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Notwithstanding the preceding statements, it is important
to keep in mind that the normal influence of latitude and
altitude is often set aside in grape growing by local modifica-
tions. For example, it often happens that valleys in a region
not apparently adapted to grape culture are so protected from
cold winds, so open to sunshine, or so free from fogs or frosts
that they afford ideal conditions for a vineyard. Some of the
most profitable vineyards are found in exceptional places in
regions where grapes are not generally grown.

3. Influence of Water Supply. — Grapes are very sen-
sitive to moisture conditions. If a vineyard is to be established
in a htmiid climate, not only must the total annual rainfall be
considered, but also its distribution throughout the season.
The smallest quantity of water required for good vine growth
produces the best crops, freest from disease. An excess of rain-
fall at blooming time hinders the proper setting of fruit; an
excess during the growing and the maturing season favors the
growth of fimgi, checks and weakens root development, and
induces too great a growth of vine. A comparatively dry soil
is favorable to a large root growth, which enables a grape plant
to stand drouth well and to resist fimgous diseases but renders
it more susceptible to the phylloxera. Species and varieties dif-
fer greatly in their capacity to withstand an excess of moisture.
Vinifera varieties, in particular, cannot be grown profitably in
localities where there are frequent summer showers, owing to
their susceptibility to fungotis diseases.

4. Influence of Soil. — ^As in the case of all other crops,
the soil largely determines the value of a location for grape
growing. The grape does best on sandy, gravelly, and shaly
soils. In addition to this general soil adaptation, each variety
of grapes does better in some soils than others. In order to be
successful, therefore, a grower must ascertain what soils are

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best for different varieties. The chemist and soil physicist
can help but Httle; in most cases an actual test in the field is
the only way of determining whether a variety will or will not
thrive in a particular soil. American varieties are much more
limited in their adaptation to various soils than the European,
or Vinifera, varieties.

The grape is affected more by the physical structure of a soil
than by its fertility. In the case of two soils of the same fer-
tility, one a sandy soil and the other a clay soil, there will
be a similar growth of vine but the sandy soil will produce
more and better grapes than the clay soil. Grapes do better
on light, friable soils than on stiff, compact soils. The light-
ness and friability of a soil can, of course, be increased by sub-
soiling and proper surface drainage or by the use of cover crops
and stable manure.

It is unnecessary to select soil of great natural fertility for
grape growing. Soils that are too rich produce an overdevel-
opment of the vines at the expense of hardiness and fruitful-
ness. The grapes of some species grow naturally on very poor,
light soils. Any deficiency of natural fertility in soil selected
for grape growing can be largely supplied by cover crops,
stable manure, and fertilizers.

The fact that grapes do particularly well on sands, loams,
shales, and gravels is due largely to the heat foimd in such
soils. The farther north, or the longer the season required for
ripening, the greater is the necessity for a warm soil. Soils
can be made warmer by drainage, by the addition of humus-
forming material, and by cultivation.

The grape is no more exacting as to soil requirements than
other fruits. However, the necessity for selecting a suitable
soil, together with favorable climatic conditions, for commer-
cial grajje culture needs no stronger argument than the fact
that the viticulture of America is centered in comparatively
small districts, and commercial success with the grape appears
to be impossible in other regions, even though they produce
good crops of other fruits. The necessity of having a large
quantity and a hi^h quality of fruit in commercial grape grow-
ing, in order for the business to be profitable, makes it very

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necessary to consider carefully the soil requirements of the
different varieties.

5. Influence of Air-Currents. — ^The prevalence or lack
of air-currents in a region is of some little importance in fitting
or imfitting it for grape growing. Air-currents do consider-
able good in suppressing fimgi. It has long been noticed that
in regions where there are strong air-currents, black rot and the
mildews are not nearly as harmful as elsewhere. Winds may
be beneficial, too, when they bring warm air, when they are
moisture laden, and when they keep frosty air in motion;
it is possible, also, that they have some effect in suppressing
insects such as the leaf hopper. On the contrary, they may be
detrimental when too dry, strong, or cold.

