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Irrigation/Watering Schedule - Michigan - Marquette Vines

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JeremyK

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Hi. New to the forum and have a couple questions regarding watering/irrigation of first year plants. ~50 vines of Marquette.

My location is right on the eastern coast of Lake MI (or west coast of the state of MI). Temperatures are moderate and we get an average of roughly 3" of rain per month in this area throughout the growing season. However, I'm essentially on an old sand dune and on a 40 degree slope. Approximately 2/3rds of the vineyard is sandy loam with fine gravel but the other 1/3 is pretty much beach sand with a thin layer of topsoil. Some, if not all all areas have a clay layer at about 4' depth. This sandy area does support vegetation, but it is limited to crown vetch, dune grass, and some other drought resistant grasses. The soil is VERY well drained.

We might get 3" of rain per month in the summer, but sometimes that comes all at once with nothing for 2-3 weeks (or more) at a time. My fear is that by late July/Aug my new plants will not have established enough root system to survive.

Can anyone point me to a 1st and 2nd year watering schedule for new plants? I'd like to better understand how many gallons/day/plant...and how often at different stages of growth/development....just something to get me in the ballpark. Depending on how well the plants are doing after the first 2-3 years, I may transition to a deficit watering schedule or eliminate watering all together.
 

JeremyK

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I did come across this paper/report...but obviously it's geared toward the California Central Valley. In Michigan, Spring is quite wet with plenty of rain through the end of May. We really only have two months that I would be concerned about...though I would assume that in sand, the vines would appreciate a drink in June as well.
 

Vern

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I also planted marquette vines in very sand soil. The first year I watered about one gallon of water per week, if it didn't rain. All grew well. The second year I didn't water the vines did poorly. Now if it doesn't rain for two weeks I give them water. Seems to work ok.
 

montanarick

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until you get a real hand on your situation I'd suggest you keep a close watch on the vines. Tendrils at the end of shoots will let you know when the plants start to get stressed from lack of water. The tendrils should look healthy and extend a couple of inches from the growing tip to indicate a happy plant with enough water. On the other hand you can install soil moisture monitors and there's lot's of online info on that subject. Good luck with your new Marquettes
 

wood1954

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On my sandy soil when I do water I would give each plant 1 minute from a hose, that’s about 4 gallons. With the really sandy soil you have you might have to water that much every week forever. Good luck.
 

JeremyK

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On my sandy soil when I do water I would give each plant 1 minute from a hose, that’s about 4 gallons. With the really sandy soil you have you might have to water that much every week forever. Good luck.
I came to a similar conclusion, which is why I went ahead with a full irrigation system. If I don't need it after four years, fine...but if I do, it's there and paid for. Luckily, small scale irrigation is pretty cheap.

The tricky part for me is that my little vineyard is located at a vacation rental property that I own. Therefore, I'm not physically on-site through most of the growing season (late June/July/Aug) and will be relying on an outdoor WiFi camera, a soil moisture sensor (maybe), WiFi faucet controller, and weather station to manage things.

I'll have to work in a few trips to the property to manage the vines throughout the season but I'm always looking for a good excuse to get up to Frankfort. :) Eventually, I'll retire here but that's a way off still.
 

VinesnBines

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I'm trying to manage my vineyard on a part time basis as well. We are absent about 10 days to 2 weeks at a time. Water is rarely my worry but Japanese Beetles are the biggest risk. Although I have mostly hybrids, including Marquette, I keep a regular spray schedule for disease. I had powdery mildew on my Marquette last summer so they are not completely immune.

Weather gauges are a great help but Japanese Beetles will defoliate young vines in a matter of days. Make sure you have someone watching or you are checking when they are due to arrive. Spraying helps keep them under control.
 

JeremyK

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Yes, keeping an eye on the vines is going to be a challenge. I've had issues with JB at my home near metro Detroit. Stripped the all the leaves off of several hops plants and removed a few from some Concord grapes that I was growing.

Honestly, I didn't fully appreciate how much "spray" intervention was needed for grapes until I really started reading up on this stuff. That might be a whole other thread but certainly open to discussing here if anyone has suggestions. I want a healthy vineyard, but I also am going for a minimalist approach to spraying (if possible).
 

VinesnBines

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How long does it take to get to and from the property? Can you make the round trip in one day and have a few hours in the vines? Remember you have to have a weed management plan (weed eating is okay but not close to the vines). We mow and use herbicides (I didn't want to spray - see below - but have no choice).

I was just like you; hybrids and minimalist approach to spraying. I was confused about sprays and recognizing disease. I've learned a tremendous amount in a couple years and recognizing the various diseases is not as daunting as I expected. So my advice is to plan on spraying some and every two weeks is a good schedule. Check out this thread from this summer. One grower is in Ann Arbor.
 

JeremyK

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How long does it take to get to and from the property? Can you make the round trip in one day and have a few hours in the vines? Remember you have to have a weed management plan (weed eating is okay but not close to the vines). We mow and use herbicides (I didn't want to spray - see below - but have no choice).

I was just like you; hybrids and minimalist approach to spraying. I was confused about sprays and recognizing disease. I've learned a tremendous amount in a couple years and recognizing the various diseases is not as daunting as I expected. So my advice is to plan on spraying some and every two weeks is a good schedule. Check out this thread from this summer. One grower is in Ann Arbor.
Great read. Thanks for sharing. I've bookmarked it.

For first year vines, is there any need to apply anything (fungicides or otherwise) or can I just let them grow? By not treating, do I risk carrier over of any diseases into next year?
 

JeremyK

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"How long does it take to get to and from the property? Can you make the round trip in one day and have a few hours in the vines?"

I'm about four hours away during most of the summer, however my parents have a place that's only about two hours away. Looks like I'll probably be making a one or two mid-summer visits between guests to perform light pruning and disease treatment.
 

VinesnBines

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For first year vines, is there any need to apply anything (fungicides or otherwise) or can I just let them grow? By not treating, do I risk carrier over of any diseases into next year?
I didn't spray my first year vines regularly and they did okay, however, 2019 was a really dry year for us. I began a more regular spray in 2020 because I was learning and it was extremely wet. You can try going without fungicides and see how they do. Marquette is the variety that is (supposedly) the best for minimal or no-spray. In my vineyard, Marquette was just as susceptible as the other varieties to powdery mildew and the Japanese Beetles loved it just as much.
 

VinesnBines

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I'm about four hours away during most of the summer, however my parents have a place that's only about two hours away. Looks like I'll probably be making a one or two mid-summer visits between guests to perform light pruning and disease treatment.
Fifty vines won't take a lot of time; a few hours every couple of weeks. You will want to spray early in the day when less windy to keep down the drift .
 

tom6922

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Jeremy, I would not be too concerned with spraying year 1, I’m a Michigan grower and have started many new vines. Japanese beetles here in SE Mich are a real pest, but I have spoken to growers up north that have not seen them yet, but not sure about Frankfort area. I hit them with 2 applications about 10 days apart in July and that takes care of 90% of them. My Marquette is primarily susceptible to black rot in May to early July, and just a bit of PM in September. A proper spray schedule, especially in early season is a must. I apply protectant (vs systemic) fungicides, so I monitor rainfall and spray either every 10 days or after 2” of rainfall. I have learned the hard way that even a few days delay after a rain can result in a lot of crop loss. Same goes for birds, got to get those nets on soon after veraison starts, or I can kiss the entire crop goodbye.
 

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