Adding Grapes and Have Some Questions

My first grapes (“3 year fruiting size” seedless table grapes) will be arriving shortly and have some questions.

The varieties that i will be planting are Einset, Glenora, Ladyfinger, and Thompson.

  • Despite “3 year fruiting size” how long should I expect before they are able to set fruit?
  • What type of pruning ( cane or spur ) will be required for each?
  • What is the recommended spray for controlling fungus / frequency of spray and when?
  • Recommended source for Gibberellin to increase grape size?


1 Like

I see you are in hardiness zone 6a in the USA. We can offer better advice if you’d narrow your location down a little further.

First, and most important at this point is to decide which training systems you are going to use. This being said, year 1 is to training, year 2 ,to grow stronger vine, maybe in year3 it will fruit.
The easiestis to ask the supplier for recommending a prune style because each grape cultivar may require different prune style.

Your location determines the diseases/ pests pressure therefore determines your spray schedule. Your local extensions office should be a good sources to ask.

If the grapes are for my own consumption, I would grow them as organic as possible, using minimum spray and spray less chemicals on the plants. I would not use growth hormone on the fruits I plan to eat


I wouldn’t let them set fruit in the first year. Hard to know how they define a 3rd year but by the 2nd year inground you should be able to keep some clusters.

Everything else we’ll need a more specific location.

Thanks for the suggestions

My package just arrived and 3 year bearing size means a pruned cane of approx 12 Inch length and 1/4" wide…

Previous Nurseries I worked at propagated and sold bare-root grapevines that were 1yr or 2yr in the field for growing. The 2 yr vines were definitely fatter trunk size to start with. But both sizes grow like weeds.

Are yours container grown or bare-root? If bare-root, the first year I would expect a lot of root growth and some top growth. More top growth the 2nd year with perhaps a few bunches of grapes being produced. It really takes about 3 years from bare-root before you get even a small crop.

The BIG thing the first two years is training to whatever growing system you use for grapes in your area. For me, I use the 4 arm kniffen system on the labrusa grapes I grow. I am no authority on growing systems for seedless grapes in other areas. Nobody seems to use the kniffen system much anymore. It works well for me. But some grape varieties produce more if grown with other training systems.

Insect and disease? For me in Wisconsin, grape berry moth is my nemesis. Not sure if an issue in your area of the country. I also can get downy mildew and black rot at times. Again your area could be totally different on insect/disease pressure. One year I got hit hard in spring on grape flea beetles sucking the juice out of the expanding buds. Not many grapes that year. They were never an issue again (actually they are a pretty insect with their emerald green color).

For me, I hit them with fungicides at certain times of the season and an insecticide too. Yet others I know NEVER spray anything and seem to get grapes most years. Not me, the grape berry moth would wipe me out if I did not spray. Tried that and lost the battle if I do not spray for them. Where I am, we get usually 2 generations per season.

1 Like

Thompson seedless is probably only zone 7 hardy, so you will be pushing it in 6a. It also needs to be grafted (unless you are in an area without much phylloxera issues-like very sandy soil), and will need LOTs of spraying anywhere in the eastern US for fungal diseases. I think that Ladyfinger grape is also pure V. vinifera, so hardiness and lack of disease resistance, and need for grafting will be similar to Thompson. Fungicide sprays need to be weekly unless in drought conditions.

Einset and Glenora are plenty hardy, and don’t need grafting, but you will need to keep black rot under control. That mainly involves spraying during bloom and just after bloom, which is when berries get infected.


Thompson Seedless typically needs to be cane pruned to be fruitful. All seedless grapes other than Black Corinth have Thompson, aka Sultanina, in their ancestry and have varying degrees of ability to fruit from spurs. Einset is a quarter Thompson and can probably be cane or spur pruned. Glendora is half Black Monukka, which can be pruned either way, so I would guess the same is true.

I work for a commercial vineyard. We prune bareroot vines down to two buds after planting and train up a single shoot. If watered and fertilized well, it is possible to get a few clusters the following growing season, but I would focus on developing a strong vine rather than trying to get fruit as soon as possible.

As others have said, the training system you use will dictate how you treat the vines the first few years. Thompson and Ladyfinger are unlikely to be fully hardy in your area.

