Selecting And Preparing The Vines

Young grape vines covet life, for they are usually vigorous and not

easily injured. Hence, the plants may be brought from a distance

without fear of loss. The local nurseryman is, however, a good adviser

as to varieties if he is honest and intelligent, and, other things

equal, he should be patronized. But if the grower's needs cannot be

met at home, he should not hesitate to seek a nurseryman at a

distance. This is more necessary with the grape than other fruits

because young grapes are well and cheaply grown in certain localities

only. With the grape, as with all fruit plants, it is much better to

buy from the grower than from tree peddlers.

Selecting vines.

Unless the buyer knows what he wants, selecting vines is gambling pure

and simple. Fortunately, there are several marks of good vines very

helpful to those who know them. One should first make sure that the

roots and tops are alive to the remotest parts. The vines should have

a good clean, healthy look with trunk diameter large enough to

indicate vigorous growth, and an ample spread of roots. Large size is

not as desirable as firm, well-matured wood and an abundance of roots.

Vines with internodes of medium length for the variety are better than

those with great length or very short internodes. Such precautions as

are possible should be taken to insure varieties true to name,

although here the reputation of the nurseryman must be depended on

except for the few varieties which may be known at sight in the


First-grade one-year-old vines are usually better than two-year-olds.

Stunted vines are not worth planting and two-year-old vines are often

stunted one-year-olds. A few weak-growing varieties gain in vigor if

allowed to remain in the nursery two years--three years, never.

Handling and preparing the vines.

The better vines are packed, transported and cared for in the field,

the quicker will the roots take hold and the vines make the vigorous

start on which so much depends. The nurseryman should be requested not

to prune much before packing and to pack the vines well for shipping.

The vines should be heeled-in as soon as they reach their destination.

If the vines are dry on arrival, they should be drenched well before

heeling-in. It sometimes happens that the vines are shriveled and

shrunken from excessive drying, in which case the plants often may be

brought back to plumpness by burying them root and branch in damp

earth, to remain a week or possibly two. To heel-in, a trench should

be double furrowed in light, moist soil, the vines spread out in the

trench two or three deep, and then earth shoveled over the roots and

half the tops, sifting it in the roots, after which the soil is

firmed. The vines may thus be kept in good condition for several weeks

if need arises.

The vines are prepared for planting by cutting away all dead or

injured roots and shortening-in the healthy roots. Grape roots can be

cut severely if healthy stubs remain, the removal of small roots and

fibers doing no harm, since fibers are of value only as indicating

that the vine is strong and vigorous. Fresh fibers come quickly from

stout, healthy roots. Most of the fibers of a transplanted vine die,

and laying them out in the hole to preserve them, as is so often

recommended, is but a useless burial rite. On good healthy vines, the

stubs of the roots, when cut back, will be four to eight inches in

length. The root system having been considerably pruned, the

reciprocity between roots and tops must be taken into account and the

top pruned accordingly. To reduce the work of the leaves to harmonize

with the activities of the roots, the top should be pruned to a single

cane and two, never more than three, buds. The vine is now ready for

planting and, the soil being in readiness, planting should proceed


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