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Hybridized grapes grow well in Utah

Published: Thursday, March 19 1998 12:00 a.m. MST

Grapes, among the most popular fruits in the world, are also very popular in Utah. Because so many kinds of grapes are available, it is important to become familiar with those varieties that grow well and produce good crops here.

The two major types of grapes sold in Utah are American and European. The references to their geographic origins are obvious, but the differences are more significant than simply where they originated.American grapes are "slip skin," meaning the skins separate easily from the flesh as we eat them. They are usually not especially sweet and are used extensively for making juice. The Concord is a typical American grape. These are very cold-hardy, and the vines are productive even with cold winters.

The skins of European grapes do not slip, and the varieties are usually sweeter than American grapes. Their primary use is as dessert grapes for fresh eating. They are not usually hardy in our area, and even if the plants survive the winter the vines often die. Thompson seedless is a typical European grape variety.

Since American-type grapes are cold-hardy and European varieties are more desirable, the best varieties would have the best qualities of both. Plant breeders have created combinations by hybridizing the two types. Some of the best for our area are these hybrids. American or juice varieties are further divided by color into purple or blue and white types.

Dessert varieties are divided into those with seeds and those with no seeds and by color into green, purple or blue and red.

Although both American and American/European hybrids grow here, remember these considerations when planting home vineyard.

There are other differences between the two types. American varieties have a natural resistance to powdery mildew, a serious fungal disease. European varieties are susceptible to the disease and the hybrids can also be affected. Spraying the plants when the new growth is 6, 12 and 18 inches long can control the disease. The best fungicide is Bayleton, although several other chemicals are registered for controlling mildew on grapes.

American varieties are likely to develop iron chlorosis. The leaves turn yellow and the veins remain green. If the problem persists, the leaves turn brown on the edges and the plants do not grow well or produce any grapes. Avoid planting American-type grapes on heavy clay soils and control the water carefully.

Grapes are drought tolerant and will never do well if watered the same as lawns are usually watered. If regulating the irrigation does not solve the problem, they may need applications of iron chelate. The most effective products are Sequestrene 138 and Millers Ferriplus Iron.

Plant grapes in full sun for best production. Although they grow in partial shade, they will not produce very well. They are also more likely to show problems with fungal diseases.

Select the varieties that are best for your location and that you like to eat. From personal experience I find that we like many kinds of grapes but we use more juice grapes. You can only eat so many fresh grapes at once when they start to ripen.

Green seedless grapes make acceptable raisins but they usually need to be dried in a fruit dryer.

Grapes are productive and relatively pest free. Use them for their ornamental beauty and for the wonderful harvest they will produce. Tasty, luscious, flavorful grapes are a treat to be relished, and growing them is all part of enjoying the time in your garden.

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Additional Information

GRAPE VARIETIES

JUICE GRAPES

Blue black Comment

Concord Most popular juice and jelly standard.

Buffalo Earlier than concord. Juice must age for best flavor.

Fredonia Later than Buffalo, ahead of Concord, same uses.

White juice

Canada Muscat Mild, foxy flavor. Early ripening.

Niagara Mistakenly called White Concord. Good flavor.

TABLE GRAPES

Red

Suffolk Large grape with excellent flavor. Clusters shatter.

Candice High quality. Large clusters.

White (make good raisins)

Interlaken Very early. Premature berry drop.

Himrod Early with loose clusters.

Lakemont Later than Himrod. Large clusters.

Black

Venus Large, early, excellent quality.

Glenora Less hardy than Venus.

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