6. Influence of Insects and Fungi. — Often the preval-
ence or the absence of insects and fungi determines the value
of a r^on for grape growing. In several instances, the vine-
yards of entire regions have been destroyed by insects or fimgi,
or both. On the other hand, the magnitude of grape growing
in certain regions is almost wholly due to the fact that neither
insects nor fungi are seriously troublesome. The increase in
the practice of spraying and the dissemination of information
relative to vineyard pests are lessening the importance of the
parasite factor in determining the value of a region for grape
growing, but it is still of great importance.


7. Influence of Marketing Facilities. — In order for a
commercial vineyard to be successful, markets must be acces-
sible to a high degree. Grapes are easily injured by long hauls
and are very perishable even where handled without injury.
There must, therefore, be good wagon roads over which to haul
the fruit to a local market or to a shipping station; and if the
fruit is shipped, the transportation service must be rapid. Trans-
portation by water is often better than by rail, as there is
usually less jarring of the fruit on boats than on cars. If there
are two or more competing transportation agents, the shipper

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will, as a rule, get better service and cheaper rates than if there
is no competition.

Grape growing, more than the growing of any other fruit,
is a specialized and concentrated industry. This is as it should
be, especially if the product is grown for a distant market,
as it is important that enough grapes be raised in a locality to
make the shipping and selling of the fruit of sufficient magni-
tude to command special attention from buyers and carriers.
There are great advantages in shipping fruit in carload lots
and selling it cooperatively. A grower should consider, there-
fore, before establishing a vineyard, whether he will grow grapes
for the general market — ^usually a distant one — or for the local
market, and in either case, whether the marketing facilities
are adequate for his particular needs.

If grapes are grown for the general market, the vineyarding,
to be profitable, must usually be conducted on a somewhat
extensive scale. There should be a large acreage with but
few varieties. In general-market vineyards the different
varieties are cultivated similarly and the various kinds of fruit
are handled, packed, and marketed in the same way; as a rule,
the prices received are comparatively low. In the growing
of grapes for the general market the vineyard is the unit. If
grapes are grown for a local market the vineyard may consist
of but a few acres; but there should be several or many varieties
that ripen in succession. In local-market vineyards special
treatment is given to each kind of grape. The different vari-
eties are trained, pruned, and fertilized differently, and each
kind of fruit is packed in a particular way; the fruit usually
sells for a higher price than that of a general-market vineyard.
The variety is the unit in the growing of grapes for a local

The opportimities in the growing of grapes for the general
market are well recognized in America and the industry has
become extensive. On the other hand, grape growing for local
markets is not well developed, although there are splendid
opportunities in many parts of the coimtry for such a business.
In regions where intensive grape growing for local markets has
been developed to a high degree, it has proved very profitable.


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8. Influence of Distributing Agencies. — Several agen-
cies of distribution by means of which grapes go from the
producer to the consumer must be considered in choosing a
location for a vineyard. Some of these are : Local buyers, who
ship from the grower to a center of distribution; carriers, such
as railroads, steamboats, and trolley lines; commission mer-
chants, who distribute the grapes to retailers; and retailers,
who deliver the grapes to the consumer. The fewer of these
distributing agencies the grower must make use of and the
better the ones available, the better is the location for grape

9. Influence of Extent of Production. — ^A grower,
when choosing a location for a vineyard, is naturally confronted
with the question of whether there is danger of overproduction
in a particular locality. No matter how large a quantity of
fruit is produced in a given region, the growers who pay atten-
tion to the cost of production will make the most profit and
suffer least from the competition. Should there be overpro-
duction, those laboring imder the most expensive difficulties,
whose cost of production is highest, must stop growing; those
whose production is lowest can continue with an assurance
of profit.

