Did you know you can create more grape vines from the pruning cuts you make from your established vines? It’s quite easy. Just make sure you’re not propagating a patented vine first. There are several ways to propagate grape vines, but hardwood cuttings are one of the easiest. I’ll discuss this method.
After the grapes are dormant, do your pruning as you normally would but save some of the healthier, larger vines. Cut the vines into 12” sticks, making sure there are at least three buds. I like to cut the sticks, so the bottom cut is right next to a bud and the top cut is about an inch above the top bud. This helps you remember which way is right-side-up and protects the top bud.
Then store the cuttings in a bag with some damp peat moss in the fridge until spring. Peat moss is a good propagation media for a few reasons. Is holds moisture well, its low pH keeps it from getting moldy and rotten, and it hold enough nutrients to get the roots started.
About a week or two before the last frost, plant the cuttings in the ground where you ultimately want the new vine. At least four inches of the cutting should be in the ground with one or two buds above the ground. I don’t like to leave more than one bud above ground because more top foliage taxes the delicate new root system. Water the cutting well for the first year. Those cuttings dry out fast.
Some folks like to start the cuttings in a greenhouse or a pot and then transplant the plant in late spring after hardening it off. I don’t do that here in Wyoming. Firstly, because it just adds one more step and therefore one more opportunity for me to kill the plant. Secondly, because the Wyoming wind and unfiltered UV are so intense, I’ve found the “hardening off” period to be devastating to the young plants. I also don’t have time to progressively move a plant outside every day for two weeks. Forget that. Instead, I just put them straight into the ground and the ones that survive, survive. I’ve had great luck with this method.
This procedure works great for tons of different plants. I’ve also successfully done it with willows, apples, various poplars, roses, and a few other fruit trees. Might as well try it, you’ve got nothing to lose.