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Muscadine Grape Production Guide

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									Muscadine Grape
 Production Guide
   For North Carolina

    North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
                NC State University
Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this
publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any
mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not
imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service or
discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals
who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use
complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to
obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current
product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your county
Cooperative Extension agent.

Introduction .................................................................................... 5
Production Costs and Returns for Processing ...................................... 6
Site Selection .................................................................................. 6
Varieties ......................................................................................... 7
Propagation.................................................................................... 7
Commercial Nurseries ..................................................................... 8
Trellising ......................................................................................... 8
Trellis Arrangements ........................................................................ 9
Planting the Vineyard..................................................................... 10
Irrigation ...................................................................................... 12
Weed Control ............................................................................... 12
Post-Plant Fertility and Liming ......................................................... 12
Insect and Disease Pests ................................................................ 13
    Establishment ........................................................................... 13
    Mature Vines ........................................................................... 14
Training ........................................................................................ 16
Harvesting .................................................................................... 18
Conclusion ................................................................................... 19
References .................................................................................... 19

                          Muscadine Grape
                                 Production Guide
                                         For North Carolina

Introduction                            humid climate. They do not                variety, Carlos, is prone to early
                                        tolerate temperatures below 10o F         bud-break in some years.
This muscadine grape production
                                        (Figure 1). For this reason, they are        Muscadine products, markets,
guide will help the increasing
                                        not recommended for commercial            and challenges. Consumers’
number of North Carolina farmers
                                        production in the mountains,              interest in healthier diets and
who are considering growing and
                                        foothills, and areas of the upper         changing lifestyles have led to an
marketing this fruit as a farm
                                        piedmont where there is a high            increase in eating fresh fruit,
diversification option. Important
                                        probability of winter temperatures        including muscadine grapes.
changes have occurred in the
                                        below 10o F. Even in traditional          Direct marketing of fresh musca-
North Carolina muscadine indus-
                                        muscadine production areas, cold          dines is quite popular in North
try since this bulletin last appeared
                                        injury may occur if less cold-hardy       Carolina (pick-your-own, roadside
in 1987, most notably the wine
                                        varieties are grown. The variety          stands, and farmers’ markets).
industry’s recent turnaround.
                                        Ison, for example, is a variety bred      Commercial growers who produce
North Carolina muscadine wines
                                        in Georgia that was severely              muscadines primarily for process-
are becoming more widely appre-
                                        injured by a late spring freeze in        ing into wine often also have
ciated for their distinctive fruity
                                        2001. Noble, a North Carolina-bred        limited plantings of specialty
bouquet and are gaining consider-
                                        variety, escaped with little or no        varieties for direct marketing, such
able regional interest due, in part,
                                        cold injury. Varieties with good          as Nesbitt, Triumph, Summit, and
to potential positive health effects
                                        cold hardiness may be prone to            Supreme. Increasing supplies of
afforded by moderate, responsible
                                        spring frost/freeze injury if they        Georgia’s larger-fruited musca-
consumption. The state’s commer-
                                        tend to break bud early in the            dines have depressed wholesale
cial muscadine acreage rose to
                                        spring. Unfortunately, North              market prices for fresh, smaller-
approximately 400 acres in 2002
                                        Carolina’s main bronze muscadine          fruited varieties like Carlos, which
from 265 acres in 1996. Prices for
processed muscadine grapes for
wine have been rising, and in 2002
reached in the range of $500 per
ton. This price is up sharply from
those paid by wineries in the
1990s. Prices paid for Noble, North
Carolina’s second most important
muscadine winegrape variety, were
as high as $750 per ton in 2002.
   Adaptation. Muscadine grapes
(Vitis rotundifolia Michx.), indig-
enous to the southeastern United
States, are well adapted to a hot,
                                        Figure1. Muscadine grape production area in North Carolina.