If all of the factors at the command of a grower insure the
lowest cost of production, there need be no hesitancy about
entering the business. A prospective grower should first
ascertain whether there is likely to be a permanent demand
for his product, then consider whether or not there are natural
advantages for grape growing in the locality, and finally make
sure that the transportation facilities are adequate. The cost
of labor, too, should be the same as or less than that of his

10. Influence of Labor Supply. — No one should engage
extensively in grape growing in a locality where there is no
certainty of an abundance of labor at picking time. It
sometimes happens that, although no labor is available in a
locality, pickers can be brought from a near-by city. In many

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grape-growing sections, women are employed as pickers, as they
quickly become skilful in the work, which is not particularly
fatiguing. In addition to pickers there must be some laborers
in the locality that are skilled in horticultiual ptirsuits, as com-
mon farm laborers do vineyard work poorly and can seldom be
hired in sufficient ntunbers.

!!• Influence of Amount of Capital. — ^Less capital is
required to engage in grape growing than in the culture of
tree fruits, as grapes come into bearing sooner; but, on the other
hand, much more capital is required than for the growing of
farm or truck crops. The cost of land for commercial grape
growing will vary from $50 an acre in some parts of the East
to $500 an acre on the Pacific coast. The operating expenses,
however, are not nearly so variable. An average taken from
several grape-growing regions in the United States is about
as follows per acre: Pruning, $6; thorough cultivation, $12;
spraying, $10; seed for cover crops, $4. If fertilizers are used
instead of cover crops, the expenses must be increased about
$10 per acre. Perhaps 10 per cent, on the investment is a
conservative estimate of the net income for vineyards the
country over.


12. When a location for a vineyard has been chosen, the
next step is to make a selection of varieties for planting. K
grapes are to be grown for the general market this will not be
difficult, as only a few varieties are tmder general cultivation
in any particular grape-growing center. On the other hand,
if ^apes are to be grown for a local market it is often exceed-
ingly difficult to choose varieties.

Not less than three hundred varieties of grapes are offered
to the grape growers of America by nurserjrmen. Most of
these varieties are best characterized by their faults and none
are perfect. Although all of them have more or less defects
some have greater ones than others and are, therefore, less
desirable. Because of this condition, the selection of suitable
varieties is very important. In fact, it may be laid down as

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a rule that failure in commercial grape growing is certain if a
mistake is made in the choice of varieties. Forttmately, in
established grape-growing regions the experience of the past
can be relied on to a reasonable degree as a guide in the selecting
of varieties.

Certain factors must be kept in mind by a grower when
choosing varieties for a commercial vineyard. The most
important of these is that a variety must be adapted to the
markets and to the uses for which it is intended. Another
important factor is that a variety should be free, or reasonably
so, from parasitic troubles. Also, in order to facilitate the
employing of help and the shipping of fruit, varieties should
be chosen that ripen in proper succession.

Much is being said at the present time about sex in fruits
and especially about the impotency of varieties, on account of
which their fruits do not set well. Grapes fail to set fruit,
for the most part, because of cold weather, rains, and heavy
winds at blooming time, but some varieties are self-sterile to
the extent that they will not produce crops unless interplanted
with self-fertile varieties that bloom at the same time. It is
important that the fruit of all of the varieties planted have
value, as it is not worth while to encimiber land with a variety
fit only for a pollinator. Contrary to a very general opinion,
the fruits themselves are not changed by cross-pollination.
The status of varieties as to sterility has already been given
in the preceding Section.


1 3. When a grower has chosen a location for his vineyard
and has selected the varieties for planting, the next step is to
procure vines. This may be done in two ways: The vines
may either be propagated by the grower himself or be pro-
cured from a commercial nursery. Experienced growers often
produce their own vines, as it is not particularly difficult to
propagate grapes. Until some experience has been acquired,
however, it is not advisable to undertake home propagation
on a ver>' extensive scale.

