Hand planting a grapevine

A handy guide to individual grapevine planting.
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Keep plants covered

When planting a grapevine, do not let the roots dry out - especially if planting in Marlborough's high equinox spring winds. Keep plants damp and covered until they go into the ground. Make sure any contracted planting gangs follow suit.

Avoid J Rooting

Once the soil has been broken up, make sure the vine is planted deep enough so that you have the opportunity to 'pull it up' to the right planting depth (i.e. plant a vine into a hole dug 300mm deep and then pull it up to a depth of 200 mm deep which is the the length of a hand held in a fist ), By 'pulling it up,' you automatically straighten out the roots and avoid J-rooting. J-rooting is when the root system of a vine strikes against the bottom of the hole, forcing the roots to curve back up in the shape of a J.

If your new vines are J-rooted, they will not survive.

When planting HI-STEM®vines
Graft union 550mm

Follow the procedure above to avoid J rooting. When ‘pulling the vine up,’ make sure the graft union is at 550mm
You can always plant lower depending on the height of your fruiting wire. But if your fruiting wire is at a standard 900 mm, the graft union should not be any higher. This will save you any issue in the future with congestion between the head height and the fruiting wire.

Water and Nutrients
Training young vines

After planting your vines, make sure they are well watered. Mark Allen (Allen Vineyard Advisory Ltd) also recommends the use of Agroblen.
Add 50 grams of Agroblen per vine slotted in with a spade (25 grams each side of vine, about 200 mm away from the plant).
This is especially important if you are replanting.

New Vine Training
Training young vines

Follow the guidelines outlined in the Replanting and Soil Conditioning section of the Wickham Estate Replanting (link) article for training your new vines. With the appropriate time and management, your vines, standard or HI-STEM® vines, should look like the image shown.

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