Propagate Concord Grape cuttings

Asked August 23, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT

We live in zone 8b Pacific Northwest.

I want to plant and grow Concord Grapes for eating
and wish to use all Organic methods with no pesticides.

Question:
If I take cuttings off from an 8 year old grape vine and propagate roots on that cutting do I now have an 8 year old seedling that will produce grapes within a year or two or do I have a brand new seedling that will take 3 to 4 years to produce?

Thanks for your help
Dave B.

Pierce County Washington grapes viticulture

1 Response

Dear Dave,

When you take cuttings from a plant, you are vegetatively propagating that plant; thus it will have similar age properties as the parent plant. With cuttings, however, you may not get fruit the first year or two, depending on growing conditions. Most people like to encourage root development the first few years of growth, which is why commercial vineyards do not allow the plants to produce fruit until year 3 or 4. In addition, the production of clusters is also temperature dependent, and takes 2 seasons..... in season 1, clusters are being formed inside buds. When those buds break in year 2 to form shoots, the clusters also emerge, and that is the season they will flower and ripen fruit. The process of developing clusters in year 1 is temperature dependent.... .if it is too cool clusters will not develop for year 2. This was the case in 2011 and 2012 in areas such as Pierce county, because 2010 and 2011 were cooler summers. Grapes can struggle in Maritime climates in some years because of those weather patterns, and Concord does need some winter chilling to ensure proper development the following spring (in most years you will get that winter chilling, but in some years, you won't, and you will have very uneven budbreak and flowering the following year).

Seedlings (derived from seeds), often take well over 6+ years to produce their first fruit, as they go through a period of juvenility (which cuttings do not do). Also due to potential cross-pollination (an event that is pretty rare in cultivated grapes), seedlings may not be the same variety as the parent.

If you want to learn more about how grapevines produce flowers and fruit, there is a nice article on the process at eViticulture.org: http://www.extension.org/pages/31097/parts-of-the-grape-vine:-flowers-and-fruit#.VdtC45fw5SA

Cheers,

Michelle