What to plant with grapes?

Powdery mildew of grapevines in Western Australia

Sexual spores are called ascospores. These are produced from sexual fruiting bodies called chasmothecia (previously cleistothecia) that develop when the hyphae of two compatible isolates make contact. Chasmothecia are 0.1mm in diameter, just visible with the naked eye and form mid to late summer on leaves, shoots and bunches.

They are white when young and change to yellow, orange, brown then black as they mature (Figure 10). Chasmothecia turn yellow after about seven days from initiation, begin to form the bristle like appendages after three weeks and after 4-5 weeks are disconnected from the surviving colony. Sexual variation in the ascospores may lead to strains of the powdery mildew fungus that are more resistant to fungicides or that are more virulent.

Figure 10 Chasmothecia on the underside of the leaf show different maturity: yellow (young), brown and black with bristles (mature)

Overwintering

The fungus survives the winter months in two ways:

  • Infected buds – the fungus grows down between the bud scales on infected shoots in early spring and remains in the buds through the winter. It remains dormant, with the bud scales providing protection from the elements, particularly in regions such as WA that experience mild winters compared to other growing regions in the northern hemisphere.
  • Chasmothecia – mature chasmothecia are washed into bark crevices and other sheltered places such as leaf litter and remain over the winter. Chasmothecia located in the bark have a higher rate of survival than those in the soil or leaf litter.

Infection and spread

Powdery mildew primary infections occur by either flag shoots or chasmothecia.

Infected buds produce shoots called flag shoots (described earlier under ‘symptoms’) in spring. Depending on how much powdery mildew was present early the previous season to cause infected buds there will generally be one flag shoot per 1000 shoots. Flag shoots produce conidiospores that spread the disease early in the season and are thought to be the main source of carryover in Australia.

Chasmothecia produce ascospores after a minimum of 2.5mm of rain and when temperatures are 10-30°C. This occurs mostly between budburst and flowering (late winter and early spring). Ascospores infect the lowest leaves and shoots as these are closest to the over wintering chasmothecia, as a result it is usually the underside of these leaves that are infected first. The ascospores germinate and produce powdery mildew colonies that then produce conidiospores.

Conidiospores are spread by wind dispersal. Conidiospores landing on the green parts of the vine germinate and infect the vine by sending haustoria (root-like appendages) into the epidermal (surface) cells. The fungus absorbs nutrients from the grapevine for its development. The absorption of nutrients by the fungus eventually leads to death of the infected tissue.

Both conidiospores and ascospores can infect the vine within 24 hours of dispersal. Germination, infection and development of ascospores to conidiospores and of conidiospores take around 5-12 days depending on temperatures. Several infection cycles can occur through the growing season and the incidence of infection increases rapidly if controls are not applied or are ineffective after infection.

Weather conditions

Powdery mildew is favoured by:

  • mild cloudy weather
  • low to moderate light such as sheltered parts of the canopy or vineyard
  • optimum temperatures 22-28°C with a range of 6-33°C
  • humid conditions (enhances sporulation).

Powdery mildew is reduced on exposed leaf surfaces by:

  • air temperatures of 35°C or higher
  • direct sunlight (UV radiation reduces colony expansion and germination of conidia).

Unlike most other grapevine diseases, powdery mildew does not require free moisture for infection (except for the production of ascospores from chasmothecia as discussed above). Free water from rain, dew, irrigation or high volume spraying can cause poor or abnormal germination of conidiospores or wash them from the vine surface. However, established colonies repel water and those that are sheltered by the vine canopy will probably survive. Water on vines may also reduce canopy temperature and increase humidity, thus encouraging sporulation and more infection.

Monitoring

Early detection is important to reduce disease development.

Where to monitor

  • vineyard areas where the disease has been present in previous seasons
  • vines that have had flag shoots the previous year tend to produce more flag shoots due to the level of infection in the past
  • sheltered areas or densely shaded vines
  • most susceptible varieties
  • ends of rows that may have been unsprayed.

When to monitor

Budburst onwards at two weekly intervals, bearing in mind that:

  • flag shoots are most readily evident two to eight weeks after budburst before the canopy becomes too large
  • flag shoots are generally delayed in budburst compared to healthy shoots
  • ascospore infections occur mostly on lower leaves of the shoots.

