Prairie Star Grape Vine- Zone 3
Characteristics of the tree
Prairie Star is pale whitish green in colour and medium in size. It is a high-quality table grape, with about two seeds per grape, growing in long loose clusters. The fruit is agreeably flavoured with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. We find that the taste reminds us of the flavours of honey and apple. As well as being used in fresh eating, it makes a flavourful juice and is used in wine-making. Prairie star generally ripens in mid-season, around late September.
Prairie Star is very vigorous and cold-resistant, tolerant of temperatures as low as – 38°C. It is moderately productive and self-fertile, though production will be improved with a pollinator. The vine also displays good disease resistance overall, apart from a moderate susceptibility to Black Rot and Anthracnose.
Like so many other hardy grapevines, we owe Prairie Star to the stellar work of Elmer Swenson, in Wisconsin. He developed this variety in the 1980s, from a cross between ES 2-7-13 and ES 2-8-1 (one a French grape vine, the other American). It was later released after testing around the year 2000.
Like all vines, grape vines are of the nature to climb on a nearby support, gripping onto it by their tendrils. The support you provide will, to a great degree, determine the growth of your grape vine (i.e., it will not grow any taller than its supporting structure). This illustration shows a grape vine growing horizontally along a fence. You could also choose a pergola or another form of support.
Bear in mind also that you should not allow your vine to grow unrestrained as much as it pleases, if you wish to harvest a good amount of fruit. It should be properly pruned each year after it begins to produce.
All our grape vines are sold bare-root, without pots. They have been cultivated directly in our soil. Bare-root trees must be taken out of the ground and shipped during their period of dormancy, which is why we only ship trees in the spring. A big advantage with these kinds of trees is that they take up very little space, and can therefore be easily shipped by mail all over Canada!
This photograph shows a 1-2-foot grape vine, just like one that you might receive. It’s worth noting that grape vines are among the plants that are the latest to open their buds – so don’t panic if your vine seems to take longer than normal to break dormancy after you plant it.
When planning where to plant your grapevines and what kind of supporting structure to use, you might want to consider the possibility of laying down the vines under the snow for the winter. While all the cultivars we offer are hardy to at least zone 4, and therefore should not need extra protection for winter, we prefer to be on the safe side. Therefore, after we have pruned our grapevines in fall, we lay down the branches on the ground so that they will be insulated by the snow during the winter. We designed our fence with this in mind: you can see how we made it here. This might not be necessary in warmer zones, but is something you should consider if you are in zone 4a or colder.