Planting and Early Care

Prepare the soil and adjust pH and nutrient levels as indicated by a soil test the season before planting (see "Before You Begin," page 1). Plant purchased vines in spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Space vines a minimum of 8 feet apart both within and between rows, digging a hole large enough to spread out roots sufficiently.

After trimming away broken or excessively long roots, lay out the root system in the hole and cover completely with soil. Planting depth should be the same as in the nursery, usually about 2 to 3 inches above the root level. Remove all but the best single cane and tie it to a stake or the bottom wire of a trellis to hold it erect. This cane will become the trunk. It won't grow straight without support.

After several weeks, buds should begin to grow. When the new shoots are about 10 inches long, remove all but the strongest as well as any other shoots that arise from the trunk. Also remove any flower clusters or side shoots as the single cane grows.

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