are not rec-
Growers should avoid
planting grapes in pockets
having poor air drainage,
for late spring frosts may
destroy tender shoots and

13. Should land for grapes be
prepared ahead of time?
Answer: Yes, when pos-
sible. The preparational re-
quirements of sites for
grapes vary. Frequently a
summer cover crop of hairy
indigo is desirable to in-
crease the organic content
of the soil. Rye may be
planted in the early winter
and turned under before
grapevines are set. Dolo-
mite at 4 to 5 pounds per
10 x 10-foot area may be
desirable on new land if cal-
cium and magnesium are
limiting and soil is more
acid than pH 5.5.
14. In what direction should
rows be laid out?
Answer: North to south
where possible so that both
sides of the vine will get
sunlight at some time dur-
ing the day.
15. What spacings between
rows and plants are rec-
Answer: T h e following
spacings and resulting
vines per acre are most
commonly used:

Bunch grapes:
Between Plants Vines
rows in row per acre Variety
10 ft. 10 ft. 435 Lake Emerald or Blue Lake
10 ft. 9 ft. 485 Lake Emerald or Blue Lake
10 ft. 8 ft. 540 Norris
Between Plants Vines Variety
rows in row per row
15 ft. 15 ft. 193 For overhead trellis
10 ft. 20 ft. 217 For 2 or 3-wire vertical trellis
10 ft. 22 ft. 198 For 2 or 3-wire vertical trellis
12 ft. 20 ft. 181 For 2 or 3-wire vertical trellis

16. At what time in the year
should grape nursery vines
be transplanted to the vine-
yard rows?
Answer: Transplanting in
late dormancy is recom-
South Florida,
Central Florida,
North Florid a,
17. How should a grapevine be
Answer: Similarly to many
other perennials. Set the
young bunch grape plant at
the same depth that it was
growing in the nursery.
Deeper setting is required
for muscadines planted on
well-drained soil because of
their susceptibility to
18. Should compost or other
fertilizers be used when the
vine is set?
Answer: Use only 1/4 pound
steamed bonemeal around
the roots at time of plant-
ing. Wait until the young
plant has begun growing be-
fore applying other ferti-
19. Should a trellis be in place
before the vineyard is
Answer: It is desirable to
erect the trellis any time
prior to one month after
planting so that vines can
be trained the first season.

20. What type of trellis is rec-
ommended for Florida
bunch grape and muscadine
Answer: Bunch grapes.-A
wire trellis, using No. 9 or
No. 10 galvanized steel wire,
can be constructed on 7-foot
treated posts set 2 feet into
the ground. End posts
should be 8 feet long and
set 3 feet into the ground,
with bracing to carry the
heavy trellis load. Space
the posts to accommodate 3
or 4 vines between posts.
The bottom wire should be
2.5 feet above ground level
(stapled to the side of the
post), while the top wire
should be 5 feet above
ground level (stapled to the
top center of the post).
Where 4 to 8 vines are
planted and shade is de-
sired, an overhead arbor is
sometimes preferable to a
2-wire trellis.
Muscadines.-The 2 and
3-wire systems are the most
common vertical trellises.
For the 2-wire type set the
wires at heights of 2.5 and
5 feet and for the 3-wire
system set them at 2, 4 and
6 feet. Pruning the vines
on the 3-wire system is
more time consuming than
with the 2-wire system so
it should be used only on
limited plantings. The over-
head trellis with wires at 7-
foot height may be used

where shade is desired.
21. How are young plants
trained the first year?
Answer: Set a 5.5-foot
stake by each plant and
wire it permanently to the
top wire of the trellis. As
shoots begin to grow from
the set plant, select the
healthiest one and secure it
to the stake with raffia.
Remove all other shoots. As
the selected shoot grows, it
eventually becomes the
trunk of the vine. It is im-
portant to keep it growing
straight up the stake by (a)
tying with raffia often, and
(b) removing all lateral and
base sprouts often. Be sure
to leave at least one lateral
shoot to grow each way on
the bottom trellis wire.
When the shoot reaches the
top wire it should be cut
off so that laterals will grow
each way along the top wire.
22. When is dormant pruning
Answer: The approximate
periods for dormant prun-
ing in Florida are as
a. South Florida-January
b. Central Florida-Jan-
uary 15 to February 15
c. North Florida Febru-
ary 1 to March 10
"Bleeding" of grapevines is
not harmful if pruning is
done when vines are dor-
23. How should grape vines be