is North Carolina’s most widely          ment, land costs, and irrigation                about $1,180 per acre for an 8-ton
planted bronze muscadine (grown          equipment. Computations are based               per acre crop (before vineyard
mainly for processing). Better           on a spacing of 10 feet between                 costs are subtracted). A winery
varieties for the fresh wholesale        rows, 20 feet between vines, and a              price of $500 per ton would
markets include larger-fruited           single wire trellising system. At               provide a return of $1,580 per acre.
muscadines, such as the black            this spacing there are 218 vines per               If the yield is 5 tons per acre,
grape Nesbitt, or bronze types,          acre. This number is arrived at by              which is closer to the state average,
such as Summit and possibly              first multiplying 10 feet between               a muscadine vineyard will barely
Triumph. A number of the larger-         rows by 20 feet between vines (in-              break even at $450 per ton:
fruited muscadine varieties              the-row) and then dividing 43,560                 Gross revenue – (Operating
developed in Georgia, such as            square feet per acre by the product.            costs + Custom harvest costs) =
Supreme, are not appropriate in          The configuration of this hypo-                 Net return to grower
North Carolina because of their          thetical acre is a square (approxi-
sensitivity to winter cold injury.       mately 209 by 209 feet).                           Or, in this example: $2,250 –
                                                                                         ($1,700 + $450 harvest) = $100/acre
   The juice yield (for use in wine)        When labor, equipment, and
from a ton of muscadine grapes is        land costs are taken into account,
only 135 to 140 gallons. Bunch           the total establishment costs may               Site Selection
grapes yield 165 gallons or more         easily be more than $5,200 per                  The most critical consideration in
per ton. The North Carolina              acre. A drip irrigation system adds             choosing a planting site for musca-
muscadine industry is supporting         another $1,200 per acre. In mature              dines is internal soil drainage.
research on uses of the portion of       vineyards, annual operating costs               Although wild muscadines survive
the crop that is not used for            are approximately $1,700 per acre.              on a wide variety of soils, commer-
winemaking or juice, called              The cost for custom mechanical                  cial producers must select a well-
“pomace” (skin, seeds, and pulp).        harvesting is about $90 per ton.                drained soil. Water should not
Potential uses include muscadine         Thus, an 8-ton per acre crop would              stand on the site after a normal
syrups, purees, and a variety of         cost about $720 per acre to harvest.            rain, and the subsoil should not
value-added “niche” products.               Figuring average quality grapes              restrict drainage. Ideally there
Research in Arkansas is also             and a winery price of $450 per ton,             should be no gray mottling in the
proving that competitive products        an 8 ton per acre crop could                    subsoil above a depth of 48 inches.
can be made by blending musca-           generate $3,600 in gross revenue                Generally speaking, if tobacco has
dine juice with neutral and less         per acre. With annual operating                 done well on the site, muscadine
expensive grape and other juices         costs of $1,700 per acre (mainly for            grapes should also do well. In the
while still maintaining the unique       pruning and spraying) and a                     piedmont, plant on a site elevated
fruity flavors of the muscadine.         custom harvest cost of $720 per                 above the surrounding area and at
   Yields and vineyard life. Musca-      acre (8 tons multiplied by $90), the            least 50 feet away from woods or
dines are generally very productive.     crop might provide a return of                  other obstructions. Unobstructed
Yields average 1 ton per acre in the
second year, 3 tons per acre in the      Table 1. Cost Per Acre for Materials
third year, and 8 tons per acre by the
                                                                        Number Needed                Cost           Cost
fourth and in subsequent years. It is
                                            Materials Needed              (Per Acre)
                                                                          (Per Acre)             ($ Per Item)
                                                                                                    Per          ($ Per Acre)
                                                                                                                    Per Acre)
not unusual for a muscadine
planting to produce for more than        Treated 4” x 8” Posts             218 posts               4.14            902.52
30 years with good pruning, spray-       Treated 6” x 8’ Posts             84* posts               7.80            655.20
ing, and a well-constructed trellis.     Treated 4” x 4” x 8’ Timbers     42** timbers             10.67           448.14
                                         Wire, 100-pound rolls
                                             of #9 galvanized               3 rolls***             60.00           180.00
Production Costs and
                                         Grape Vines                        218 vines               2.00           436.00
Returns for Processing
                                         Total Cost Per Acre                                                      2,621.86
It costs approximately $2,620 for          * 4 bracing posts per row multiplied by (209 feet per acre divided by 10 feet
materials to establish an acre of            between rows) equal 21 rows per acre, which is 84 bracing posts per acre
muscadine grapes in North Carolina        ** 2 timbers multiplied by 21 rows equal 42 timbers per acre
(see Table 1), excluding labor, equip-   *** 1,705 feet in length