Einset, Thompson, and Ladyfinger are susceptible to powdery mildew. Here in California, the standard organic treatment is powdered sulfur, but that needs reapplication every two weeks and after rain.

Ladyfinger is seeded and will make full-sized berries without treatment. Einset and Glendora were selected for decent sized berries despite being seedless and may react unpredictably to gibberellin treatment.


Thanks for the information

That’s unfortunate about Thompson and Ladyfinger. I see now that while the site I purchased from designates Thompson as within my growing, other sites list it outside of my zone… with this in mind I don’t have much hope for its survival. Lady finger is also listed as 6, but maybe I should just keep it small in a pot?

1 Like


Good morning.

It’s so very nice to have a professional grape grower on the forum.

Unfortunately perhaps now you will get some questions from a home gardener. :sweat_smile:

So I live in South Louisiana…prime PD country I’d say. The only vineyard I’m aware of anywhere near me (Pontchartrain Vineyard - or it used to be as it was sold) grew the varietals you would expect, Blanc du Bois (66% vinifera) and Norton / Cynthiana (aestivalis). I know Black Spanish (69% vinifera) is also a PD resistant variety.

The issue for hybrids has always been the ability to make a quality wine like 100% vinifera varieties.

You may be familiar with the 5 new(ish) varietals created by Dr. Andy Walker at UC Davis. Camminare noir, Paseante noir, Errante noir, Ambulo blanc, and Caminante blanc.

So to my story and questions.

I will receive 7 vines of Errante Noir (97% vinifera) created from Dr Walker’s program. I live in a residential area. My yard constrains me to growing the vines oriented east-west instead of north south as I see is recommended for vineyards. Reading the description of the heritage I liked the sound of the wine it could make.

My plan is growing single cordon, but I am torn on going vertical training or not. It’s a very long growing season here as the time between last frost and first frost is on the order of 8 months.

Very high humidity here all year really.

My thinking is perhaps a ‘comb over’ training where I make the spur growth bend northwards and down exposing the bunches to the southern exposure sun. Also air flow would be better as I am concerned in general for humidity related disease. Maybe I’d call it a modified VSP. VSP Combover? :blush:This is because the vines will be running east-west.

Anyway I’ll feel better to hear someone who knows infinitely more about grape growing to say, ‘sounds good’, ‘you must be crazy’, or ‘yes but try this’.

The 7 vines are my best estimation of the amount of grapes to work a 5 gallon carboy to make wine, since the lay world of wine making is geared towards that volume.

Any help would be greet my appreciated.


1 Like

No worries! Ask away. I am happy to help as much as I can. Unfortunately I have no experience with growing grapes in your climate, but I can try to answer some of your questions.

Being 97% vinifera and not having read anything to the contrary, I would guess that Errante Noir is not powdery or downy mildew resistant. So I would take that into account with any training system you choose. Air flow is definitely a good thing, but I would be worried about excessive sun exposure on the southern side. I don’t have time to get more in depth right now, but feel free to ask further questions.


I always point to this text “From Vines to Wine” as it covers most every issue in growing grapes. My first year in training mine I learned a lot the hard way before discovering this book. Most libraries can get the book thru inter library loans so to avoid many of the pitfalls involving training methods, sun exposure, air circulation, etc, suggest reading this one before you construct your arbor!
Kent, wa


Thanks @GrapeNut

I have all winter to mull this over.

I wanted to say that the benefit of heat in ripening is not an issue here as I’ve read quite a bit of verbiage about sun exposure using VSP to elevate skin temperatures for ripening in colder climates.

Alternatively I read that the proper acid production requires UV.

I may need to comb over the comb-over at some point to limit the direct sun. Where is the balance point? Who knows.

Maybe I use a partial shade cloth.

Regardless, I will try to make my own wine in a few years with this varietal.

I know in established commercial vineyards from one year to the next with everything else being as equal as you can get, the different years produce a different wine from the climactic differences between the years.

Hell, I’ll just be happy with the process and really pleased if I can make a drinkable wine that I don’t want to spit out or turn to vinegar.