Answer: Bunch grapes. -
Vines that fail to reach the
top wire during the first
year should be pruned back
to two buds near the
ground. Vines that reach
the top wire during the
first year should be pruned
to a single cane of 3 to 5
buds along each wire in
each direction. After the
second year, leave four new
wood canes (one for each
direction on each wire) with
8 to 12 buds on each cane.
The older and more vigor-
ous the vine, the greater
the number of buds that
can be left on each cane at
pruning time. In addition
to the four canes, leave
short, 2 to 3-bud spurs near
the points of cane origin
(near the trunk) for re-
newal of canes the following
Muscadines. The spur
system is used in musca-
dines. Remove tendrils and
all shoots not needed for
spurs and fruiting arms.
Prune all the shoots that
are less than 3/16 inch in
diameter, leaving 3 to 5
buds per spur depending on
the diameter of the shoot.
Remove most of the spurs
located at the top of the
trunk in order to prevent
crowding and business,
which will interfere with
harvest. Renew arms that

are no longer vigorous.
24. What will happen if vines
are not pruned at all?
Answer: The number of
clusters will increase but
the size of both clusters
and berries will decrease so
that only stems and cull
berries are produced. The
length and width of the
vines will increase so that
they are difficult to harvest
or cultivate.
25. Wild vines grow luxuriantly
in trees or in the shade of
Can I follow this plan with
good results?
Answer: Only with wild
vines. Lake Emerald, Nor-
ris and Blue Lake must
have full sunlight to make
healthy, vigorous growth
and produce fruit. These
varieties should be planted
in a sunlit area away from
competition with trees and
26. What kind of fertilizer
should be used on grapes?
How much and at what
Answer: The pH and nutri-
ent status of the soil should
be determined by soil an-
alysis prior to planting.
Highly acid soils can be
brought to a more desirable
level (pH 6.0) by mixing
dolomitic limestone in the
soil at about 5 pounds per
100 square feet of area.
About 1/ pound steamed

bonemeal (mixed with soil
around the roots) should be
applied at planting time.
The first year apply 1/4
pound of 6-6-6 or 8-8-8,
with 20%-30% of the nitro-
gen from natural organic
sources, in two lateral bands
one foot away from the
plant soon after growth be-
gins. Repeat this applica-
tion in May, July and early
In the second year apply
2/3 pound of the same mix-
ture in February (late
March for muscadines),
May and just after harvest.
Rates can be progressively
increased in future years,
but do not exceed 4 to 6
pounds per vine per year.
Split applications are more
efficient than a single appli-
cation of the full amount.
Good weed control is essen-
tial to get maximum benefit
from fertilizers and irriga-
27. Should grapevines be
sprayed? If so, when and
with what?
Answer: A spray program
for grapes in Florida is ad-
visable to minimize fruit
losses. Spraying should be-
gin in the spring when buds
are about 2 inches long and
be continued at intervals of
10 days to 2 weeks until
berries have attained maxi-
mum size.
Manzate D, Dithane M-45,

or Dithane M-22 Special at
1.5 pounds per hundred gal-
lons of water are effective
fungicides for the control
of foliar diseases on grapes
in Florida. Small lots of
spray may be made up using
the fungicide at the rate of
1 tablespoon per gallon.
Make a slurry with a small
quantity of water before ad-
ding to the partially-filled
tank. Addition of a spread-
er material (e.g. Triton B-
1956) is desirable. Mid-
winter sprays of Tribasic
Copper Sulfate are recom-
mended for black rot con-