How to monitor

Some things to consider when monitoring include:

  • inspect 200 vines from both sides of the row, examining leaves and later bunches
  • powdery mildew is easier to see when leaves are orientated at an angle to the sun
  • use a 10x hand lens to check suspect vine material for hyphae and conidiospores early in the season and chasmothecia later in the season
  • mark flag shoot locations and infection sites with flag tape to enable later assessments of disease spread and effectiveness of management options.

If you are unusure whether you have powdery mildew samples can be submitted to a pathology lab for confirmation from DDLS – Plant pathology services.

Management

If powdery mildew was a problem last season, it is most likely that high levels of overwintering infected buds and chasmothecia will be present in the vineyard. Early season management is essential.

If powdery mildew was not a problem last season, monitoring and appropriate management options should be considered. Weather conditions early in the season will affect management decisions to prevent epidemics occurring later in the season.

Vineyard establishment

Consider orientation of rows in the direction of prevailing winds. Select varieties and clones that have open bunches. For wine grapes consider planting on rootstocks that reduce vegetative growth. Avoid overcrowding. Select trellis types that open up the canopy.

Cultural

Canopy management practices that permit good air circulation, spray penetration and filtered sunlight exposure are highly beneficial. Some of these include pruning methods, shoot training, shoot thinning, leaf plucking, vine trimming and hedging. Nitrogen fertilisers should also be used with caution to avoid excessive vegetative growth.

Biological

Currently there are no commercially available biological control agents registered for powdery mildew control in Australia. Ampelomyces quisqualis (a parasitic fungus of powdery mildew) has been reported to control the chasmothecia stage of Erysiphe necator, and has been reported in some vineyards. Fungus-eating mites such as the Tydeid mite and beetles have been reported to reduce powdery mildew colonies on vines.

Chemical

There are several chemical groups available for powdery mildew control in Western Australia. The chemicals registered for use on powdery mildew for the production of wine and table grapes are listed in the viticulture spray guideViticulture spray guide for Western Australia. Further application requirements for the control of grapevine powdery mildew are listed in the Australian Wine Research Institutes (AWRI) ‘Dog Book’.

Early season control is the key. The majority of chemicals currently registered for this disease are registered for use as a preventative option before infection has occurred. A preventative spray program reduces the risk of disease development and damage but increases the number of sprays needed.

Key aspects of preventative spraying

  • In periods of rapid vine growth spray intervals of 7-10 days may be required to protect new growth.
  • If temperatures of 35°C or greater occur disease development is slowed and spray intervals of more than 14 days can be used.
  • Fungicide application just before flowering and during the five weeks after are the most important as these protect the berries during the period when they are most susceptible to powdery mildew.
  • In most seasons four to six applications of fungicides per season will be adequate to control powdery mildew.
  • Sulphur should be used as an early spray to prevent mite damage. Excluding sulphur applications from spray programs may give rise to mite problems.
  • After veraison additional sprays are only required if build up of disease on foliage and bunch stalks is present. For table grapes it is essential to maintain fresh, green, disease free foliage and bunch stalks until harvest commences.

Reliance on monitoring for powdery mildew symptoms can reduce the amount of chemicals applied but involves a higher level of risk of disease development and damage if early symptoms are missed

Fungicide resistance

Due to the ability of Erysiphe necator to sexually reproduce within Australian vineyards and the potential for multiple life cycles over a single growing season, it is considered medium risk for the development of resistance to fungicides used to manage it.

The continual use of one fungicide or one group of fungicides increases the risk of resistance developing to that fungicide or that group of fungicides. To reduce the risk of resistance developing within your vineyard always read the chemical label and regularly consult the resistance management guidelines for grapevine powdery mildew produced by Croplife Australia.

Powdery mildew outbreaks

In southern regions late December to early January is the likely time for outbreaks to occur. In northern regions (Gascoyne) late September to early October outbreaks may occur. To achieve better spray coverage and prevent further disease development the following practices are recommended:

  • trim shoot growth to allow shoots to become more erect and expose bunches
  • lift wires to expose bunches
  • leaf pluck two to three leaves immediately above and below bunches
  • adjust spray nozzles and direct air flow of ducted spray machines to ensure most spray is deposited into fruit zone
  • use high spray volumes and highest rate of wetting agent (as leaves and bunches infected with powdery mildew are difficult to wet)
  • apply two to three sprays each seven to ten days apart to ensure maximum coverage of leaves and bunches. Spray in the opposite direction with the final spray.