locations allow air to drain away          Table 3. Characteristics of Muscadine Cultivars
from the vineyard on cold nights.          Cultivar            Type               Fruit Color         Fruit Size       Ripening
Preferred row orientation is north
to south; however, topography of           Black Fry           Female             Black               Large            Mid-late
the vineyard site may dictate a            Carlos              Self-fertile       Bronze              Medium           Mid
different row orientation.                 Cowart              Self-fertile       Black               Medium           Mid
                                           Doreen              Self-fertile       Bronze              Medium           Late
                                           Early Fry           Female             Bronze              Large            Very Early
                                           Fry                 Self-fertile       Bronze              Very Large       Very Late
Of the numerous muscadine grape            Nesbitt             Self-fertile       Black               Large            Mid-late
varieties, only a few account for          Noble               Self-fertile       Black               Medium           Mid
most of the commercial production          Scarlett            Female             Red                 Large            Mid
acreage. The leading variety, Carlos,      Sterling            Self-fertile       Bronze              Medium           Mid
represents most of the acres of            Summit              Female             Pinkish             Large            Mid
muscadine grapes in North Caro-            Supreme             Female             Black               Very Large       Mid-late
lina. Carlos has excellent produc-         Triumph             Self-fertile       Bronze              Medium Large     Early
tion potential and is a dual-use
variety; it is the standard process-
ing variety in the state and it is also    it is not likely to adapted well to                At this stage, there are still no
acceptable for fresh local market-         areas outside the coastal plain.                 commercially acceptable seedless
ing, but it is not recommended for             The above list of muscadine                  muscadines for fresh market sales.
wholesale markets because of its           varieties is not exhaustive. If wine
small berry size. The second most          is not the primary use, other                    Propagation
important winegrape is Noble.              varieties, such as Supreme, Black
Noble is outstanding for its high          Fry, Summit, Scarlett, Fry, Early
yields, but it is strictly a processing    Fry, Pam, and Late Fry, may be                   Muscadine grapes can be propa-
grape due to its small berry size.         used in the coastal plain. Growers               gated by layering vines in late June
   The fresh market demands                should plant limited numbers of                  or July. To obtain new plants by
larger fruit size, and Nesbitt is          these cultivars and evaluate them                layering, simply cover a portion of
quickly becoming the most impor-           for specific markets.                            a new shoot with soil, leaving the
tant new black muscadine variety               Muscadine cultivars may be                   growing end exposed. Roots will
for both direct marketing (U-pick,         either female or perfect-flowered.               form where the branch is covered.
ready-pick, satellite stands, farm         If a female cultivar is used, a                  The following winter or spring, cut
markets) and fresh wholesale               perfect-flowered variety must also               the rooted portion from the old
marketing to chain stores.                 be planted in order to assure                    vine and transplant. To propagate
   Carlos, Magnolia, and Sterling          proper pollination.                              a large number of plants by layer-
are three of the most consistently             Some home gardeners grow                     ing, take the entire fruiting arm, lay
cold-hardy varieties. Noble and            muscadines in areas that are                     the arm in a shallow trench, and
Nesbitt are also more cold hardy           marginal due to cold winter                      cover it with 4 to 5 inches in soil,
than varieties bred in Georgia.            temperatures. Five of the most                   leaving the tips of the shoots above
Although the new Georgia black             consistently cold-hardy cultivars                ground. Each shoot will root and
grape Supreme has exceptional              are Carlos, Magnolia, Nesbitt,                   form a new plant.
size and very good eating quality,         Noble, and Sterling.
                                                                                            Softwood Cuttings
                                                                                            It is easier and quicker to propa-
Table 2. Frequently Recommended Muscadine Cultivars for North Carolina
                                                                                            gate large quantities of plants with
Use                            Black Cultivars         Bronze Cultivars                     softwood cuttings taken during
Wine                           Noble                   Carlos, Magnolia                     and immediately after bloom in
Fresh Market, Pick-Your-Own    Nesbitt                 Carlos, Doreen, Triumph,             June. Using the current season’s
                                                        Summit                              shoots, cut off and discard the
Home Garden                    Noble, Nesbitt          Carlos, Triumph                      tender tip, and make the cutting
                                                                                            from the rest of the shoot. Leave