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14. Propagating of Grapes. — ^The grape is propagated
from seeds, layers, and cuttings. It is grown from seeds for
the piupose of obtaining stock resistant to the phylloxera on
which to graft Vinifera varieties, and for the purpose of pro-
ducing new varieties. The seeds are taken from the pulp at
harvest time and stored in damp earth in a cool place until
spring. In spring they are sown in garden soil in rows con-
venient for cultivation, being planted about an inch deep and
a few inches apart in the row. Usually, the seeds sprout well
and the subsequent care consists chiefly of cultivation.

Fig. 1

Layering is somewhat extensively practiced in the propa-
gating of Aestivalis and Rotimdifolia varieties, which do not
root readily from cuttings. Even in the case of other varieties,
layering is ofk^n the simplest method of propagation, par-
ticularly if only a few vines are needed. This method is espe-
cially desirable for the filling in of vacancies in rows.

Layering is done by bending down and covering with earth
in the spring a cane of the previous year's growth. Some
growers simply lay the cane on the grotmd and cover it so as
to leave a small part exposed at intervals, as shown in Fig. 1.

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Sprouts will form on the exposed parts and roots on the covered
parts. As soon as the young sprouts are thoroughly rooted
they may be separated from each other and from the parent
plant. Perhaps the commonest method of layering is to lay
the cane in a shallow trench, which is then partly filled with
fine earth, the earth being packed firmly about the vine; later,
as the yoimg shoots grow, the trench is gradually filled. From
4 to 8 inchesof the end of the
cane is left above ground.
The following fall the plants
that have arisen from the
bads will be ready for trans-
planting. If layering is
practiced for the purpose
of filling vacancies in rows,
the cane should be put in a
trench several inches deep
so that it will not be torn
out in plowing. The yoimg
sprouts need not be detached
from the parent until the
second year and should bear
the third year.

15. The prevailing
method of propagating
grapes employed by nurs-
erymen and many experi-
enced growers is by means
of cuttings. Perhaps the
commonest method of obtaining cuttings is to cut short lengths
from the hard wood of ripened canes in auttimn or winter when
the vines are pruned. Only canes that are well ripened and rather
short jointed are used. These are cut so that there will be two or
more buds on each cutting, the lower cut being close to a bud.
Fig. 2 shows the appearance of cuttings. After a sufficient nimi-
ber of cuttings have been made, they are tied in bimdles of fifty or
one hundred and stored in sand, moss, or sawdust until spring,

Pig. 2

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when they are planted outdoors at the approach of warm weather.
The general practice is to place the cuttings from 4 to 8 inches
apart in rows that are far enough apart to allow of horse cul-
tivation. The cuttings should be set deep enough that the
upper bud will be flush with the surface of the groimd. When
propagation by this method is extensive, a furrow may be
plowed, the cuttings being placed upright against the land
side and the earth being firmly pressed aroimd them. Many
propagators insist that the cuttings be set at an angle, claim-
ing advantages from the fact that the soil can be packed more
firmly and that the heat of the sun*s rajrs can penetrate more
readily to the lower ends of the cuttings than when the cut-
tings are set upright. The cuttings may produce plants
large enough for planting in the vineyard the following
fall ; but it is usually preferred to let the plants grow
2 years before planting them permanently. In such
cases it is customary, in many nurseries, to transplant
the yoimg plants at the end of the first season. On
the Pacific slope, cuttings are often planted directly in
the vineyard if the soil is favorable to root-
ing. If this is done, the cuttings are made
from 15 to 18 inches long.

Green-wood cuttings are sometimes
Fig. 3 uscd in summcr in the case of new or rare
varieties, but they are not in general favor.
Single-eye cuttings, such as the one shown in
Fig. 3, are sometimes used for propagating grapes;
as a rule, they are started under glass. If they
are started in February, they will be large enough
ioT transplanting to a well-prepared seed-bed very
early in the spring.