Caution: Exposed bunches are susceptible to sunburn. Application of fungicides late in the season may give rise to chemical residues in the fruit or visual residue problems on berries. Visual residue on berries at harvest is undesirable for table grapes. Refer to product labels, AWRI ‘Dog Book’ and the viticulture spray guide for general comments and restrictions on usage.

Postharvest sprays are of limited value except for young vines. Buds will already be infected and most chasmothecia will have already lodged into bark crevices and other sheltered places. The cost, amount of chemical and the chemical resistance consideration to control the survival structures of the fungus usually outways any benefit achieved by the spray.

Young vines may require postharvest sprays to ensure continued shoot growth and to prevent premature defoliation so that the young vine can establish its vine framework and can lay down its carbohydrate reserves for the following season.

References and further reading

Coombe, BG and Dry, PR (eds) 1992, Viticulture – Volume 2: Practices, Winetitles, Adelaide.

Glenn, D, Aitken, D and Braybrook, D (eds) 1998, IPM Viticulture: Research to Practiceâ Training Workshop Manual, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Knoxfield.

Nicholas, P, Magarey, P and Wachtel, M 1994, Diseases and Pests – Grape Production Series Number 1, Winetitles, Adelaide.

Scott, E 1988, Mildews: What they are and how they survive in the vineyard. Australian Viticulture Vol 2, No. 6, pp 5-16.

Wicks, T, Emmett, B, Hitch, C and Magarey, P 2002, Post-harvest fungicide applications – are they worth the effort? The Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker – 30th Annual Technical Issue, Ryan Publications, Adelaide No. 461 p. 156.

Wicks, T, Hall, B, Hitch, C and Malic, B 1998, Control of established powdery mildew infections. The Australian Grapegrower & Winemaker – 26th Annual Technical Issue, Ryan Publications, Adelaide No. 414a pp 138-139.

Winkler, AJ, Cook, JA, Kliewer, WM and Lider, LA 1974, General Viticulture, The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Do Grapes Grow on Trees or Vines?

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Grapes are grouped together botanically into the genus Vitis, which comprises 65 species native to woodlands and thickets across temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. They are woody, deciduous vines or climbing shrubs, but often attached themselves to trees.

Features

The stems of grape vines/shrubs develop a flaking bark and clamber over other plants to reach light. Young vines bear tendrils, which are modified stems that wrap around objects for clasping support.

Considerations

Grape vines growing in the wild may grow up the trunk of tall trees and sprawl their foliage and fruits like a canopy over branches of the tree. Older grape vines may have a stem so large at its base that it may look like a narrow tree trunk.

Effects

Vigorous and healthy grape vines can slowly cause the death of a tree. The many stems and leaves block sunlight from the tree on which the grape clambers over. In time, the tree fails to make enough food from photosynthesis and it weakens and dies, leaving the grape there to use the tree’s skeleton.

10 Reasons You Should Be Growing Grapes In Your Backyard

Ever daydreamed of picking huge clusters of sun-warmed, juicy grapes from your own backyard vines? Here are ten solid reasons to add these highly-productive and also decorative vines to your edible landscape this season. Cheers!

Gardeners have been cultivating grapes for more than 6,000 years; if they can do it, so can you. Growing grapes is easier than you think, and the benefits range from the “It’s like I never tasted a grape before” flavor to the old-world elegance they add to the landscape. Here are our top ten reasons why you need to get growing grapes.

1. Fruit, of course!

Baskets and baskets of the most luscious fruit over a long season once the plants are established. There’s a grapevine for nearly every climate. If you have sunshine, can provide good air circulation, well-drained soil, and a sturdy structure such as an arbor, fence or post-and-wire system, you can grow grapes. And, because they don’t have to travel, grapes grown at home can be picked at their peak of ripeness. Need more? How about homemade juice, jelly, raisins, and even grape leaves for stuffing and garnish. Oh, and if you’re so inclined, your own house wine?

2. They’re a good value.

Grapevines are long-lasting plants that can thrive for decades if planted in the right spot and given the proper care. While some varieties take a longer time to mature or have limited hardiness, it’s not uncommon for a grapevine, especially in a warmer climate, to be producing bushels of fruit when it’s pushing 50 years old. That’s quite a return on an investment of around $40.00 for a large, five-gallon plant.

3. They fall into the “less is more” category.

One healthy, vigorous grapevine can produce about 20 pounds of fruit each year. Just a few vines should be enough to keep an average household happy.

