Construction around 70-ish year-old grape vine

Nov 23, 2020
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I'm new!

I've looked everywhere for information on grape vine roots but surprisingly, there isn't much available online, at least not the kind I'm looking for: I left the house I grew up in and came back this year as a result of the pandemic. It's a pretty large, old house with a huge garden, in an area that went from being a big ranch until the early 20th century, to a vineyard in the 1940s, and then it was divided and sold mostly to young families. My grandparents bought a lot of it in the 50s and though they did have to get rid of most of the grape vines in order to build their house, they left about 10.. which surrounds the house with grapes every summer and are just so lovely and a part of the house and family really.

My grandparents died many years ago and my mother (who inherited the house) is now in an area that's getting increasingly gentrified, with lots of traffic nearby, crime, and well, a need for privacy! so I decided to build two walls. Four of the grape vines are right on the property limit, when we took down the neighbor's fence for the excavation, we realised the roots just go.. a long way! in the direction of the neighbor's house and extend along their little sidewalk (which you can see in the pictures). The construction workers accidentally cut some of the roots, some of them do gardening and have assured me there are roots on the opposite direction as well so cutting some of them won't exactly kill them. Just to be safe I've been trying to just excavate around them myself to avoid cutting more roots and this is where we are:

grapes1.jpg grapes2.jpg grapes3.jpg grapes4.jpg

There is a way to build around these roots (by digging deeper on the sides). I'm just wondering, since they're so old, if someone has any advice.. or just some reassurance that the risks are minor in case a few of them get damaged. Also, what's the best way to protect them while the construction is taking place? what should I cover them with and what about humidity? (I'm not very experienced in gardening as you can tell!).

If it helps with anything, I'm in zone 10a.


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