16. Grape vines may be readily grafted by^
several methods. The cleft graft, which is
commonly uscd in the case of old plants, is by Pic. 4
far the most important method, as it is the one resorted
to when the varieties in a vineyard are to be changed. In
cleft grafting, the earth should be removed from the old vine

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to the first lateral roots and the top sawed off cleanly from
3 to 4 inches below the surface of the ground. The vine should
then be split across its center and one or two scions inserted,
as in the grafting of fruit trees. The appearance of the graft
at this stage is illustrated in Fig. 4. The cleft should be bound
^nth string or raffia and covered with earth; no wax is neces-
sary. Cleft grafting is usually done in early spring when the
vines are leafing out.


Pig. 5

Young grape plants may be whip-grafted indoors, asd escribed
for fruit trees. The successive steps in making the graft arc
illustrated in Fig. 5. This is the most approved method of
grafting Vinifera varieties on phylloxera-resistant stocks, the
grafts being rooted in a nursery before being planted.

No matter what method of grafting is used, care must be
taken from year to year to cut off all roots from the scions.

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Grafting of the grape in this country is largely confined to
California where the Vinif era varieties are grafted on phylloxera-
resistant native vines, but the operation could be used to advan-
tage in working over old vineyards in all parts of America.

• 17; Procuring of Vines From a Nxirsery. — ^As a rule,
fruit plants grown near home are somewhat better for planting
than those brought from a distance. This is less true in the
case of the grape, however, than in the case of any other fruit,
as grape vines are very tenacious of life, are not so easily injtired
as fruit trees, and can be cheaply propagated and well grown
only in certain localities.

In bu3dng vines, it is advisable to make certain that they are
true to name and free from insect and fimgous pests, and that
the roots and the tops, even to the remotest parts, are alive.
In most cases first-grade 1-year-old vines are much to be pre-
ferred to larger 2-year-old ones. The 2-year-old vines are
often the inferior 1-year-old vines of the previous season that
have been transplanted and allowed to get another year's
growth; they are stunted and considerably less vigorous than
first-grade vines. In Fig. 6 are shown three different grades
of vines. The two vines at the left are overgrown, overaged
specimens; the two in the middle are stunted and lacking in
vigor; the two at the right are desirable first-grade vines.



18. Draining of the Land. — Usually, the first operation
in planting a vineyard is to drain the land. No cultivated
grape thrives in poorly drained land despite the fact that
several wild species do. It is nearly always found that in a
time of drought moisture is far better conscr\^ed in a well-drained
vineyard than in 'one that is und rained. Unquestionably, too,
the soil in a drained vineyard is better aerated and is warmer
than that of an undrained vineyard ; the warmth of the soil is


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an especially important factor in the case of the grape, as has
ah-eady been stated. The opinion prevails that sloping land
is always well drained, but often this is not the case. So, too,
the erroneous opinion prevails that sandy, gravelly, and shaly
soils are always well drained. Such soils often need as thor-
ough drainage as loamy and clayey soils.

19. Preparing of the Soil. — ^A vineyard that is properly
located, well planted, and intelligently cared for will stand for
a generation or longer. The necessity for thorough soil prep-
aration before setting the vines is apparent, because after a
vineyard is planted such operations as grading and subsoiling
cannot be carried on. No subsequent treatment can inake up
for careful preparation of the soil at the outset.

The soil for a vineyard may need some grading to make the
surface level. As a rule, it is a good practice to turn under
a heavy coating of stable manure or a crop of some green maniu-e
such as clover, cowpeas, or soybeans, the kind of crop depend-
ing on which does best in the particular locality. This manur-
ing is especially desirable if vines are to follow vines, that is,
if the land has previously been planted to grapes. Some soils
are much benefited by subsoiling; others are not. A grower
must determine whether subsoiling is advisable by studying
his soil and ascertaining the experience of his neighbors. In
the case of sands, gravels, and shales, subsoiling is seldom neces-
sary, but clays and loams are often benefited by the operation.
If subsoiling is practiced, the subsoil should be loosened only,

Online LibraryInternational Correspondence SchoolsPeach culture: plum culture; grape culture; strawberries; raspberries ... → online text (page 14 of 35)