How to feed grapes in the fall
Any cultivated and especially fruiting plant needs a sufficient amount of nutrients that can get into the soil in the form of organic fertilizing or mineral fertilizers. However, is it worth it to fertilize grapes before the onset of winter and how to properly perform this procedure in general - this will be discussed in this article.
Do I need to feed grapes in the fall
Fertilizing plants during the growing season is an important condition for a good harvest, but this does not mean that in the cold season grapes will not need enough nutrients.
After removing the clusters, nutrients can be applied to the soil twice:
- in early September, by foliar dressing with the use of superphosphate, ash, manganese, iron and zinc (increase the plant's immunity before the onset of cold weather);
- in early October with the use of rotted organics (it contains a large amount of phosphorus and potassium).
The best option for applying autumn fertilizers is root top dressing, providing for the organization of small holes at a distance of 50 cm from the bush. The depth of such pits can be about 30 cm.
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In determining the specific timing of feeding the grapes, it is important to take into account the season of the year and the physicochemical reactions characteristic of it that take place in the plant itself.
In this regard, we can distinguish the following, most suitable time for fertilizing the soil:
- early spring before fruiting buds or early autumn, shortly after harvest;
- preparatory stage before planting grape seedlings (compositions designed for long-term activity are introduced);
- time of planting seedlings or grafted cuttings;
- the growing season of the plant (top dressing of grapes can be performed regularly, that is, 1 time in 3-4 weeks).
In the spring, before removing the covering material, grapes can be fertilized with complex mineral compounds, repeating the procedure several weeks before the flowering of the vine. If there are no mineral nutrients, then they will be replaced by organic slurry from rotted manure.
Phosphorus-potash fertilizers can be applied to the soil a week before the ripening of berries, and potash nutritional compounds will also be appropriate after a mass harvest of grapes.
Important! Between the use of organic and mineral fertilizers, at least a month should pass. Do not overfeed the grapes and always strictly observe the dosage, otherwise the growth and development of the green part will exceed the quality and size of the fruits themselves.
Type of fertilizer and dosage
All possible fertilizers for grapes can be divided into two main groups: organic and mineral nutritional compounds. Each of them has its own specific effect on the plant organism, so it is so important to immediately take into account the characteristics of a particular mixture.
Organic fertilizers contain the remains of decomposed substances and are often presented in the form of manure, compost, the remains of siderat plants and shredded waste used as mulch:
- Manure (usually cow). The mineral components present in it increase the immunity of grapes in terms of resistance to diseases and contribute to the formation of delicious fruits, and the organic part of the composition improves the mechanical properties of the substrate, so that it becomes loose and perfectly passes air.
- Humus (compost). It has a beneficial effect on the structure of the soil, but to increase the effectiveness of its use it is worth mixing the substance with straw or manure, which will make the composition of the fertilizer more balanced. Such top dressing is suitable for grapes in any type of substrate.
- Siderat plants. They are used only in regions with high humidity, because they can take away the moisture it needs from the culture. Typically, low-growing vegetation is planted in the vineyards, departing from the bush by at least 50-60 cm. It can be legumes (for example, peas, vetch or lupine), which will decompose when digging the soil, and enrich the substrate with useful organic substances.
- Mulch from crushed food waste (for example, cake from a juicer), which are already under the influence of microorganisms. First, the soil surface near the plant is covered with small food residues, and larger vegetation is laid on top in the form of dead branches, vines and leaves. At the end of the mulching procedure, you can cover everything with straw. Most often, feeding grapes in this way is performed only when planting young cuttings, in order to simultaneously protect them from winter frosts and possible diseases.
It will also be useful for you to find out how to water the grapes correctly and how often in the summer.
Mineral fertilizing is often sold in the form of ready-made mixtures designed to accelerate the ripening of berries and strengthen the immunity of grapes after various manipulations with it.
Among the important micro and macro elements in this case, it is worth highlighting:
- Nitrogen - increases the rate of protein formation in grape cells, which means that the vegetative parts of the plant will develop much faster than without fertilizer. Nitrogen-containing mixtures are best used in the spring, during the intensive formation of green mass on the vine. To saturate the soil with nitrogen, gardeners usually choose ammonium nitrate and urea.
- Potassium - provides the rapid development and ripening of grape fruits, which is explained by the accumulation of sugars and increased metabolic processes within the culture. In addition, she needs potassium in preparation for the winter cold, so in this case, it is worth using potassium chloride.
- Magnesium is one of the essential components for the isolation of chlorophyll by grapes, which plays a primary role in the process of photosynthesis of green leaves. Deficiency of this element leads to yellowing and final death of the leaves.
- Phosphorus - necessary during the formation of inflorescences and ovaries, so superphosphates must be applied immediately before the start of the flowering period of grapes.
- Calcium - takes an active part in the formation of a strong root system, therefore it is indispensable for young seedlings.
- Boron - increases the sweetness of grape fruits and accelerates their ripening. It is usually applied to the soil as boric acid.
- the first group usually includes potassium chloride, urea and superphosphate;
- the second is attributed to preparations with two active micro or macro components (can be prepared by combining two simple substances);
- the third includes both macro- and microelements, and the number of such components is not limited.
Important! Chlorine for grapes is very harmful, so wood ash can be used as an acceptable alternative.
So, in addition to nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, in the latter case boron, manganese, sulfur, magnesium and iron are usually used, and their ratio is so balanced that it allows saturating the grapes in exactly the amount that it needs. Observing the requirements for the dosage of complex fertilizers, you can not worry about saturation of the soil with nutrients.
