Grapes are not a difficult crop to grow, but they do require a lot of attention in the first few months of growth. Between ensuring that the roots are well-drained and training the plants on trellises, growing grapes can be time-consuming, though rewarding in the end. In Alabama, it is important to consider the soil type and climate when growing grape plants.
Things You'll Need
- pH Soil testers
- Grape root stock
Choose a sunny, sloped area with well-drained soil. Grapes need full sun and do well on rocky slopes. Alabama has high average temperatures during the spring, so you do not need to worry about frostbite or frozen soil.
Test the pH of your desired area with a pH soil test kit. The pH should ideally be between 6.0 and 7.2, but it can be between 5.5 and 7.8.
Add organic matter to the soil if it does not have good drainage. Clay-like soil definitely needs this. Alabama has a lot of rainfall and several large storms every year, so making sure the soil drains is even more important.
Thoroughly weed the area in which you want to plant. This makes post-planting weed control much more manageable.
Buy grape root stock and plant it immediately in the spring. Each plant should be 8 to 10 feet apart.
Set up trellises for the young plants. There should be a center piece for the main stalk and wires or a wooden grid for the smaller tendrils.
Attach the main stalk to the trellis with string, if needed. It is important to get the young plants on the trellises as quickly as possible, but they may only need to be moved gently into place.
Keep the plants well-watered for the first month and be vigilant about pest control. This may involve netting the plants to keep birds out, and use of pesticides or fungicides.
Prune in late February or early March. This ensures that you will get plenty of high-quality fruit from your plants. Trim off any shoots that are growing out to the side as well as any dead parts of the plant.
Tips & Warnings
- Do not allow a young vine to produce grapes. This will only hurt the plant and its fruit production down the road.
- Photo Credit grape picking image by Tomasz Pawlowski from Fotolia.com