4. They’re easy to grow.

Grapes don’t require lots of care except for regular annual pruning which is necessary to limit growth of the vine and to maximize fruiting; this is particularly true if you’re growing grapes for production such as wine-making. Pruning also helps the plant conform to the trellis on which it’s growing. Grape fruits form on one-year-old growth only; pruning heavily in late winter encourages abundant vigorous, fruit-bearing vines. That said, mature grapevines that have not been pruned for a few years can be cut back severely and will start productive growth again. Don’t let this intimidate you. If you’re up for wielding a sharp set of pruners, you’re good to go.

5. They add drama (and shade, too) to the landscape.

If the leafy canopy of a grapevine trained over an arbor is an alluring focal point, imagine what a few rows of trained vines laden with fruit would be. Showstopper. That canopy also provides cooling shade in the depths of summer and one more thing—the vine’s deep roots tap moisture in drought conditions making them an excellent choice for water-wise landscapes.

6. They play well with other vines.

Those sturdy, twisty, thick canes are the ideal host for a variety of other climbers such as roses, jasmine, trumpet vines, passion flower, clematis, or even annual vines. Combining vines can produce a stunning show from spring to fall (the grapevines in my own zone 9 yard are combined with pink jasmine and white Lady Banks roses—the show starts in February and doesn’t end until November). The trick is to get the balance of plants right. Two companion climbers for every grapevine is about right.

7. They’re so good for you.

Besides being easy to grow and prolific, grapes are a rich source of vitamins A, C, B6, and folate, and they contain essential minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron. Grapes are also loaded with phytonutrients such as resveratrol, which are now believed to play a role in longevity. All that and tasty, too.

8. They’re lovely winter, spring, summer and fall.

No matter the season, grapevines add interest and a sense of maturity to even a new garden. In winter, the vines have a rustic architectural quality often in contrast to the refined structure on which they’re twined. Spring brings bright, spearmint-green foliage, summer shows off those distinctive large leaves and come fall, those same leaves of many varieties turn rich red, gold, and amber. Even if they didn’t give you fruit, grapevines would still be an awesome garden plant.

9. They’re loved by beneficial insects.

Lady beetles and lacewings, wonderful insects that dine only on landscape pests and don’t harm good bugs or plants, will make a beeline for grapes particularly if you add a row of yarrow, catmint, purple coneflower, and penstemon nearby.

10. They’re humble-brag material.

As in, yes, that’s my own wine label. If you have the space and the right climate, you can grow grapes for making wine. There are three major types of grapes — American (Vitis labrusca) European (Vitis vinifera), and Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) as well as hybrids make from combining American and European varieties. It’s the European varieties, such as this Cabernet grape, which prefer a warm and dry Mediterranean-type climate (zones 7-10) with a longer growing season, that are used in making wine. Mature wine grapes produce about 12 pounds per vine, and it takes 40 pounds to make 12 bottles. You’re going to need a lot of vines, but, seriously, how cool would that be?

So, ready to plant? .

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Grapevines

It may come as a surprise to many gardeners, but grapes can be grown in the Chicago area. Vitis labrusca, the American grape, also known as the fox grape due to its pungent, “foxy” flavor, grows extremely well; and even one of the French hybrids can survive the Midwest’s cold winters. These little berries can be converted into juice, jellies, and jam. Some can be made into wine.

A grape is a berry, multiseeded with one ovary. Of all the small fruits grown in gardens, grapes and blueberries are the only true berries. Sometimes you hear grapes referred to as small fruits because of the size of the plant that produces them. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, and gooseberries are also categorized as small fruits for the same reason. Cherries are small, but are not referred to as small fruit because they grow on trees.

The perennial grapevine grows 12 to15 feet in height, with a 3- to 5-foot spread, depending how it is pruned, and is therefore a good choice for small spaces. It grows up and out of the way and can be trained on a fence, arbor or trellis, with plenty of room left to grow other plants. Some gardeners consider the shade or privacy produced by the vines as valuable as the fruit.

CHOOSING VARIETIES

After deciding the purpose for the grapevine — fresh fruit, jam, or wine, choose a variety that grows best in your area. Chicago is the most northerly zone for grape growing and, although there are some choices, there aren’t as many as southern gardeners have. Check to see what varieties other gardeners are growing. The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Information Service has recommendations for specific varieties hardy to Zone 5.

