Amur grapes - the most frost-resistant
When I moved to Komsomolsk-on-Amur, I could not imagine how many botanical discoveries this harsh land would give me. The richest taiga with the most amazing plants for me, a native of the Moscow Region: honeysuckle, blueberries, actinidia (locally referred to as quiche-mish), lemongrass, aralia, manchurian nut ... And the cherry on the cake is the grape that grows in the forest! Here about this amazing, very frost-resistant Amur grape and I will tell in my article.
Where did grapes come from in the Far East?
Amur grapes (Vítis amurensis) remained in the Far East from the pre-Ice Age, when there were subtropics in these places. The Far East itself experienced the ice age itself more easily than, for example, the European part. The conditions, apparently, were milder, which allowed the representatives of the subtropical flora to survive: Amur grapes, ginseng, Manchurian aralia, lemongrass, velvet tree, etc. They survived and adapted. Although today the conditions in the places of growth of these plants are very different and very difficult.
Amur grapes grow from the southern regions of China to the lower reaches of the Amur River (Big Kizi Lake, 500 kilometers north-east of Khabarovsk). Of course, throughout this vast territory, grapes, although Amur, are different. It is customary to distinguish between three environmental types: northern - Khabarovsk, south - Vladivostok, and Chinese - the one in the southern regions of China.
The most frost-resistant, of course, northern. Just around Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The climate looks like this: the absolute minimum of -45.5 ° C is far from every year, but 40-degree frosts are not uncommon. Snow cover lies about 6 months. The absolute maximum of +35 ° C is also not every year, but the summer 30-degree heat is normal. The maximum amount of precipitation falls in the summer, in August the typhoon rainy season. And wind. This is almost constant, while in winter the wind speed is higher. “Black frosts” are frequent - lowering the temperature below -20 ° C in the absence of snow.
The south (Vladivostok) has its own difficulties: here the absolute minimum is -31.5 ° C, but it is very rare, on average, winter temperatures are -10 ... -20 ° C, often with thaws. Summer is less warm (absolute maximum +33.6 ° С) and much wetter. That is, the main problems here are dampness, noticeably less sun and heat in the summer, thaw.
And if Amur grapes normally grow and bear fruit under such conditions, then it can be successfully grown in other "non-grape" regions of our country.
What is Amur grape?
A woody vine with a trunk up to 10 cm in diameter and 15-25 meters long (these are southern, the northern variant is shorter, 10 meters). The bark is dark, flaky.
The leaves are different in shape and size, rough, dark green, covered with bristles below. In the fall they become bright, red, yellow, orange - very elegant!
The flowers of the grapes are small, melliferous, collected in small loose brushes. By autumn, the fruits ripen - black, purple or dark blue balls with a bluish bloom up to 12 mm in size and vary in taste - from very sour to very sweet. The clusters are also completely different - from cylindrical to winged. The grapes there, in the taiga, for many millennia independently engaged in their selection, which is why it turned out a lot of all sorts of different options.
Amur grape is a dioecious plant; monoecious specimens are sometimes found. By the way, Amur grapes can present many surprises in this matter. There are references of breeders about the transformation of the female form into the male one, obtaining a bisexual form when pollinated by a male plant for a female, fruiting of any form - and with functionally male and functionally female types of flowers.
Surprises, however, are not only in this matter. For example, in the literature it is noted that Amur grapes are hygrophilous. But in the Amur taiga, it grows mainly on the slopes of hills, where water does not linger. I grew grapes near the fence (the birds apparently tried) under the poplar, where, due to dryness, the grass hardly grows. First, the fence weaved, then climbed onto the poplar and hangs from there already. Fruits in small blue sweet and sour berries, tasting more similar to European varieties than to American ones.
Another very useful quality of northern Amur grapes is resistance to mildew and oidium. And many other purely grape sores. Like all savages, his immunity is excellent. By the way, resveratrol, wildly popular today in gerontology, cardiology, immunology and cosmetology, is produced in the largest quantities in Amur grapes.
