this is long, but at least i try to
be amusing. :) if you consider
stepping on a rake and getting
bonked in the head amusing...
zone 5, 1 vine, concord grapes, flat,
windy, full sun, plenty of moisture
through the spring (that is probably
the biggest trouble i have with the
it's about 20 ft from an east
drainage ditch which runs all year.
and about 5 feet from another
trench that i just finished digging
the River Nile (the south drainage
ditch) down another foot and a half
(and widened it too) so that will help
keep that whole area a bit drier. that
is about 3 feet deep from the level
that the vine is at.
i cannot ammend the soil or build
it up more as this is an established vine
(well i could probably drill some holes
and ammend that ways, but it would
take years to make much difference)
i think taking the drainage down
another foot and a half will do as much.
in the past the vine was left in a
heap on the ground, it was run over
by a truck, mowed, and otherwise
ignored. it grew fine and even had
nice fruit in bunches without rot. not
a ton of fruit, but no troubles with
then the formal gardens came in,
and i thought a nice arbor to climb
would be nice for it and all was good.
except it wasn't.
the surrounding area was covered
with black plastic (to keep down weeds)
and then the black plastic was covered
with slats of wood to hold down the black
plastic (not my idea, i hate plastic mulch).
the formal gardens also had plants added,
some which brought and harbor rust and
black spot fungal diseases. mulch, hollyhocks,
roses, and rhubarb, which i thought didn't
have troubles, but sometimes it gets spots
of rust on it. only noticed it last year and
then the black rot started taking out all
the grapes. most of them started turning
purple/brown and falling off before
summer would be through. i think that
came in heavy when we tried to get roses
to grow in the clay (and used wood chips
to mulch them). the roses are gone, the
fungus just jumped ships (or chips to be
i thought that perhaps the black plastic
and wood slats were harboring the fungus
spores from one year to the next. so last
fall we took all that up and i buried the
wood (which was heavily rotted anyways)
and we threw away the black plastic (as
it was heavily rotted too from sun
exposure). and we stirred the dirt some
to get at some of the weeds (raspberries
and horsetail) so that gave the sun, cold,
etc. a full fall/winter/spring to kill off the
spores, but i figured there would still be
some. i didn't spray the vine. i probably
except this is clay, so the spores are
probably quite happy there for a while
only reading later (after it had already
started growing out this spring) did i see
that i probably should have sprayed it
when the leaves were done and off.
i pruned it severely as usual.
sure enough this spring was wet and
long, we also had a late frost which left
some dead leaves on the plant, the black
rot came back a little, but i was hoping
that the sun and air would take care of
it as soon as it got hotter. well it isn't
as bad as it could be -- it is still there.
now along with it i have the remains
of brown spotted leaves. this is a new
today i went out and removed as much
of the black rot and the spotted brown
leaves/stems as i could. there is enough
healthy other leaves and it will have plenty
of time to put on more growth (i probably
removed half the mass of the plant -- it
is a very healthy vine otherwise -- it really
wants to produce and always sets a heavy
crop but then i lose most of it). i thinned
out the heavy areas to let more light and
air get through and then i sprayed it as
best i could with bordeaux mix (copper
sulphate and calcium hydroxide) to knock
the fungus back. we are due for some
rain and my reading says that this is a good
time to apply (you'd think not because the
rain will wash some of it off but it will at
least help keep some of the fungus from
getting going again in the new moisture).
and it has been higher humidity lately, so
i suspect that is not going to help.
the good news is that there is plenty of
leaves that have no sign of rot of any kind,
so i think i may get some fruit to ripen.
ok, all that history and finally some
i'm still getting flowers on it (this has been
a crazy weather year that is for sure) will
there be enough time for them to ripen?
our first frost date here is probably around
mid Sept to early Oct. or should i prune
i imagine i will have to keep spraying
fungicides on it until the spores finally
burn out in the surrounding area (and
those on the plant itself which are in
the crooks of the branches and the bark).
am i in for years or will things ease off
next year if i spray more this season and
once the leaves fall off again?
i'm hoping to keep the spraying to
the elementals (copper sulphate, dusting
sulfur, etc) and spot trim what i can out
if it seems to stay local. should i spray
the surrounding grassy areas and along
the ditch too? that seems excessive, but
there are wild grapes growing there (quite
happily it seems as i have to keep fighting
them off). it seems rather intense to spray
so much but i'd like to be able to actually
get more than a few bunches from this
i may have lost the war this season by
starting spraying too late, but i hope it
will at least help knock it back for next
year and beyond.
