Dr. Wayne Porter (MSU-ES) gave a presentation on how to grow successful muscadine grapevines. See the text of his presentation below:
10 Steps to Successful Muscadine Growing
Prepared by Wayne Porter, Area Horticulture Agent, Mississippi State University Extension Service, Meridian, MS
1) Site Selection – The most critical issue in choosing a planting site for muscadines is good internal soil drainage. A good muscadine location is a well-drained and in full sun.
2) Soil test- Land preparation should begin the year before planting. Conduct a soil test and correct any deficiencies in P and K levels. Adjust the pH to 6.5 with dolomitic limestone.
3) Establishment – Use contact or systemic herbicides to clean up infestations of johnsongrass, bermudagrass, or nutsedge in the year before vines are set.
Build rows 4-12” high and four feet wide to improve water drainage.
4) Trellising – Construct trellis before planting vines. Use a single-wire (9 guage) trellis and space rows 10 to 12 feet apart; set posts 20 ft apart within rows and plant one vine at each post (rather than between posts).
5) Cultivar Selection – If you plan to sell the fruit, then you need varieties with a dry stem scar such as Nesbitt, Summit, Tara, and Triumph. If you want muscadines for eating fresh, any kind will do. If your goal is to produce wine, you will get better juice yield using Carlos, Doreen, Magnolia, Welder, or Noble.
6) Planting – Plant in late winter when vines are dormant. Commercial grow tubes (24-36” long and 3-4” in diameter) will increase growth and protect vines in the first growing season, Remove the tubes in late September so the vines can develop cold hardiness in the fall.
7) Provide adequate water during growing season – You will need to apply one inch per week. If the soil feels dry, water. If it feels wet, do not water.
8) Maintain good weed control – Use preemergent or burndown herbicides. Weed barrier fabric is an organic alternative,
9) Harvest fruit when ripe – Selling fruit that looks ripe but is not will cause a loss of customers or produce a poor quality processed product
10) Prune annually to develop fruiting spurs – best pruning time is January and February.