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The vines that I'm looking into produce black grapes.

  • assuming you want to crop the grapes, maybe only one, possibly two - depends on the mature height and spread of the variety you choose. Got a varietal name? – Bamboo Jan 31 at 19:39
  • The vines I'll be using are already established vines and are to be removed for transportation as their original site has gotten too shady because of construction around. The only thing I know is that they're quite old and that they produce black grapes with beautiful fall colour. I want the vines to spread all around, completely covering the roof of the pergola. – Hamid Sabir Jan 31 at 20:02
  • 18 feet by 13 feet - is the height 13 feet and the length of the top 18 feet? If so, what's the width measurement across the top? And how long have the vines been in situ where they are? – Bamboo Jan 31 at 21:10
  • 18 ft long, 13 feet wide and 8 ft in height. And I honestly don't know as to how long they've been there. They were planted by the previous owner and the new owner isn't all that sure as how old they are either but like I said, they are established vines with trunks taller then myself able to produce fruit except for a few that arnt doing too well because a newly constructed house has blocked sunlight from reaching them. They're the one's that are to be transported. – Hamid Sabir Jan 31 at 23:46
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This link https://homeguides.sfgate.com/tall-can-grape-vines-grow-65427.html gives some guidance regarding planting, as well as training and pruning. The usual advice is to plant 6-9 feet apart in rows 8-12 feet apart, but you're growing them on a pergola (or arbour) so that doesn't really apply. You will note from the link that a vine grown on a pergola will need 75-100 square feet of space to thrive - I'll leave you to do the math on that!

I do have strong reservations about how successful digging up those vines and trying to replant them will be; it sounds as if they've been in situ for some years, so the root systems will be pretty large, and root damage is inevitable, to the point it's likely to be fatal. I'd recommend working out how many vines you can accommodate (I still think probably two at most, but really there's only enough space for one mature vine on your pergola) and buying what you need and planting new.

  • Thanks a lot. What's interesting is that when I posted this question on a different forum, the advise i got was to go for 6 vines with 2 additional posts in the middle for the pergola of the size I've mentioned. I understand the problem with digging out mature plants but those vines may eventually die being in the condition that they're in already without adequate sunlight. How deep and wide should I dig around the vines? Is 2ft okay? – Hamid Sabir Feb 1 at 14:25
  • Start there, but use a fork rather than a spade - that way, you can 'feel' through the fork where the roots are rather than chopping through them with a spade, and you'll then know whether you need to go further out or deeper down to extract as many intact roots as possible. The square feet quoted in that article for vines on an arbor equates to only enough space for one mature vine with a little spare, if you worked it out... – Bamboo Feb 1 at 22:52
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I would plant two grape vines.

The reasoning:

  1. Vines can growth large, one is also enough

  2. I prefer two to have a back up (especially if you plant very small vines

  3. With such small surface, you do no need professional plantation (see as: minimizing overall costs [easy pruning without ladder, easy to use machines [grass, harvest, antiparassitic, etc.).

  4. They should not have much competition (between nearby, for roots and sun). The problem with larger (and few) plants: one could prevail. But with few plants and space this should not be a big problem (and you can see the problem and prune more).

  5. Lifetime. This is a problematic point. Actual grafted plants do not have a very long life. I do not think this is a problem on pergolas, and if one die, you may replace it. The other one could also be a temporary substitute for the shadow. Additionally I assume you are looking for grapes to eat: such varieties may have less that problem (e.g. often not grafted: there are good vine grapes which are not Vitis vinifera. Not so good to wine [a foxy taste], but often preferred varieties to eat) )

But i would also check how you will do the pergola (the structure). Often symmetry is better (visually) than the optimal number. To 5-6 (maybe also 9) could be manageable. Pruning would be more difficult, and with more than 2 or 3 plants, I would in any case use only one variety.

  • Thanks a lot. I've opted to go for bamboo wood for my pergola due to financial constraints at the moment. It's going to be very similar to the one you'll find in the link below. Would you change any thing to the overall design? As far as the size is concerned, do you think i need to add a few feet more to the width? What would make the ideal ratio here? google.com/… – Hamid Sabir Feb 1 at 15:07

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