Those who do not want to use chemicals to feed the grapes should pay attention to folk recipes for the preparation of fertilizers.
In this case, the key elements of such compositions will be:
- Ash - contains potassium, calcium, phosphorus, as well as some trace elements that will be useful to the plant both in an independent form and in combination with superphosphate. Especially valuable ash will be on acidic soils, although on neutral soils it can bring a lot of benefits, especially since for the good effectiveness of this substance it is enough just to sprinkle it around grape bushes or mix it with water and use it to spray the leaves of the crop.
- Egg shells are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which the plant root system needs so much. All these elements easily dissolve in the substrate and are absorbed by the roots in almost full form. In addition to this, such a product enhances soil fertility and gives it alkalinity. However, to prepare a suitable nutrient fertilizer, it is desirable to use a shell of raw eggs, which did not have time to lose some of their beneficial properties during heat treatment. First you need to rinse it well under running water, dry in the oven and grind thoroughly, you can until the state of flour. The resulting powder is used on the principle of ash (scattered under bushes or powder plants), and also added to other organic or mineral nutritional compounds.
- Yeast is a good regulator of the state of soil microflora. Baking varieties are best suited for fertilizing grapes, which after stirring in warm water (100 g per 1 bucket of water) are first left overnight, and then the mixture is used to water the grape bush. In this case, at least 2 liters of such fertilizer is consumed per adult plant.
How to properly feed grapes
The correct selection of nutritional composition is only half the success on the road to achieving the desired result. An equally important component of high-quality fertilizer will be the correctly selected method of making nutrients.
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Both mineral and organic components can get into the substrate by the root or extra root method, the features of which are worth knowing in advance.
On average, for one season, grapes should receive at least three to five root dressings.
For the first time, the soil is fertilized in spring upon reaching steady temperatures of + 15 ° C. At this time, mainly mineral compositions are used: for example, a mixture of 10 l of water, 20 g of superphosphate, 5 g of potassium salt and 10 g of ammonium nitrate.
If there are no mineral fertilizers, then organic matter can also be used: by dissolving 1 kg of manure in 1 bucket of water. After 1–1.5 months, at the stage of growing green mass of grapes, a second top dressing is carried out, and a few more weeks later a third, which will contribute to better ripening of the vine and the formation of inflorescences.
In the latter cases, the same mineral mixture can be used as a nutritional composition as at the initial stage, but with the addition of boric acid (not more than 5 g).
Further, the infusion is diluted with water to obtain 12 l of working solution, and then poured under grape bushes. The specified amount of the nutrient mixture should be sufficient for not less than 1 m² of territory.
Important! It is better not to use chicken droppings for spring feeding, but if there is no cow at the moment, then make sure that the concentration of the composition is insignificant: take no more than 50 g of bird droppings with 10 ml of obligatory infusion for 10 days.
You can repeat organic dressing in the spring, but it is desirable to reduce the amount of manure in the nutrient mixture.
In any case, pouring the nutrient composition under the bush is better not at the trunk itself, but a little stepping away from it, which will protect the grape roots from burns and contribute to an even distribution of nutrient components.
Foliar top dressing
Along with root dressing in central Russia and Ukraine, foliar methods of applying nutrients are often used, that is, by spraying grapes from a spray bottle.
Due to the large surface area of leaf blades, useful substances also quickly enter the body of the plant and contribute to increasing its productivity and frost resistance (if we are talking about winter processing).
If you wish, you can combine the application of fertilizer with the preventive treatment of grape diseases, but not before the appearance of flowers. 2-3 weeks before the beginning of flowering, it is better to spray the bushes with phosphorus fertilizers with sugar or glycerin added to them, which will provide better preservation of the substance on the vine leaves.
Features of mulching
Mulching the soil is one of the most important actions when growing cultivated plants. In the case of grapes, applying a layer of mulch around the seedlings will help increase fruiting and reduce the consumption of moisture and nutrients that can be washed along with groundwater or evaporated by the sun.
To obtain a positive result from the procedure, a layer of mulch with a thickness of only 5-10 cm will be sufficient, in the role of which straw, sawdust, peat and fallen leaves of trees can be used. They can cover grapes during the winter cold, only when choosing the right material, it is important to make sure that there are no pests in it and that it is possible to ensure the proper level of air exchange.
Some of the nuances of feeding grapes may come as a surprise for experienced gardeners as well as for "dummies" in the field of growing this crop, therefore, in order not to spoil the future crop, it is worth considering certain features of the plant fertilizing process in advance:
- With the diameter of the trunk circle within 40–80 cm, the laying of fertilizers should be carried out to a depth of 20–50 cm.
- The depth of nutritional composition also depends on the age of the grapes: the older it is, the greater this value will be.
- Spring top dressing should be performed only with the help of liquid nutrients, with preliminary moistening of the soil.
- Autumn top dressing can be either “dry” or “liquid”.
- Chicken droppings should be laid in the soil only in liquid form.
- Before using ash as a fertilizer, at least 4 buckets of clean water should first be poured into the drainage pit.
- Before spraying grapes with fertilizers from a spray bottle, it is important to first study the weather forecast, otherwise it is highly likely that the preparations used will be washed away by rain and do not have time to have a positive effect on the culture.
As you can see, all these requirements cannot be called difficult to fulfill, but observing them you will get a tasty and plentiful grape harvest, which is already a good incentive to fulfill them. Otherwise, the process of fertilizing the plant should not be accompanied by any difficulties.