A few of the American grape cultivars recommended for juice are ‘Swenson Red’, ‘Niagara’, and ‘Steuben’. They offer good flavor and, when they’re ripe, their patriotic colors show — red, white, and blue, respectively. The seedless blue ‘Concord’ is a perfect grape for juice and jellies. ‘Marechal Foch’ is the only blue French hybrid that will grow in our region. It’s a hardy, productive blue grape and makes good wine. If you’re after raisins, the seedless, pinkish red ‘Reliance’ can be dried for that purpose.

SELECTING A SITE

When choosing a planting site, look for a sunny spot with excellent drainage and good air circulation, but no gale-force winds. Wind can cause much damage to crops. The fruit and vines can be injured, the soil will dry more quickly, and heavy winds can destroy the vine’s support.

Consider a soil test. The test will give you information on soil pH and soil structure, and recommend amendments, if necessary. Grapes aren’t too fussy about soil. They prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6, and grow well on sandy or clay soils. They don’t like wet feet. If the soil holds water after a storm for over 3 hours, it’s too wet. Move your site to one that drains in less time, or amend your soil at least one year before planting according to soil-test recommendations.

PLANTING AND PRUNING

Plant in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Prune out any broken roots on your small plant, and position the remaining roots in a hole large enough to give the roots plenty of room to grow. Set the plant at the same height as it grew at the nursery. Prune the above-ground growth to the single strongest stem, leaving only two buds. A sturdy, 2-foot-tall support will do for the first year, but a more permanent structure will be needed by the second year. The method for yearly pruning depends on the type of grape and the type of support. For specific pruning guidelines, consult Plant Information’s fact sheet #36, Pruning Grapevines.

Grapes can have a few problems. Downy or powdery mildew can threaten, especially during prolonged wet weather. Encourage airflow through the vines by annual pruning. Sanitation is key — regularly weed and remove fallen leaves or other plant debris that might harbor insects or disease. Leafhoppers and Japanese beetles can attack the foliage. Raccoons and birds are the two constant pests of grapes. Netting helps keep them at bay, and a radio left on constantly at harvest can help keep them at bay.

The rewards of viticulture are many: delicious fruit and all its byproducts; shade; privacy; and vivid fall foliage, ranging from yellow to gold to bronzy browns for table grapes and reds for wine grapes. Even the leaves are edible. Can you think of any other fruit that has so many virtues and takes up so little space?

Companion Planting With Grapes – What To Plant Around Grapes

Growing your own grapes is a rewarding hobby whether you’re a wine enthusiast, want to can your own jelly, or just want a shaded arbor to lounge under. To get the healthiest vines that produce the most fruit, consider companion planting with grapes. Plants that grow well with grapevines are those that lend a beneficial quality to the growing grapes. The question is what to plant around grapes?

Companion Planting with Grapes

Companion planting is an age old art of planting different plants in close proximity to each other to benefit one or both. There may be mutual benefits or only one plant may profit. They may repel pests and disease, nourish soil, provide shelter to beneficial insects, or shade other plants. Companion plants may act as natural trellises, retard weeds or help retain moisture.

There are a number of plants that grow well with grapevines. Be sure to choose companions for grapes that have similar growing requirements. That is, grapes need full sun with warm to moderately warm temperatures, consistent water and well-draining soil, so their companion plants should too.

What to Plant around Grapes

Excellent companions for grapes include:

  • Hyssop
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Blackberries
  • Clover
  • Geraniums
  • Peas

In the case of hyssop, bees love the flowers while the rest of the plant deters pests and improves the grape’s flavor. Geraniums also repel pests, such as leafhoppers. Blackberries provide shelter for beneficial parasitic wasps, which also kill leafhopper eggs.

Clover increases soil fertility. It is an excellent ground cover, green manure crop and nitrogen fixer. Legumes act in much the same way and can give you a second vertical crop yield by planting them once the grapevines are established. The beans then trellis up through them.

Other plants make good companions for grapevines due their pest repellant qualities. These include aromatic plants such as:

  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Tansy
  • Mint

Grapes don’t just get along with herbs and flowers. They do well planted under elm or mulberry trees and coexist peacefully.

Note: Just as people don’t always get along, such is the case with grapes. Grapes should never be planted near cabbage or radishes.

For centuries growers have been companion planting grapes to improve their crops. The Greeks and the Romans too, so if it’s good enough for the classics then it’s good enough for me as well.

Companion Planting Grapes

Grapes are not just a good source of fibre, they also contain many vitamins and minerals. But that’s not why they were popular in ancient times, no that was because they make great wine. That’s still true today but as with all plants the flavour, health and yield can be improved upon with companion planting.