Of the shortcomings - poorly rooted cuttings. But rooted. So there is no need to lose hope.
That same wild picky grape, having dropped branches on the ground in August, in the rainy season, was perfectly rooted. That is, layering should multiply well.
Amur grape varieties and hybrids
Amur grapes have been involved in hybridization for quite some time, since the time of Michurin. The selection of forms obtained varieties: "Oriental", Taiga, “Siberian Yield”, "Big boar", "Monastic", Amur Purple, Amur Large-fruited, Amur Potapenko (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), Amursky-2 and many others. One of the sweetest “In Memory of the Tour of Heyerdahl” - with 25% sugar!
Hybrids with cultivated grapes, with slightly less winter hardiness and with a sugar content of 22-23%: "New Russian" (ultra-early) "Kishmish Potapenko", "August", Marinovsky, "Welt", Saperavi North, "Arctic", Buytur, "Dawn of the North", Korinka Michurina, Russian Concord, Northern Black.
North American Hybrids - Chasla Rumming, "Far Eastern Rumming", Suputinsky 174, "Seaside" - These varieties have high winter hardiness (-39 ° C) and strong immunity.
By the way, in hybridization Amur grape is a donor of "high taste". Unlike North American varieties, which inherit the “fox” taste, so despised by Europeans, Amur grapes convey exceptionally noble, nutmeg, and sometimes “chocolate” notes.
My experience of growing Amur grapes
The grapes lived on the site long before my appearance there. According to family tradition, he was planted by the parents of her husband in the 70s of the last century, brought from Ussuriysk. Since Ussuriysk is much closer to Vladivostok than to Khabarovsk, it is noticeably warmer there, and they nursed the grapes: they were removed from the support for the winter, cut and covered.
And not so that thoroughly, but rather, to clear conscience: the vine was laid on the boards, on top - the tarpaulin so that the ends remained open, and crushed by the boards. It was my husband's responsibility and I did not intervene. In the spring of May, the vine was opened, after a week or two they were hung on a support, and then the vine lived its life: it blossomed, tied the fruits, and grew young shoots.
Grapes grow sprouting violently, so I cut it 3 times during the summer, in September, by the time of ripening - it was strong so that the grapes got a little more sun.
Grapes, as a rule, hung on the vine until the first frost - so it became tastier. From this bush of grapes was enough to eat, treat friends and relatives, put wine. By the way, the wild grapes that the local population collects in the woods go for wine - the color and taste are very good.
After the autumn pruning, she distributed them to friends and acquaintances, and it was from them that she heard complaints about poor rooting. I tried it myself - 3 out of 10 pieces took root. This is if in February the chubuki stored in the basement are cut and put in water.
But then there was such an incident: somehow in the fall, planting an ornamental shrub, pushed grape clippings around it so that the cat and dog would not pick. The next year, all (!) Stuck vine sticks started to grow and turn green. I had to urgently dig and distribute.
She left one vine for experiments. She planted in a dry place to the fence of the eastern exposition, tied a rope so that he had something to catch on, and left it to fate.
A year later, the grapes gave the first brush, after three closed 6 m2 fence, crossed to the other side and began to grow wildly there and bear fruit to the joy of local children. I didn’t do anything with this grape at all - I didn’t take it off, I didn’t cover it, I didn’t trim it and I didn’t process it. Only the harvest was harvested from its side.
About the one that climbed the poplar, I already mentioned. But he grew out of a bone and a brush; he is noticeably smaller and looser, and the berries are acidic. However, under these conditions (dryness, shade, very poor soil) and some good grapes would probably not look better.
In general, in most of the country you can grow this grape! And, I think, we need so many useful phenolic compounds in Amur grapes. He has no competitors among other grapes in this regard. Maybe if we learn to make wine from it and drink it regularly, the “French paradox” will be renamed “Russian”?