Growing Grapes in Texas Jim Kamas Central Texas Gardener
I love Tait Moring's sense ofgardening style. Thanks so much for opening your gates for us. Right now we're going to talk aboutgrowing grapes. One of the hottest topics here in Texas because of all the wineries. We have Jim Kamas with us. It's great to have you back on theprogram. Welcome. Thanks, Tom, I appreciate it. Welcome back to Central Texas Gardener. You've just published a great new bookGrowing Grapes in Texas.
Congratulations on that! Thanks a lot. It took a couple years to get done, but I'm I'm pretty happy with it. Well you know, like I said, it's a hottopic. A lot of people are very interested in growing grapes in their backyard. Maybe one ofthose famous table grapes, like Concord or something like that. Well Concord ispretty tough to grow here. Concord likes acid soils which we don'thave. And it's much more adapted a cooler climates. If you wanted to grow Fredonia or some of the other lebrusca types, they'll work, but
Concord is a pretty tough one to grow here. Ok, well your book is filled with tips aboutvarieties and things like that. Let's focus on that home grower. You know , I know for example I go out to hillcountry every now and again to go to Fredericksburg, places around there. And I see wineries springing up like mushrooms now. And it kinda makes me wanna grow grapeshere in town. What does a home gardner need to know to get startedé Well if you're a homeowner and you want to grow enough vines to produce a little bit of wine
my advice is plant what you like. If you're planting a commercial vineyards we're going to have a very different discussion. But if you like Merlot, plant Merlot. If you like Syrah, plant Syrah. For smallscale, you have no big economicinvestment, so plant what you like and go with that. Yeah okay, that makes sense. In terms of the space needs, the sun,
all those kinds of things, grapes arerather particular and disease prone. Yes. So let's give people an idea of whatthe basics are that they would need to have any kind of success. Sure. Commercially our rows are spaced nine to ten feet apart, but in the backyard if you are maintaining the row centers with alawnmower or something, you can place the rows as close as six feet apart.And you can also go as tight as five to six feet between vines. You can put a lot of vines in arelatively small space.
So small space is OK. When we talk about the rows, we are talking about providing structures on which the the vines can grow and supportthemselves. Yes, a lot of times in California you'll see these free standing vines that are called head pruned vines. They don't do very well here because we need to keep our vines up off the ground because it rains here duringthe summer and they are very disease prone as you mentioned.
Pruning a TwoYear Old Peach Tree
Moving on to older trees, these trees havebeen in the ground for two years and are starting their third growing season. We start our trainingand pruning. Look at the center of the tree. The first thing we must do is identify ourprimary scaffold branches. We have one, two, three, and four. If you want to maintain thisscaffold branch growth out at approximately a fortyfive degree angle, so they can toleratefruit crop load. The first thing we'll do is identify this scaffold branch that'scoming out right here. So, we want to get rid of competition using loppers. And you'llnotice that as we're using larger trees we use, are using loppers now. Loppers, thesehave thirtytwo inch handles. Again they are
bypass pruners similar to our hand shearsthat we were using, but they allow us to cut larger growth within the tree. So, as we lookat the scaffold branch coming out, we're maintaining the fortyfive degree angle. We'llcome in and head this one an outward growing bud. Again, we've made that heading cutto stiffen this branch to tower a fruit load as well as to encourage more branching backin here in which you will have the fruit in coming years. We'll get rid of growth that'sgrowing on the bottom of this branch that will be shaded. So we would cut the underneathbranch we cut out. Anything growing on top of the branch we'll also eliminate thatwill be shading other growth. Branches coming
out we maintain from the side here to be fruitywith. We'll maintain them. With your odd branch, we'll cut them back by about a thirdas well, so that we can maintain the fruit load on these stiffened branches. Okay, thisscaffold branch coming out as well. We have a heading cut that was made there. We havethree very vigorous branches at the tip. We will select that down to one with the branchgrowing in the orientation in the direction that we would want. So, we eliminate the competitionthere. Growth growing underneath we'll get rid of that will be shaded. And then the growthgrowing on top that would be shading, we also remove. These scaffold branches coming up,again we will cut to an outward growing bud
to maintain the growth of that branch. Thisscaffold branch over here that's coming out, we need to fork them when we move fromthe tree. In order to fill our lot of space of sixteen to eighteen foot between trees,we'll have our scaffold branch coming out. And then we allow it to a fork in two directionsso it can fill a greater area. So, we have our scaffold branch here with a fork in itcoming up in this direction. Eliminate the competition coming out. Cut the branches underneaththat are being shaded, and those on top that are shading. And continuing up, we will cutto an outward growing branch to maintain the growth of this scaffold branch.
Yet with this tree we have a scaffold branchcoming out. This is a little too upright. It's going to the wind, so we need to directthis one more outward. So, that we have, maintain the open center, light in the center of thetree. Again we get rid of growth underneath and that growing on top. What we also needto do is the red wood, which is the most productive wood, we need to come back and cut those backby a third, to stiffen those branch, branches and to eliminate excess of flowers. On peach trees, one of the things that determineswhere we will make our cuts is where the fruit is formed. If we were to look at our maturepeach tree, we are looking at shoots that
are eighteen to twentyfour inches long, arered in color. For the eastern peach varieties, we have a very high bloom density, which meanswe have many flowers onto the tree, which will allow us to lose some for frost and freezeand still have a full crop. If we were to look at a shoot like this, approximately eighteeninches long, it has approximately thirtyfive flower buds on it. When in actuality thisbranch could only support at the most four peaches. If we were to look closely at thepeach shoot, at every node if you will, there is a bud. If there is only one bud at thatnode, that is going to be a leaf bud. Each node will have at least one leaf bud. Butif we look at other ones, we may have two
Managing Vines on a Building
Greg every year Extension gets an awfullot of calls about what to do about vines that have been on the ground initially, found astructure, found a tree trunk and are now growing up. In this case they're growing on thesiding of this building home owners are always concerned that the vines aregonna tear the building apart. Well, you know it has a propensity forattaching itself to a structure like you mentioned and the way to do that isthrough these ariel roots that you see
here. These little suction disks that attach themselves in this case tothe clapboard of the building, or the mortar of a building if it's a bricksided building and use it for support. And vines in and of themselves do not cause structural damage they only find it which means if you havea brick that's loose or board that's loose they get up into the thing and start toloosen it up some more or even sometimes around the boards of thisparticular clapboard building, they will find a crack in the face and actuallyget up into it and you will find the vine in your
attic someplace I think it behooves the person that if theyhave a vine is to manage the vine which means that if they start seeing itget by the clapboards there or they start going under the clapboards on the face, takeand prune that thing back and you are basically managing the vinebut you also see that it leaves behind these areas where it attached itself and I wouldguess you know a good bigger scrubbing with anappropriate soapy type of solution will take care of thatkinda stuff because otherwise it's gonna
be there for a while. Okay thank you Greg.