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Garden Help Desk: Jupiter and Marquis grapes are vine alternatives

By Usu Extension - | Apr 17, 2021
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Jupiter grapes are popular for their robust flavor and for their thinner, non-bitter skin.

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Marquis grapes are a great addition to a home garden where green grapes are preferred.

Question: Which table grapes are the preferred varieties for this area? I know Himrod and Canadice seem to be the most common green and red varieties at the local nurseries. I heard there was a grape trial going on. Did that or anything else point to any additional types. Any black varieties do well in this area?

Answer: One of Utah County’s USU Extension Associate Professors of Horticulture is conducting a grape cultivar trial at Thanksgiving Point. You ‘ve mentioned Canadice and Himrod, so I assume you’re interested in seedless table grapes. There are several table grape cultivars being evaluated in the trial, including the popular varieties Canadice and Himrod, plus some you probably haven’t heard of.

By far, one of the most popular and promising seedless table grapes in the trial is the cultivar Jupiter, a dark reddish-blue grape. Its robust flavor, good size and thin, non-bitter skin have made it a favorite during evaluations.

If you’re looking for a green grape to take the place of Himrod you might consider the table grape cultivar Marquis. Tasters ranked it as high as Himrod during evaluations.

The red grape Canadice has ranked well in the trial, and Einset, although not included in the trial, is highly recommended in the red table grape category. Another recommended cultivar that isn’t included in the trial is Vanessa. It’s a good choice for home growers who want a pink seedless table grape. The berries on the Vanessa are smaller than the berries on many other popular grape cultivars, but they’re very mild and sweet.

Jupiter and Marquis aren’t as common as the local favorites, so you might or might not find one of these at our local nurseries, but they are available through online nurseries and catalogs.

Don’t be limited by grape color; taste, texture and skin characteristics should be your guide. Most of the table grapes that are described as black are actually just dark purple. There isn’t a horticulture standard for grape color names, so you may see the same grape variety described as reddish-blue, black, purple or blue in different catalogs or variety lists. It’s best to refer to photos to confirm you’ll be getting the color you’re looking for instead of simply relying on a printed description.

Question: I heard that some people replace their lawns with all clover lawns because the miniature clover lawns use less water and fertilizer. How successful are clover lawns here in Utah, especially in Utah County where I live? Are clover lawns viable in Utah? Are there any downsides to having a clover lawn?

Answer: I haven’t had any feedback from people with all-clover lawns, so I can’t tell you how successful an all-clover lawn would be, but there are successful lawns in our area that are a blend of miniature clover and traditional turf grasses.

If you want to try establishing an all-clover lawn the main issue to consider is how much traffic there will be on the lawn- foot traffic, bicycles, pets, parked vehicles. Clover doesn’t tolerate wear and tear and that’s why it’s usually blended with turfgrass, which is tougher. If you were hoping to use it in an area where children play or there’s frequently similar use in that area an all-clover lawn won’t be a good choice for you.

There are several ways to reduce water use in a lawn. If water conservation is your goal, here are some tips:

Manage watering. You’ll help your lawn develop deeper roots if you don’t start watering your lawn until it needs it. This usually happens at the end of April or very early May. Water deeply once you do water and space out the first 2-3 waterings by about 7-10 days. Then begin to gradually decrease the interval between waterings until you’re watering deeply about once every 3-7 days (depending on your soil, the weather and the time of year).

Mow taller. Taller grass blades equal deeper grass roots. Deeper roots will help the lawn go longer between waterings. The shade from taller grass blades also will slow down evaporation from the grass and the soil.

Don’t over-fertilize. Excess nitrogen stimulates lush, rapid growth that uses more water. Enough is good but more isn’t better.

Use the mulching feature on your mower. Dropping the clippings back onto your lawn will slow evaporation from the soil and also slowly release nitrogen as the clippings break down.

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