four nodes on each 4- to 6-inch          system has been the predominant        treatment of vineyard posts, but
cutting, and remove the bottom           trellising system in North Carolina.   On February 12, 2002, EPA an-
two leaves. Keep the cuttings            Observation and research have          nounced a voluntary decision by
moist to avoid wilting and space         shown that muscadine yield is 20       industry to move away from
them out on a 3-by-4-inch spacing        to 25 percent higher with a GDC        consumer use of CCA treated
in a propagation bed containing a        system than with a single wire         lumber by December 31, 2003, in
mixture of 1 part coarse sand and 1      system, but the single wire system     favor of new alternative wood
part peat. Use shade cloth or lath       has several advantages:                preservatives. A number of preser-
to block out about 50 percent of the     • Installation costs are less since    vatives have been registered by
direct sunlight. Maintain humidity         crossarms are unnecessary.           EPA, and wood treated with these
close to 100 percent by using mist       • Pruning takes less time and is       preservatives are expected to be
nozzles that deliver about 2               easier.                              available in the marketplace. In
gallons per hour at 30 to 50 pounds      • Blueberry mechanical harvesters      addition, untreated wood (e.g.,
pressure. No misting is needed at          may be used to harvest grapes.       cedar and locust) and nonwood
night or on very humid days.             • Row spacing may be decreased.        alternatives, such as metal posts
   When the cuttings have rooted                                                are available. Posts of durable
(after 4 to 6 weeks), remove the            The GDC system requires 12- by      natural woods may be less expen-
                                         20-foot spacing. As long as the
shade. Gradually reduce misting,                                                sive, but are usually harder to
                                         grower’s equipment will negotiate
and fertilize once a week until                                                 obtain and cost more then treated
mid-September with a solution of         the width, the single wire system      pine posts. Be sure the amount of
                                         can be reduced to 10- by 20-foot
1 tablespoon of 20-20-20 soluble                                                heartwood in each post is suffi-
                                         spacing. This increases the total
fertilizer per gallon of water. Use                                             cient to support the trellis. Sap-
1 gallon per 25 square feet of plant     number of vines per acre. Table 4      wood rots quickly and does not
                                         shows how row spacing effects the
bed. Allow the plants to harden by                                              offer durable support.
                                         number of vines per acre.
watering only when needed.                                                         Take the following precautions
   Before freezing weather occurs,                                              when using chemically treated posts:
                                         Table 4. Number of Vines Per Acre
remove the rooted cuttings from                                                 • Make sure the wood is treated
                                         at Various Spacings
the bed. Gently shake the rooting                                                 adequately with a proven material.
mixture from the roots, and              Distance       Distance Number of      • Do not allow vines to make
remove any leaves that are on the        Between        Between      Vines        direct contact with freshly
plants. Store the rooted cuttings at     Rows (feet)                    Acre
                                                       Vines (feet) Per Acre
                                                                                  treated wood.
38° to 40° F in sealed plastic or in a    10              20         218        • Plant vines at least 1 foot away
protected cold frame until late           11              20         207          from posts treated with a
March or early April, then plant          12              20         181          preservative (CCA, creosote, or
them in the field in their perma-         13              20         167          pentachlorophenol).
nent location. Small plants with
                                                                                   Recently, the bunch grape
poor root systems should be
                                         Posts                                  industry has been turning to steel
grown in a nursery row a year
                                         Posts should be long-lasting. Wood     posts, which offer the following
before planting them in the
                                         posts should be treated with a         advantages:
                                         preservative for in-ground use and     • Easier to install than wood posts.
Commercial Nurseries                     should last up to 20 years. “Preser-   • Easier to use than wood posts.
                                         vative” means any chemical used        • Ready to use once they are
The names and addresses of
                                         in treating wood to retard or            driven into the ground; just
muscadine grape nurseries can be
                                         prevent deterioration or destruc-        string your wires.
found on the Web at http://
                                         tion caused by insects, fungi,         • Wire slots provide more built-in
                                         bacteria, or other wood-destroying       options for placement of wires,
                                         organisms. Most wood preserva-           making them more versatile than
                                         tives are highly toxic.                  wood posts.
Trellising                                                                      • Better for grounding lightening
                                            The wood preservative CCA
New information. In the past, the        (chromated copper arsenate) has          strikes than wood posts.
Geneva Double Curtain (GDC)              been widely used in the past for