trol, and lime sulfur diluted
1 to 8 in water for anthrac-
nose. The latter is espe-
cially important with the
Norris variety.
Muscadines also need to
be sprayed in Florida if a
good crop of quality grapes
is desired. Black rot and
bitter rot can cause large
losses if vines are un-
sprayed. Follow the same
spray program recom-
mended for bunch grapes,
omitting lime-sulfur spray.
Recommended insecticide
and rates are shown in the
following table:

Amount Days before
Material Formulation per gallon harvest*
Malathion 55%-57% liquid concentrate 2 teaspoons 3
25% wettable powder 4 tablespoons 3
DDT 50% wettable powder 2 tablespoons 40
Sevin 50% wettable powder 2 tablespoons 0
*Do not apply after this time.

Any of the above may be
used for caterpillars and
leafhoppers. DDT is recom-
mended for flea beetles and
malathion for aphids.
Stickers should not be used
with DDT after the buck-
shot stage.

28. What type of cultivation is
required in a grape plant-
Answer: The feeder roots
of grapes are located near
the surface. Therefore,
shallow cultivation with a
disk harrow, Acme harrow,

sweeps, or rotavator is rec-
ommended. Hoes and rakes
are satisfactory for cultiva-
tion in small arbors. A
mulch of black plastic over
the soil surface under the
vines will enhance vigor
and aid weed control.
In young vineyards clean
cultivation throughout the
year is recommended. In
established vineyards no
cultivation is needed from
fruit harvest to December,
during which period a cover
crop is desirable. Hairy in-
digo (Indigofera hirsuta L.)
is satisfactory in central
Florida. In late fall the
planting should be cleaned
up by disking or shallow
There are approved herbi-
cides that can be used in the
vineyard for weed control.
Hoe all weeds in mid-March.
Apply 2 level teaspoons of
Karmex or Simazine 80W in
one gallon of water to a 100-
square foot area. Treat a
band 2 feet on each side of
the vine. Do not apply to
vines under 3 years old.
This application may be de-
layed until late May by
hand hoeing weeds prior to
this period. Be exact in
your measurements. READ
THE LABEL. See precau-
tionary statement at the
end of question 27.
29. What can be done to protect
grapes from birds and other

Answer: Stretching nylon
netting (1" mesh) over the
vines during the time of
fruit ripening, or attaching
baby chick wire to a frame-
work enclosing the vines
are means of excluding
birds from the vines. In-
dividual clusters may be en-
closed in brown paper bags,
cheesecloth bags, or in en-
velopes made of screen wire.
A 3-foot fence around the
perimeter of the vineyard
with a live wire at the top
will exclude four-footed
Scare devices such as
acetylene bombs, a string of
fire crackers on a slow-burn-
ing fuse, tin can lids sus-
pended on strings, or
brightly colored plastic pro-
pellers that rotate when the
wind blows may scare some
birds, but are generally not
effective on mockingbirds.
Extermination by shoot-
ing, poisoning and trapping
can be effective, but federal,
state and local laws should
be understood. Pests such
as rats, racoons and rabbits
can be eliminated by poison
bait placed in the vicinity
of the damage.
30. Where can I find more in-
formation about grapes?
Answer: The following are
for sale by the Supt. of Doc-
uments, U. S. Govt. Print-
ing Office, Washington,

D. C. 20402:
1. "Growing American
Bunch Grapes," 1959,
U.S.D.A. Farmers Bul-
letin 2123.
2. "Control of Grape Dis-
eases and Insects in the

Eastern United States,"
1961, U.S.D.A. Farmers
Bulletin 1893.
3. "Muscadine Grapes, a
Fruit for the South."
1961. U.S.D.A. Farm-
ers Bulletin 2157.

(Acts of May 8 and June 30. 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director