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Winterizing grape vines - is it actually needed?

 
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I planted several grape vines this year; my first grape vines ever.

I live in USDA zone 6A, meaning potentially down to -10°F on the worst night of the year. After 10 years, the worst I noticed was -4°F, but let us assume -10°F.

What winter protection doth I actually need for my vines?

I'm growing them up an arbor I built for them (4 ft wide, 7 ft tall, 40 ft long). I was hoping to grow them up the arbor and keep them up their, let them thicken into trees. (I'd prune it, and control the spurs for proper grape protection, but it'd have a single trunk).

I see online everyone saying to lay the vine down and bury it. That seems only realistic for the first year. Surely it'd thicken and get stiffer with each passing year - how do people lay it down each year?

I really really don't want to take it down from the arbor each year, only to train it up again. Is that really necessary?

(most my grapes are American table grape species, so they should be hardier than European varieties, I think)
 
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I grow grapes from USDA Zone 6a to 4b. I don't do any winterizing of them. Not all varieties are winter-hardy in all zones. Some varieties die the first winter. I don't weep over them, I just try different varieties next time.

For example, the local big-box store sells Thompson Seedless Grapes here. They are only hardy into zone 7.
 
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Congrats on planting some grapes! They've become one of my favorite plants to grow.

I don't think you'll have too many problems with cold hardiness for the American grape varieties, as most of the varieties should be cold hardy to your zone. This webpage has some good info on a lot of different American varieties and their cold hardiness, and all of the American varieties are listed as cold hardy to at least -10 degrees F.

http://bunchgrapes.com/grape_varieties.html

It's interesting how the seeded varieties are generally more cold hardy than the seedless varieties. The seeded ones also seem to be more vigorous growers from what I've seen. I'm starting to prefer the seeded varieties over the seedless varieties. I love how they aren't a genetic dead end like the seedless varieties, and the seeds can be planted to create new and better adapted varieties. Did I mention the flavor seems to be better too!

I do similar to how Joseph mentioned, as I just let the vines die if they can't survive on their own in my climate, mostly due to heat and humidity or disease here in my climate. If it isn't adapted to my area, I'd rather just grow another variety that will be vigorous, tough, and productive with little input, than spend a whole lot of time and energy trying to baby it along. Then I have time to plant even more varieties!
 
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Thanks Joseph & Steve - I definitely don't want to pamper them, and want them to be low-maintenance.

Thanks also for sharing that hardiness graph - it looks like the grapes I planted are hardy enough, except for one Crimson Seedless:

Plant speciesSeason plantedEstimated years to fruitSupplierFruiting seasonHardiness
Somerset Seedless (Red, table)Spring, 20202-4StarkbrosAugustHardy -30°F
Somerset Seedless (Red, table)Spring, 20202-4StarkbrosAugustHardy -30°F
Lakemont Seedless (Green, table)Summer, 20202-4StarkbrosLate AugustHardy -15°F
Lakemont Seedless (Green, table)Summer, 20202-4StarkbrosLate AugustHardy -15°F
Saint Theresa Seedless (Purple, table)Summer, 20202-4StarkbrosEarly SeptemberHardy -30°F
T210A Crimson Seedless (Red, table)Summer, 20202-4eBayOctoberNot Hardy, only 0°F (USDA 7)
Golden Muscat (Green, wine or table, seeded)Fall, 20202-4StarkbrosEarly SeptemberHardy -15°F

What I'll do is just wrap the base of the vines with some plastic (around a cage, so the plastic isn't actually touching) to add a tiny amount of protection, but just for the first year. After that, they can sink or swim on their own.

Well, I guess that answered my question well - thanks again, gents.


I need to get an earlier grape in there as well - something that fruits in July would be great, but I'm having difficulty finding species that fruit that early.
 
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