• Wire clips, staples, etc., are not
• More fruit harvested with less
                                                                                                  #9 Wire
  beater power of a harvester and
  less damage to costly vines,                            Post
  making harvesting more effi-
                                           5’                                                                                 5’
• Quality is more consistent than                         #9 Wire
  wood posts.                                             Twisted

Trellis Arrangements                                           6’                           20’                               2’
                                        2 1/2’
Vertical One-Wire Trellis
Bracing and supporting posts
(interior) should be at least 8 feet
in length. Posts no smaller than       Figure 2. The Vertical One-Wire Trellis for Muscadine Grapes.
5 to 6 inches in diameter should be
used for bracing and with posts no     Geneva Double Curtain Trellis                   5 inches in diameter, and placed
less than 3 to 4 inches in diameter                                                    4 feet in the ground at a slightly
                                       Line posts 8 feet long are placed
used for interior positions. Two                                                       outward angle. A 6 ½-foot post is
                                       2 ½ feet in the ground and 20 feet
and one-half feet of the line post                                                     used as an inside brace post. Place
is placed below ground level,          apart (Figure 3). The end brace
                                                                                       it 6 feet from the outside brace post
                                       post is 8 ½ feet long, at least
establishing the wire and vine
height at 5 1/2 feet. Use tractor-
powered posthole augers and post
drivers to install posts. Set line
posts 20 feet apart in the row.
Brace end posts according to
Figure 2 using Number 9 galva-
                                             #11 Wire
nized wire. A rachet strainer at the
                                                           Bo iniz 8”
                                                              lt ed

end of each row may be used to
                                                            al x
                                                          G 3/8

help establish and maintain wire                                                                   2 x 4” or

                                            29”                           4’                      Equivalent
tension. There are several methods
for bracing end posts, and new
growers should visit several                                                              #9 Wire               4 x 4” or
                                                 4 1/2’                                                        Equivalent
established vineyards before                                                                   2 x 4 x 45
                                                                                       Bolt      Spreader             5” Min.
making a final decision on bracing                                                     3/
                                                                                         16                            Dia.
procedure. Most bracing tech-                                       20’                     ”B
                                                                                   5 1/2 ‘    olt
niques set the end posts deeper
than interior posts with braces at a
                                                                                                   4’          #9 Wire
15- to 30-degree angle to the                                                            14’                   Twisted
ground. Research has indicated a                                          2 1/2’
slight yield advantage in orienting                                                                                      4 1/2’
vineyard rows in a north-south                                                                                 6’
                                                                                            2 1/2’
direction, but other factors, such
as slope and ability to move
equipment, may be overriding                                                                                             4’
factors. A vertical one-wire trellis
with 10-by-20-foot vine spacing
costs about $2,600 per acre for
materials (see section on Produc-
                                       Figure 3. Construction details of the Geneva Double Curtain.
tion Costs and Returns).

