California Crop Fertilization Guidelines

UC Davis
A collaboration between CDFA, FREP and UC Davis

Grapevines Nitrogen Uptake and Partitioning

The Fertilization guidelines can also be found on the UC Davis Nutrient Management website .

Seasonal N Uptake

Season N Uptake Curve Graph

Seasonal pattern of the N content of 'Thompson Seedless' grapevines in Fresno County with a yield of 12.5 tons/acre [15]. N uptake is generally relatively low between budbreak and bloom but high between bloom and veraison. [8,15].

Nitrogen Partitioning

Nitrogen partitioning pie chart

In 5-year old 'Thompson Seedless' grapevines with a yield of 12.5 tons/acre, about 30% of the total N was found in the clusters. N is also removed with canes when the vines are pruned [15].

Nitrogen Removed at Harvest

Nitrogen removed with harvested clusters (wine grapes and raisins). The overall average is weighted for the number of observations in each trial. More information can be found here [5].

Wine grapes

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton fresh weight) Source
    Mean Range  
California 1997-1998 2.61 1.96 - 3.16 [16]
Oregon 2001-2002 2.32 2.48 - 3.16 [9]
Oregon 2007-08 4.26 2.26 - 2.37 [10]
Australia 2004-06 2.78 3.5 - 5.2 [6]
South Africa 1976 2.80   [4]
Portugal 2012 3.81   [3]
Switzerland 1988 3.81   [12]
Germany 1983 2.25   [7]
Various   3.60   [11]
Weighted Average 3.60 1.96 - 5.2  


Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton @ 15% moisture) Source
    Mean Range  
Fresno,CA 1988-89 8.8 8.72 - 8.89 [15]
Fresno, CA 1998 9.7 9.06 - 10.31 [17]
Fresno, CA 1985-86 8.6 7.88 - 9.38 [2]
Fresno, CA 1983-85 11.8   [13, 14]
Australia 1951-53 12.5   [1]
Weighted Average 10.1 7.88 - 12.5  

Values for table grapes can be derived from the values for raisins by adjusting for the higher moisture content at harvest (on average 80.9%). Using this adjustment, the N removed per ton of harvested table grapes averages 2.26 lbs N/ton, ranging between 1.78-2.81 lbs N/ton [5].



  1. Alexander, D.M., 1957. Seasonal fluctuations in the nitrogen content of the sultana vine. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 8, 162-178.
  2. Araujo, F., Williams, L.E., Matthews, M.A., 1995. A comparative study of young ‘Thompson Seedless’ grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) under drip and furrow irrigation. II. Growth, water use efficiency and nitrogen partitioning. Scientia Horticulturae 60, 251-265.
  3. Arrobas, M., Ferreira, I.Q., Freitas, S., Verdial, J., Rodrigues, M.A., 2014. Guidelines for fertilizer use in vineyards based on nutrient content of grapevine parts. Scientia Horticulturae 172, 191-198.
  4. Conradie W.J., 1980. Seasonal uptake of nutrients by Chenin blanc in sand culture: I. Nitrogen. South African Journal for Enology and Viticulture, 1, 59-65.
  5. Geisseler, D., 2016. Nitrogen concentrations in harvested plant parts -A literature overview. Report to the Kings River Watershed Coalition.
  6. Hutton, R., Holzapfel, B., Smith, J., Hutchinson, P., Barlow, K., Bond, W., 2007. Influence of irrigation and fertilizer management on the movement of water and nutrients within and below the rootzone of vines for sustainable grape production. Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture Final Report.
  7. Loehnertz, O., 1988. Nährstoffelementaufnahme von Reben in Verlauf eines Vegetationszyklus. Mitteilungen Klosterneuburg 38, 124-129.
  8. Peacock, W.L., Christensen, L.P., Hirschfelt, D.J., 1991. Influence of timing of nitrogen fertilizer application on grapevines in the San Joaquin Valley. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 42, 322-326.
  9. Schreiner, R.P., Scagel, C.F., Baham, J. 2006. Nutrient uptake and distribution in a mature ‘Pinot noir' vineyard. HortScience 41:336-345.
  10. Schreiner, R.P., 2016. Nutrient uptake and distribution in young Pinot noir grapevines over two seasons. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 67:436-448.
  11. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Crop Nutrient Tool.
  12. Wermelinger, B., Koblet, W., 1990. Seasonal growth and nitrogen distribution in grapevine leaves, shoots and grapes. Vitis 29, 15-26.
  13. Williams, L.E., 1987a. Growth of ‘Thompson Seedless’ grapevines. I. Leaf area development and dry weight distribution. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 112, 325-330.
  14. Williams, L.E., 1987b. Growth of 'Thompson Seedless' grapevines: II. Nitrogen distribution. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 112, 330-333.
  15. Williams, L.E., 1991.Vine nitrogen requirements – Utilization of N sources from soils, fertilizers, and reserves. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Nitrogen in Grapes and Wine, 62-66.
  16. Williams, L.E., 1999. Fertilizer use efficiency and influence of rootstocks on uptake and accumulation of nutrients in wine grapes grown in the coastal valleys of California. FREP final report .
  17. Williams, L.E., 2015. Recovery of 15N-labeled fertilizer by Thompson Seedless grapevines: Effects of N fertilizer type and irrigation method. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 66, 509-517.