Grapevines are typically propagated by hardwood cuttings. Since large, established grapevines are difficult to transplant, hardwood cuttings can also be used to save older plants.
Hardwood cuttings are taken from the dormant vines of the previous season's growth. The best time to collect cutting material is late February or March. (Late February and March is also the proper time to prune grapevines. Gardeners can make hardwood cuttings from their pruning debris.) Cuttings should be approximately pencil-size in thickness and 12 inches long. The bottom cut should be just below the lowest bud while the upper cut should be 1 to 2 inches above the top bud.
If the ground is still frozen, loosely tie the cuttings in a bundle, place them in a plastic bag with some damp peat moss, then store them in a cool location, such as a refrigerator or garage.
As soon as the soil is workable in the spring, remove the cuttings from storage and set them in the ground vertically with the top bud just above the soil surface. Water the cuttings during dry periods in spring and summer. Approximately half the cuttings should root and grow. These plants can be transplanted to their permanent location before growth begins the following spring.
This article originally appeared in the March 5, 1999 issue, p. 20.