                                                                                                                 Here are 8 key factors to con-
                                                                  24”                                         sider in selecting a vineyard site
                                                                                      Flat Washer
                                                                    3/8” Hole
                                     #11 Wire                                                                 and in preparing it for planting:
                                                                                         Chain Repair Link
                                                                                                              1. Field shape. Choose a row
                                                                                                                 direction that maximizes row
                                                                  Bo                                             length for important equip-
         12”                                          n   ize                                                    ment-efficiency gains and
                                            a   lvi        2” x 4” Treated
                                         ’G                  Support or                                          reduced end-structure invest-
                                    x8                       Equivalent                                          ment and maintenance costs.
                           3/                    Approx. 35o

                      2”                                           69” Wire to Ground                         2. Row spacing and equipment. Do
                                                                                                                 not crowd your vineyard,
                                                                                                                 especially if land is available
      54” to Ground
                                                                                                                 and relatively inexpensive. Row
                                         Post                                                                    width on slopes and especially
                                                                                                                 on contours must be wider than
                                                                                                                 on level land. On both vertical
Figure 4. The support system for the GDC.
                                                                                                                 one-wire and the GDC trellis,
                                                                                                                 space both plants and posts 20
and position a 4 x 4 or equivalent                                     now fastened around the top of the        feet apart in the row. Space
piece of lumber between the top of                                     post so that supports form a “Y”.
                                                                                                                 needed by harvesters, tractors,
the two posts as a brace. Run a                                        Both should have angles approxi-
                                                                                                                 mowers, and other equipment is
double Number 9-gauge wire from                                        mately 35 degrees with the ground         the major factor determining
the top of the inside brace post to                                    and measure 4 feet from tip to tip.
                                                                                                                 row width. The most popular
the bottom of the outside brace                                        Space between rows (post to post)
                                                                                                                 row width spacing for the
post, and twist to tighten the entire                                  should be no less than 10 feet.           vertical one-wire trellis is 10
brace system.                                                             Use Number 9-gauge wire for
                                                                                                                 feet. A row width of 12 feet is
   Metal cross arms (supports),                                        the main wires. Both main wires
                                                                                                                 recommended for the Geneva
commercially fabricated from                                           are fastened to the top of the            double curtain.
galvanized steel, are generally                                        outside brace post, threaded
                                                                                                              3. Row orientation. The slope of the
used with new plantings. These                                         through a 45-inch spreader, and
                                                                                                                 land and the shape of the field
arms are very durable and easy to                                      then run down either side of the          are the major determinants of
install on the posts. Wire to                                          trellis through chain repair links.
                                                                                                                 row direction. If the land has
support the plantings can be                                           The opposite end of the trellis is
                                                                                                                 more than a 2 percent slope, it
quickly attached to the cross arm                                      braced in the same way, and the           may be advisable to align rows
with a hairpin-type clip.                                              two wires are tightened around the
                                                                                                                 at right angles to the slope
   Wooden cross arms also can be                                       top of the outside brace post.
                                                                                                                 (cross-slope planting) to mini-
used. These cross arms are made                                                                                  mize soil erosion. North-south
from Number 2 grade 2-by-4’s or                                        Planting the Vineyard                     row orientation results in a
the equivalent. The supports are
                                                                       Key Factors to Consider Before            slightly more productive
29 inches long and predrilled                                          Planting                                  vineyard than east-west row
2 inches from the end to accommo-
                                                                       Land preparation should begin the         orientation when standard
date 3/8-by-8-inch galvanized
                                                                                                                 vertical one-wire training is
bolts. An additional hole is pre-                                      year before planting. Plan on an
                                                                                                                 used. However, there was very
drilled from the other end of the                                      early spring planting after danger
                                                                       of hard freeze is past, usually mid-      little difference with Geneva
support parallel to the ground to
                                                                                                                 double curtain-trained vines.
allow the Number 11-gauge brace                                        March to mid-April. After select-
                                                                                                              4. Soil pH and fertility. The first
wire to pass through. After passing                                    ing the best site, test the soil and
                                                                       till in any needed lime and fertil-       step in good vineyard fertility
the loop end of the doubled wire
                                                                                                                 management is a soil test.
through the support, place a                                           izer, deal with internal water
                                                                                                                 Collect soil samples about 8 to
¾ inch washer over the loop and                                        drainage problems, eliminate
                                                                       perennial weeds, and establish the        10 inches deep no later than the
attach a chain repair link to the
                                                                                                                 fall before planting. For addi-
loop (Figure 4). The brace wires are                                   trellis.

