Planting of Grapes
Wine Grape Growing in South Africa

© Johannes Mellet Wineland
Soak rootstocks in water for 24 hours before planting.

Grapevines are usually planted by the end of winter during July and August. In areas where late frost occurs or when soil is very wet after the winter rains, it must be planted later. If possible, the poles and wires for the trellis system must already be established. Vines are collected from the nursery at a certain time and should be kept cool and moist to prevent drying out. It can be kept under moist sand in the shade of a building or in a cold storage unit. It is extremely important that the vines are handled properly before planting.

It is a good practice to leave the vines for a day in water to absorb moisture before it is planted. Limited quantities of the vines are taken to the vineyard to be planted while the rest is stored under wet conditions or in water. If the roots and shoots are very long, they can be shortened slightly. Planting holes of about 30 x 30 cm wide and at least 30 cm deep are dug into soil that is preferably moist and loose. If necessary, compact surfaces can be loosened with a fork to promote root intrusion.

A good quality thoroughly composted humus-rich plant material or compost is added in the hole to increase the organic matter content of the soil and establish soil microbes. The vines should be planted with the graft union about 5 cm above the ground surface and the roots pointing downwards and spread out. Roots should not all point in one direction - so-called J-roots.

After this, the planting hole is half filled with loose soil and gently tamped, further filled up and gently tamped again. After the vines have been planted, they must be well watered so that the soil can cover the roots properly.

By Vinpro