Watering the grapes.

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by swamp man, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    I have some well-established muscadine vines,and only water them during periods of drought.They are on a slight slope,though,so when I water them,most of the water rolls downhill,above the ground,and not much penetrates the earth.Here's my plan-I want to build a little half-circle dam downhill from the grapes to help more of the water to make its way to the root system.So my question is-how far outside of the drip-line should I build the dam?I hope that's clear.Where ya' at,Woodspirit?
     
  2. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Well first of all any damage to the roots of plants can mean sudden death to plants that are established. I've known people who've sealed their driveways that are all alligatored and within a week all the large trees near the driveway were dead. Rocks and driveways tend to funnel water or make it more available in certain areas and when a tree or established plant lives with the water and air that those objects provide and then they grow over time and gain most of their requirements from those places, they become totally dependent on that water and air. Removing all the mulch from under an established tree or seal an old driveway, or sometimes even digging up the dirt and planting annuals under the drip line and it could have serious implications to an established tree. A young tree or plant doesn't have the concern about changes to it's soil environment because its roots are still able to supply the limited needs of its fewer leaves and branches. Every tree or plant becomes and creates its own ecosystem. Mulching around the plant will go a long way to slowing down and retaining the water and still allow air to reach the roots. You may consider laying down some blocks in a sem-circle and just put a shredded mulch in that. Add a little more mulch each year and that will get more water to stay where you want it. Make your semi-circle of pavers big enough so that over time as the plants get bigger it looks ok.
    PS. Using mulch around any plants you have will help hold water and keep the soil cool and moist in even the hottest driest weather. Water doesn't just come from the sky and work its way down to the roots. Capillary action moves water up down and sideways in the soil. If you lay a board on the ground it will always be wet underneath it even on dry soil. Water has a skin (meniscus) on it that helps it attach to particles of soil and enables it to move against gravity. Mulching creates good soil.
     

  3. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    Thanks,WS.I dont think Im in any danger of damaging roots with my plan.My plan is to bring some clay home from work,and just pack it on top of the ground,just a few inches high(it's a very slight slope,on well-drained sandy dark loam)on the downhill side of the slope,in hopes of slowing the flow of water enough to give it more opportunity to percolate down to the roots.No digging around the roots will be require.I always keep everything out here heavily mulched with pine straw.I dont know how far out the roots extend,so I'm mostly trying to figure out how far downhill from the dripline to make the dam.When I plant fruit trees/blueberry bushes here,I make little rings like this around the base of the tree at planting,and it sure seems to help get the water where it needs to go.
     
  4. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We mulch all our grapes with a good foot or so of wood chips. If it gets reallly droughty we pull back and just water at the actual plants and it doesn't run off with all this mulch. Discovered the one on our fence is a muscadine...what are they good for? Juice? Wine? All our others are Concord for the 100+ qts. juice we make each year. DEE who heard that crazy weather has really knocked alot of wine grapes out in NY,Mich
     
  5. swamp man

    swamp man Well-Known Member

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    I like 'em right off the vine.They do make super wine,but I've never made any myself.Muscadine jelly is absolutely fantastic.I've never had muscadine juice,but it's worth a try.