also, i'm getting some fading in
some of the leaves, there is no
curl or other signs of trouble, but
i'm thinking that it is a natural
reaction to having the black plastic
removed and having a large
part of the root system suddenly
having to deal with a whole different
environment (hotter and dryer since
it is now exposed to the sun) and it
will have to figure it out. if we get
no rain tonight i will have to water
it good tomorrow...
sound reasonable as a conclusion?
another idea was to plant a
new vine of something more
resistant to fungal problems, but
i'd be planting it in the same
location and there would be an
overlap -- it would have to be
resistant enough to overcome the
already problematic area. i don't
think that would work, but i consider
that the remote approach if spraying
for a few years and keeping a closer
eye on things doesn't help matters.
anything else obvious i'm not
seeing here (besides giving up on this
vine completely?). i can't really
start over some other place on the
property with the current layout.
thanks for your insights, heckles
or otherwise random comments. :)
if you managed to make it all the
way through that without wanting to
take a nap congratulations! you must
be a gardener... :)
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . huh?
I'm gonna have to read this again but my first take is that you need to
trim this down to less than 24 buds (that should have been done in
February/March). Strike that. Where you are, I'd go for 12 buds (for
this year). This vine seems to have some game, I'd hate to see it
whacked unnecessarily. The less fruit, the earlier the fruit will ripen.
Even if it doesn't, the vine will be back producing fruit, even if it
Concord is native American, so it will be used to your conditions.
You've sulfured it. Drop excess crop (clip off clusters). Cut tops and
sides (6' X 3') to let sun and wind in to dry the leaves, and then let
it do its thing. Catch it early next year and do it right. Prune while
it is dormant. Spray with a fungicide. Leave 24 buds (for wine, or more
if they are to be eaten fresh), cross your fingers, and it should all
work out. This can also be run up an arbor over an al fresco dinning
area for summer use (typical northern Italian style).
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
I'm not a vineyardist. I see grapes after they are harvested.
With that said,
Depending on the amount of wind, flapping leaves can break the skin of
the grape, allowing for a point of infection. Any chance of a wind break?
What is the problem? Your vine sounds vigorous.
How wet is the soil?
Concords are pretty durable.
What kind of amendments do you want to add?
If the garden is a source of fungal problems, then it needs to be
removed or sprayed.
Should be pruned before bud break.
Probably need to reapply every 10 to 14 days, if you have rain.
You making wine or eating as fresh fruit? You are border line for wine.
Keep spraying. If mold gets into the flowers, the grapes will rot from
the inside out.
It should abate, but need to spray is in the spring befor bud break.
Concords are very sensitive to sulfur.
I'd spray the ornamentals that you think are the source of the fungus.
Gardeners always plan for next year ;O)
Seems that it would have been hotter and drier under black plastic.
Black plastic is used for solarization, and keeps the rain out.
?You dug channels to dry out the soil, and now you are watering it?
Unless there is something that I am missing, I'd say don't water it.
Concords are already, pretty resistant.
You may want to browse through
Some don't seem too bad, except for fish, so I'd worry a little about
your system of canals.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
i enjoy intelligent(etc hee) written
conversations with random strangers
(thus internet :) ).
no, i don't think it is that kind of
trouble, i think that would leave
a raised scar on the grape itself
and in most cases when the rot
happens it just turns color (greyish
brown) and then drops off. often
it spreads to surrounding grapes
too if i don't catch it early enough.
it is very strange that i can have
some grapes infected and others
right next to them left alone and
eventually they ripen (and then
i have to fend off the raccoons
and birds to get them for me but
i have a net for that).
it is, it grows great. until the
fungus gets it.
all spring it is very wet unless we
have a very rare dry spring. during
the winter that area is sometimes
heavily wet too because of the snow
and runoff from the neighboring
if you look at this pic you see the drainage
ditch is full and that is the River Nile that
i dug another foot and a half down and
widened (last week). the River Nile
runs right past the grape vine another
30 feet back from the top left corner
of the picture, but the grape vine is up
a bit from grade or the water level (it
would flood the entire back area and
formal gardens if it were to actually
flood the grape).
it would only be to raise the entire area
further to get it higher above grade. so
i would be adding sandy loam and any
random organics mixed in, but it would
have to be gradual as i don't want to
disturb the root zone faster than the
grape can acclimate. i would in fact
like to raise the entire formal enclosed
garden area, but that isn't going to
happen and so instead i am raising
selected beds and installing better
drainage for the pathways as i work
on different areas. it is a work in
progress as we change from all
perennials/ornamentals to growing
more fruits and veggies.
removed is impossible. it's 100ft by 60ft
(approx -- i should measure it some day :) )
and the perennials already in place are
there to stay (within some reason :) ). i can
spray, but it is a large area, so i'm not sure
yet what my radius will have to be. i'm
exploring my options (thus the original
post :) ). also there is the ditch which
is mixed grasses/weeds and that cannot
be moved, but i can spray whatever looks
to be hosting the black rot and brown spot
if i can see it.
