When to Plant Muscadine Vines?

Muscadine grapes are a common dooryard fruit, in part, due to their low susceptibility to disease and pests and their status as a sustainable food crop. These fruit-producing plants are able to thrive without the assistance of harmful pesticides or fungicide applications. Muscadine grapes are sold as container-grown or bare-root vines. Container-grown vines can be planted year-round, following the conclusion of freezing temperatures, as long as adequate follow-up irrigation is provided. Bare-root muscadine grapes should be planted prior to spring budbreak during the months of December through March. Until planting season, bare-root plants should be kept moist and refrigerated.

  1. Plant Use

    • Muscadine grapes have a unique, musky aroma and a thick outer skin. They tend to yield less juice than many other grape species. Despite this, muscadine grapes are a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh or processed into jam, pie, syrup, jelly, juice or wine. Muscadine grapes are well-suited for the home garden. Commercially, muscadine grapes are successfully used within U-Pick operations, which offer direct-to-consumer grapes. In the wild, the muscadine grape is an important food source for animals.

    Site Selection

    • Muscadine grapes flourish in well-drained, loamy soil, in a location that receives full sunlight. Sandy soil is tolerated, but grapes will require a higher degree of irrigation. Avoid clay soils, which provide poor drainage. Injury or death will occur if temperatures go below 0 degrees Fahrenheit or if standing water is allowed, even for even brief periods of time. For successful grape production, soil pH should be between 5.8 and 6.5.

    How to Plant

    • Dig a hole that will accommodate the entire root system at, or slightly above, the existing soil level. The muscadine grape should be planted at the same depth of the container from which it is removed. Back fill the hole firmly with loose, native soil. Prune vines to a single stem with a root spread of approximately 12 inches. In the case of extremely long roots, slicing the roots is preferred to allowing the roots to circle within a planting hole. Immediately irrigate after planting.

    Growing Range

    • Muscadine grapes grow in the United States as far north as Delaware and as far south south as central Florida. It is present within all the Gulf Coast states. Although native to the southeast, it can be found growing in the wild as far west as Kansas, Oklahoma and East Texas. Muscadine grapes are well-suited for hot, humid climates; some varieties have been successfully cultivated within warmer parts of California, Oregon and Washington.

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  • Photo Credit grapes image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com

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