If you recently planted grape vines in your yard, you may not have any fruit on them just yet. In that case, you are probably wondering when grape vines produce grapes, and if there is anything you can do to help them along.
So, when does a grape vine produce grapes? A grape vine produces grapes that are ready for harvest between September and November in northern climates. Most grape vines will not produce fruit until three years after planting, although some can produce a little fruit before then.
Of course, depending on the variety of grape vine you choose, you may get fewer grapes or smaller fruit.
Other factors such as crowded spacing, over fertilization, and environmental conditions can all affect the growth of fruit on your grape vines.
Let’s take a closer look at grape vines, when they bear fruit, and the factors that can affect your harvest.
When Do Grape Vines Produce Grapes?
Most grape vines will not produce a significant amount of fruit until their third year. Grape vines produce fruit on 1 year old canes (that is, the prior year’s growth).
In the first and perhaps second years of life, grape vines will start to store sugar and nutrients.
Some grape vines will produce fruit before the third year, but it will not be much, and it will be small fruit. (Producing fruit early takes resources away from growth of the vine itself.)
For more information, check out this article on the lifecycle of a wine grapevine from Wine Folly.
Do Grape Vines Produce Fruit The First Year?
Grape vines will sometimes produce fruit in the first year after planting. However, they generally do not produce substantial fruit until the 3rd year.
It is important to remember that first-year wood will not produce fruit. Instead, grapes come from buds that grow on canes (last year’s growth).
As such, it is important to prune away old wood (growth from prior years) to make way for new (more on this later).
How Much Fruit Does A Grape Vine Produce?
A grape vine grown for table grapes can produce 20 pounds of fruit per year. A grape vine grown for wine grapes can produce 12 pounds of fruit per year.
For more information, check out this article on grapes from Monrovia.
How Long Does A Grape Vine Live?
Grape vines can live for 50 to 100 years, and can produce fruit for much of this time. Of course, this assumes that the grape vine receives the proper care.
For more information on care for grape vines, check out this article on grapes from the Oregon State University Extension.
What Type Of Grape Vine Should I Plant?
When selecting a grape vine, make sure to choose one that you can grow in your climate! For more information, check out the USDA Zone Hardiness Map to see what zone you are in.
Here are some grape varieties that you might want to try:
- Mars Seedless PP5680 Grape – this grape vine is self-pollinating. It grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces blue or purple fruit that matures in August to September. The mature plant will be 5 to 6 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. For more information, check out the Mars Seedless PP5680 Grape on the Burpee website.
- Concord Grape – this grape vine is self-pollinating. It grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces sweet, seeded, blue or purple fruit that matures in mid-September. The mature plant will be 5 to 6 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. For more information, check out the Concord Grape on the Burpee website.
- Reliance Seedless Grape – this grape vine is self-pollinating. It grows in Zones 4 to 8, and produces seedless, red fruit that matures in late August. The mature plant will be 5 to 6 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. For more information, check out the Reliance Seedless Grape on the Burpee website.
- Jupiter Grape – this grape vine is self-pollinating. It grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces large, seedless, blue or purple fruit that matures in September. The mature plant will be 5 to 7 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. For more information, check out the Jupiter Grape on the Burpee website.
- Hope Seedless Grape – this grape vine is self-pollinating. It grows in Zones 5 to 8, and produces seedless green fruit. The mature plant will be 4 to 6 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. For more information, check out the Hope Seedless Grape on the Burpee website.
- Saint Theresa Grape – this grape vine is self-pollinating. It grows in Zones 4 to 7, and produces seedless, purple fruit that matures in early September. It is cold hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit! The mature plant will be 15 to 20 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. For more information, check out the Saint Theresa Grape on the Burpee website.
Do You Need Two Grape Vines To Produce Fruit?
No, you do not need two grape vines to produce fruit, since most varieties are self-pollinating.
For more information, check out this article on the annual cycle of grapes from the Cooperative Extension.
What Other Factors Can Affect Fruit On Grape Vines?
The quality of care that you give your grape vines will help to decide how much fruit you get each year. Remember that grape vines need full sun (8 or more hours or sunlight per day).
Other important factors for grape vines are temperature, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and spacing.
Temperature For Grape Vines
The cold hardiness of grape vines depends on the season.
In the fall, most grape vines can tolerate a temperature of 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.4 degrees Celsius), and some slightly lower.
In the winter, most grape vines can tolerate a temperature of -7 degrees Fahrenheit (-21.7 degrees Celsius), although some can tolerate down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28.9 degrees Celsius).
In the spring, after the buds break, the temperature tolerance is 29.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.2 degrees Celsius) for most grape varieties.
Watering For Grape Vines
Grape vines should be given a good initial watering when you plant them, and the Farmer’s Almanac also suggests soaking the roots for 2 to 3 hours before planting.
After that, grape vines normally don’t need much water. In fact, a bit of drought stress can encourage them to grow stronger roots systems. Slight water stress can also cause the grapes themselves to be a bit sweeter.
Significant water stress, caused by long periods of drought, can become worse in gardens with dry soil. If you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on dry soil.
On the other hand, over watering can also spell death for your grape vines, due to root rot or fungal diseases. Over watering can also slow root growth and leach nutrients out of the soil. For more information, check out my article on over watering.
Fertilizing For Grape Vines
Before you plant a grape vine, add some compost to your soil. It will provide organic material and nutrients for your grape vine as it grows. The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!
For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.
It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if you soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.
For more information, check out my article on soil testing.
In general, grape vines should be fertilized rarely. If you do need to fertilize, use a balanced fertilizer such as 16-16-16. To learn more about fertilizer numbers and what they mean, check out my article on NPK ratios.
A soil test will also indicate the pH of your soil. The ideal pH range for grape vines is between 5.5 (somewhat acidic) and 6.5 (slightly acidic).
If your soil pH is too low (acidic), you can add lime (calcium carbonate) to raise it.
If your soil pH is too high (basic), you can add sulfur to lower it.
Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your grape vines by over fertilizing them. For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your grape vines from producing any fruit.
Pruning For Grape Vines
Pruning is very important for grape vines. Trimming away the old wood makes room for new vines to grow (these vines will eventually produce fruit after they become canes in their second year).
For more information about pruning during the first few years of a grapevine’s life, check out this article about pruning grapevines from the Ohio State University Extension.
Spacing For Grape Vines
When planting American varieties of grape vines, plant them 6 feet apart within a row. Hybrid grape varieties should be planed 6 to 8 feet apart in a row.
Leave 9 to 10 feet between rows of grapes. You can produce a beautiful addition to your yard by growing grapes up trellises, arbors, or pergolas.
By now, you have a good idea of when grape vines will produce fruit. You also know a bit more about how to take care of grape vines and how to avoid the problems that can affect your harvest.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice about grape vines, please leave a comment below.