I am waiting to find out whether this grape should be spur or cane trained. I’m hoping for spur as I think that is a bit easier to do.

1 Like

Thanks @DennisD

I’ll look for it. Hopefully the breadth of the book will include the climate issues here as, of course, this is nowhere near traditional wine country.

1 Like

When I lived in W Tn as a kid growing up, I had table grapes growing very successfully on the farm. My Agriculture courses in high school was all I had for advice except an older lady who lived nearby that I went to see one day. In about one hour I came away knowing what to do! Back then you could order everything from Sears! Things have changed a lot, but grape growing is very possible in most climates, that does not change. Sun exposure is the most important, excellent drainage is second, in high humidity areas circulation of air is essential. If you have any members in your zone check to see what matters most and what works. Chances are they may be your best reference
Good luck Phil


A question that I would like answered is - what percentage of vinifera like grapes (both table and wine) are affected by Pierce’s disease (PD) in an area that is PD dominate?

I know only someone connected to an extension service is likely to be able to provide anything but a wild guess to that question. Some years ago, I had Jupiter, Reliance, and Swenson Red vines that was diseased. The county extension office said it was PD and recommended Saturn as an alternative. Well after thinking it over I transitioned to muscadines.

Just last winter the two remaining Concord vines died. My thought is PD weakening and then -3 F killed them.

1 Like

It’s my understanding that most vinifera grapes are somewhat or very much susceptible to PD.

Having said that many southern states AG schools have and are working on PD resistant grapes.

Muscadines typically have no issue as they successfully evolved in the PD climate.

I’m not as sure about table grapes, but varieties like Blanc du Bois, Cynthiana (Norton), Black Spanish are the most prominent wine grapes. I haven’t looked at their parentage.

UCD developed 7 varieties of PD resistant wine grapes (4 red, 3 white) that are roughly 97% V. vinifera, 1.5% V. arizonica, 1.5% V. rupestris.

The PD resistant gene is carried by the V. arizonica vine.

As you may know, many wine grapes are not desirable to be used as a table grape. Thickness of skin, seeds etc. I went on a public harvest locally for Blanc du Bois years ago. It wasn’t just the seeds and thick skin that made it not a great fresh eating choice. It was actually spicy. After 3 or 4 I was done.

I’m in a high PD area (very near the Gulf of Mexico).
I have ordered 7 Errante Noir vines for next year developed by Dr Walker at UCD.

7 vines should eventually allowed me to work a 5 gallon carboy for wine… For fun.


I’ve got a couple of those just sitting around. Dreams of hard cider. Raccoons and squirrels won’t let me though. White muscadine wine is delicious also but cannot get enough even for jelly.

I once had a Thompson seedless vine that I got from a local Lowes. It fruited one year and then promptly died the next winter. What I always refer to as being “California grapes”. Every vine I got from Willis died. I learned my lesson the hard way.


I can plant any variety in the ground but it would certainly die at least from PD eventually. First year, second, fifth.

Consider some of the varieties I mentioned.

Here is the article on the UCD Walker varieties.


Sun is also necessary for the production of next year’s fruiting buds. The leaf axils at the base of the current year’s shoots need at least some dappled light during flowering to set cluster primordia for the following year. In your climate, you might get excessive canopy growth and too much shade, so that is another reason to manage it. Where I am, we try to aim for a single layer of leaves over the clusters. Usually we can achieve that by just removing lateral shoots and interior leaves.

To my knowledge, any vinifera variety can be cane pruned. It’s spur pruning that doesn’t work for all varieties. For cane pruning, it’s easy to leave too much fruiting wood and have poor vigor though, so I would keep an eye on that. If you have very wet winters, cane pruned vines are less susceptible to fungal infections that can ultimately kill your vine.

That depends on which vectors are around to spread the disease. Here in Napa, PD is fairly widespread, but we only have the blue-green sharpshooter (for now…) as a vector. It will spread the disease, but it doesn’t feed on grapes primarily so infections are generally limited to vineyards near a lot of native vegetation. In the southeastern US, the glassy-winged sharpshooter is the primary PD vector and is much more effective at spreading it to grapes, so it’s unlikely a non-resistant variety will last more than a few years.