next year! :)
i prune it twice, the fall pruning was
to get as much of the remaining left over
twigs and bunch twigs (don't know what
else to call these but they are what is
left after all the grapes have fallen off) or
any trapped and bunched up leaves removed
to make sure there aren't places for
harboring fungus spores... also this fall
pruning is an initial idea of what shape i
want to work towards for the following
growing season, but i know i will lose some
more to the winter cold so it is not a final
pruning. i prune again in the spring once
or twice. this year i pruned twice (once
before budding to delay it as much as i
could). the second pruning was after the
frost damage to get some of the dead
stuff off, but i didn't get it all...
:) it just started raining. finally.
that is perhaps the problem here
is that the remaining spores are
still plentiful enough that the bunches
are going to rot no matter what.
we'll see what happens. :)
the grapes are for eating (i love
'em fresh) and for jam making. not
yeah, next year's agenda contains this item.
we shall see how this first round goes
and then evaluate for the next round.
i'm always thinking in layers. :)
the entire yard is full of them,
so i'm not going to be able to
do that. i'm going to have to
narrow it down better and do
more observing. we've removed
and replaced some of the source
of the black rot by removing the
wood and the plastic mulch, but
i'm suspecting it will be a few years
before it drops off.
i'm also considering other
types of spraying (compost
tea) to help get more beneficial
organism in the problematic
areas to help fight off the fungal
spores (or at least make it harder
for them to propagate). i know
there will always be fungus and
such around and in fact i'm quite
happy knowing it is around and
doing what it should be doing
just not on my grapes. :)
heh, i'm actually always daydreaming
about what i'd like to do if i were king.
instead i am just a helper and can
make "recommendations" to the
management. sometimes i get listened to
and other times i am overruled and must
it had plenty of holes in it and was mostly covered
with slats of wood (i buried about 2 cu yds of mostly
the digging is to aid the rest of the surrounding
area (see that pic) and the grapes are near the
SE corner where the two ditches meet. it is a
little higher there so the channel goes past it.
the channel is about 100ft long. without that
channel (and the one next to the farm field
and the wall i built up there with some dirt)
the formal gardens would really be under water
even more in the spring than they already are.
the picture is showing the spot that is right
next to the SW corner of the enclosed formal
gardens (where we have our veggies and
bulbs and other things that the deer and
rabbits would otherwise eat).
supposedly, but it's been 15 years or
so since this vine was planted and perhaps
there is now a better version available...
thanks, i'm taking a look at that now.
ok, yes it looks like it is Black Rot
(both the brown spots on the leaves
and the way the berries deteriorate).
it doesn't look like it is anything
else (not Bunch Rot - i.e. Botrytis).
re: stupidity on my part (learning...)
it looks like my spraying will not
have helped the situation as much
as i'd hoped. i probably will get
more help from the trimming off
the infected leaves which will
reduce the continued spread from
rain splashes. spraying something
more effective (now that i have a
good chart) might happen later, but
i will wait to see if it's indicated further
by more spots.
one of my general qualms with doing more
drainage here is that i like having some areas
that collect and soak up the rainwater to help
offset whatever we are pulling out of the ground
via the well and also because we have a septic
field i want some water going in the ground
between that and the well. even if we are
down plenty deep i still like the idea of
replacing whatever we are using on the
general principle of the matter.
we aren't really in any danger of the ground
going dry here (the ditch runs almost the entire
summer no matter how dry it gets) and the
neighbor behind us has a large pond so i
think we're fine, i just like to put some
clean water back in the ground to counteract
whatever the farmers are doing all around
us. it's just a drop in the bucket, but...
adding more drainage to the River Nile
wasn't what i wanted to do (it's the low
area where the well is sited), but the
formal gardens, pathways and the
decorated clear areas (with the limestone
gravel) get too weedy when the water
runs over it from the South farm field.
and i don't want the enclosed gardens
flooded any more if i can help it too.
when i get the chance i raise them up
higher and improve the pathway
drainage, but it's patchwork at best.
a proper site plan before the gardens
were put in could have avoided a ton
of problems (and many hours of digging
and redoing), but they really didn't plan
on gardening, but once Ma got going... :)
i guess it's more challenging this way.
well, ok, thanks for listening and
replying, i'm continuing to learn here,
when i grew grapes last time i didn't have
any of this sort of trouble. south facing
sandy loam there and no ditches within
100ft. i had four vines which produced
nicely until they were cut back too far (i
was away at college) and then the place
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