How to grow grapes in Western Australia
Growing grapes in the backyard is an awesome idea if you have the space! Grape vines are one of the best fruit trees to grow in Perth because of our Mediterranean conditions which allow them to thrive. Having a plentiful harvest of fresh home grown grapes is a massive treat.
If you have ever wondered how to grow grapes in Perth then look no further. Grapes can be a challenging plant to grow, but there are still a few tricks to successfully growing grapes in Perth, Western Australia. Get these right and you will be laughing.
When to plant grapes:
The best time to plant grapes is in spring. In spring you can avoid some of Perth’s very hot summer, plant in October or November so that your vines begin to establish before the heat arrives.
How to prune grape vines in Australia:
Pruning grapevines is simple. It is possible to prune all grapes the same way, both wine grapes and table grape varieties. Ideally the finished vine should look like a letter ‘T’. To do this follow these simple steps.
- Pick the three healthiest appearing canes on your vine and remove all other canes back to the ‘trunk’ of the vine.
- With the first of the three canes, count the spurs up to ten and prune the rest off.
- Tie the cane along the training wire.
- Do exactly the same with another cane, tying to the wire in the opposite direction. (The other cane is the fallback cane in case one of the canes snaps when it is tied to the wire).
- If both canes have been successfully pruned and tied to the training wires, then cut the spare cane off.
How often to water grapes in Perth:
In the Perth region, regular watering of vines is required from early November to late March in most seasons. Applying mulch will help retain moisture in the soil during summer months.
How big do grape vines grow:
Grape vines are long-lived in most cases, which require strong support structure to grow up and long. They can grow up to 4m tall and wide, so ensure you have plenty of room.
How to grow grapes:
Growing grapes in the backyard is really quiet simple.
- Choose a full sun location with well-drained soil and a strong support structure, such as a trellis. Enrich the soil with a quality dynamic lifter and plant fertiliser. If the soil is clay based fork in some gypsum.
- Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the vine from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any tangled roots.
- Position your grape vine in the hole and back-fill with soil, gently firming down the top-soil. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant’s root zone. This helps keep water where it’s needed at the base of the vine. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes itself.
- Mulch around the base with organic mulch like straw or wood chips, keeping it away from touching the actual vine base.
- Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. While grapes are drought tolerant once established, they will benefit from regular watering during flowering and fruiting periods.
- Ensure the vine is well watered during Perth’s hot spring and summer and feed every 6-8 weeks with a dynamic lifter to encourage healthy leaf and stem growth. Early training and regular pruning will help maximise your grape harvest.
How to grow grapes in pots:
Growing grapes in a pot is a great idea. This means you can grow your own grapes in almost any size garden or balcony. Grapes can be grown in large pots as long as there is a strong support structure, such as a fence that they can grow over.
- Choose a pot at least 60cm wide. Position in full sun and partially fill with quality potting mix.
- Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any tangled roots.
- Position in pot and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
- Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
- Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. While grapes are drought tolerant once established, they will benefit from regular watering during flowering and fruiting.
- Ensure the vine is well watered during spring and summer and feed every 6-8 weeks with a dynamic lifer to encourage healthy leaf and stem growth.
- Early training and regular pruning will help maximise the harvest of quality grapes as the vine focuses its efforts.
Can you grow grapes from cuttings?
Yes, grapes are one of the easiest plants to propagate, and they will easily root from either hardwood or softwood cuttings. All you need is a piece of grapevine, trimmed to include viable buds which is around 10 cm in length.
When to fertilise grapes in Perth:
Applying mulch will help retain moisture in the soil during the hot Perth summer months.
Mature grape vines require around 500g of NPK fertiliser with trace elements each season. This should be applied as a 350g dressing at the start of budburst and a 150g dressing four weeks after this.
Grape vine problems:
Powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis bunch rot are considered to be the top three disease concerns for West Australian vineyards. It’s important to get on top of these three problems as quickly as possible.
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