What To Companion Plant With Grape Vines

There are a number of plants that are advantageous to grapes including:-

  • Hyssop
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Clover
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Tansy
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Geraniums
  • Sage

Hyssop

Grow Hyssop close to your grape vines to attract beneficial bees, whilst deterring most pest insects. Hyssop will also help to improve the flavour of your grapes.

Peas And Beans

Peas and Beans fix Nitrogen from the air so will not deplete the soil of this vital element. They will also grow around the stem of your grape vines thus saving space and helping to hide and protect the fruit from birds.

Clover

Clover is a member of the legume family (as are peas and beans) so will help to fix Nitrogen in the soil after it dies. It is also a good ground cover crop which will help to suppress weed growth. Clover will help improve the soil quality and as every gardener knows it’s the soil that makes the plant healthy.

The Rest Of The Bunch

All the other plants on the above list are all strong smelling plants and all have pest deterring properties and parasitic attracting qualities so the pests that aren’t put off will get predated.

Why Grow Roses With Grape Vines?

This question crops up every now and then, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer so here are the best I could find. Back in the day roses were planted at either end of a row of grapevines. One explanation is that even if the horses that drew the wagons along the rows couldn’t see the rows end they could smell the roses and knew it was time to turn.

The other and more likely reason is that roses and grapes share the same susceptibility to certain fungal diseases. The roses act as a type of early warning system to the presence of these fungal infections. Then action can be taken to prevent the disease from damaging the grape crop. Roses are more susceptible to Powdery mildew and downy mildew and will show signs of disease first allowing time to treat the grape vines and save the crop.

One of the best ways to prevent both of these mildews is to never water from above. Allow air to circulate around plants particularly if in poly tunnels or greenhouses.

Both grapevines and roses need constant moisture so that’s another reason to grow them together. Interestingly they both also benefit from being in companion with Lavender and Rosemary. If you decide to add lavender and rosemary give them at least 18-24 inches space from the roses and/or grapevines and of course they don’t require as much water.

Why Are Olives And Grapes Grown Together?

Keeping in mind where both plants originate, the answer to this question is easy to see. They both need similar conditions to grow, and are both harvested at roughly the same time. In Ancient times the olives were grown around the edges of the vineyards, maybe to protect the tender grapes from freak winds or storms.

Grapes and olives use the same presses to obtain juice/oil and as the grape harvest is usually finished just as the olives are ready to start pressing it makes sense to grow them together commercially.

What Not To Grow With Grapes

Everywhere I search all I can find is the advice that cabbages, radishes and Laurel should never be grown with grapes. I can’t however find any explanation for this but according to the Deipnosophistae of Atheneus written around 2,000 years ago, Wherever cabbages grow in a vineyard the wine produced is darker.

On the subject of this effect caused by the cabbage, Theophrastus also has written; he alleges that even the growing vine loathes the smell of cabbage.

From the Deipnosophistae of Atheneus translated by Penelope.uchicago.edu

So if it was good enough for probably the biggest wine experts ever it’s good enough for me. Cabbage and radish are both of course members of the brassica family so that probably explains it. No mention of other brassicas can be found in relation to grapevines.

Laurel is a highly poisonous plant originating from the Mediterranean and as it produces a black berry the reasoning behind not growing it anywhere grapes becomes obvious. Especially in the dark days of Rome “Et tu Brutae” and all that.

Grapevine Beetles

These relatives of the Scarab beetle are thankfully not a problem in the UK but if you live in the USA or Canada you’ll probably know all about them. They eat vine leaves and fruit and can be a serious problem. Keep the soil around your vines clear to prevent these beetles from hiding and breeding.

If you are unfortunate enough to have this problem, you can control them in the early stages by picking off individual beetles and drowning them in a bucket of soapy water. Once they have moved onto your vines fully more drastic action is needed.

Grapevine Beetle Spray

You can make an organic spray up to combat these pests. Just mix 2 chillies, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 drops of olive oil and 2 drops of washing up liquid. Strain the mixture into a spray bottle and completely coat each beetle with this spray,

This is best done early in the morning and hopefully once should be enough but if not repeat a few days later. I can’t stress enough that you really have to fully coat each beetle to kill it.

Why Companion Plant Grapes?

Given all the evidence of how beneficial growing plants in companion to aid plant growth and health, the question should really be why are you not companion planting grapes? The above techniques will improve the health, yield, and flavour of your grapes. These practises have been used for at least 2000 years with amazing results that have clearly stood the test of time.

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