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The grape, as a rule, withstands drought very well, several species
growing wild on the desert's edge. Even in the semi-arid regions of
the far West, where other fruits must always be irrigated, the grape
often grows well without artificial watering. Irrigation is practiced
in vineyards in the United States only on the Pacific slope and here
the practice is not as general as with other fruit crops. Whether the
grape shall be grown under irrigation or not is a local and often an
individual question answered with regard to several conditions; as the
local rainfall, the depth and character of the soil, the cost of water
and ease of irrigation. These conditions are all correlated and make
about the most complex and difficult problem the growers of grapes in
semi-arid regions have to solve. As long, however, as the grape-grower
can grow fairly vigorous vines and harvest a fairly bountiful crop by
natural rainfall, he should not irrigate; for, even though the crop
offsets the cost, there are several objections to growing grapes under
irrigation. The vines are subject to more diseases and physiological
troubles; the fruit is said to lack aroma and flavor; grapes grown on
irrigated land do not stand shipment well, the unduly inflated grapes
often bursting; wine-makers do not like irrigated grapes as well as
those from non-irrigated lands; and watery grapes from irrigated lands
make inferior raisins. It is maintained, however, with a show of
reason, that grapes suffer in irrigated vineyards in the ways set
forth only when the vines are over-or improperly irrigated.

Next: Fertilizers For Grapes

Previous: Tillage

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