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Old August 24th, 2005, 08:00 PM
maggiemacpoe maggiemacpoe is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
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Why Won't Vines Produce Grapes Anymore?

I have an elderly friend who owns a great deal of land that has been in her family since the 1600's. There are grape vines all over it, it the woods, meadows and down close to the ocean, some in full sun while others have only partial sun at best. I have never seen grapes on any of them. I asked her about it today. She said she remembers them producing when she was a young child and always enjoyed helping her grandfather pick them whenever her grandmother wanted to make jelly. She said
they haven't produced any grapes for years now. She said she doesn't know if it is true or not, but that her grandfather told her some of the plants were male and the others were female.

She said that over the years some of the vines have died so she always just assumed that they were all of the males or all of the females and that is why there are no more grapes.

Since I know absolutely nothing about grapes other than that they taste good and I can buy them up at the corner store, I am hoping one of you can help me figure out why they stopped and how my friend can coax them to produce fruit again.

Thank You, maggiemacpoe
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Old August 24th, 2005, 08:58 PM
Ralph Walton Ralph Walton is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denman Island,BC
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Re: Why Won't Vines Produce Grapes Anymore?

Maine is well north of the Muscadine's accepted range, but have a look at the first link and compare your friend's vines with these. They are quite different from "normal" grapes (unless you are in the S.E.States in which case these are normal), and do require both male and female vines to produce fruit. (Also do a Google Image search for "muscadine").

For vines "gone wild" several problems with fruiting can occur. Grapes only fruit on the current year's growth, and with old unpruned vines, a lot of that can be out of reach and out of sight. Heavily vegitative growth can also leave little strength for fruiting, and also little "inclination"; the opposite of a stressed conifer putting out a huge crop of cones. Plants that are already successfully propagating themselves by layering (wherever these big old vines touch the ground and root) sometimes seem to know that they don't need to spend much effort in fruit production.

Assuming these are not Muscadines (but don't take my word for it!), pick a few of these vines that are favorably located - sun, drainage, away from frosty hollows - and prune them enthusiastically during this year's dormant period. I don't know when that is for Maine, but well after the leaves have dropped, but before they bud out in the spring. That should wake them up and you can see what you have.


Pruning Grapes in Home Gardens

Grapes: Cultivars, Training and Pruning; G82-618-A
- scroll to "Neglected Vines"

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