   tional information, contact your             mont, seed in the late summer         postpone planting until there is
   county Cooperative Extension                 or early fall of the year before      little chance of a hard freeze.
   agent. Lime is usually necessary             planting. Keep clean strips           However, the longer planting is
   to raise the pH to 6.5. After                where the vineyard row is             delayed the more likely plants will
   problem weeds have been                      located.                              suffer from high temperatures and
   removed from the site (see                7. Bedding up rows in coastal plain.     drought. In North Carolina the ideal
   below) and the land has been                 Bed up so that they are 4 to 6        planting window for dormant plants
   adequately tilled, apply lime                inches higher than the sod            occurs between April 7 and May 7. In
   according to soil test recommen-             middles in coastal plain grow-        most years, it is better to plant
   dations. Dolomitic lime is                   ing areas.                            early rather than late. Fall planting
   preferred because it contains             8. Construct trellises by early March.   is possible but increased winter
   magnesium, which often                       Prepare the soil as thoroughly        injury may occur.
   becomes deficient in muscadine               as for planting corn or tobacco,          Planting holes and alignment.
   plants. Incorporate the lime and             then lay off the rows and set the     The planting holes can be dug by
   any recommended phosphate                    posts before planting. This           hand or tractor auger and should
   also based on the soil test                  operation should be completed         be several times larger than the
   recommendations 6 months                     by early March of the planting        root ball of the grapevine. Plant the
   before planting, and plow it                 year (Figure 5).                      vines 1 to 2 inches deeper than
   thoroughly to a depth of                                                           they were growing in the nursery.
   8 to 10 inches.                           Plants and Planting                      During planting, vine roots should
5. Weeds. Perennial weeds and                Plants. Rooted cuttings survive as       be temporarily submerged in a pail
   grasses, such as bermudagrass,                                                     of water or wrapped in wet burlap.
                                             well as or better than layered
   johnsongrass, honeysuckle, and                                                     After planting, water the vines.
                                             plants. One-year-old, properly
   brambles, are relatively easy to          grown plants are as good as and          Pack the soil firmly after the hole is
   kill before the vineyard is                                                        filled and irrigate or hand water
                                             usually better than older plants.
   planted. Control becomes much                                                      the soil surface immediately. Vines
                                                Planting. If plants arrive from
   more difficult after planting. For        the nursery prior to suitable            should be planted 12 to18 inches
   recommendations on weed                                                            from the posts. Setting vines
                                             planting weather, moisten (but do
   control in muscadines see the                                                      against the posts may result in
                                             not wet) the roots, seal the plants
   North Carolina Agricultural               in plastic bags, and store them in a     plant injury from the toxic wood
   Chemicals Manual, which is also                                                    preservatives. Planting on the
                                             refrigerated area (38 to 40° F). If
   available on the Web at http://                                                    north side of posts may help to
                                             this is not possible, heel them in                 along the north side of a building,      minimize winter injury. After
6. Fescue sod middles to control                                                      planting, the young vines are
                                             and protect them well with a
   erosion in the piedmont. If the row                                                vulnerable to freeze and drought
                                             covering of at least a foot of loose
   middles are to be planted to a            straw or similar material. To avoid      damage. Never place fertilizer
   fescue sod cover in the pied-                                                      directly in the planting hole. Be
                                             freeze damage to tender growth,
                                                                                      sure to set vines directly under the
                                                                                      trellis; vines out of line are more
                                                                                      likely to be injured by cultivation,
                                                                                      mowing, and harvesting.
                                                                                          Grow tubes. Grow tubes, plastic
                                                                                      cylinders 24 to 36 inches tall and
                                                                                      3 to 4 inches in diameter, allow
                                                                                      earlier spring planting and in-
                                                                                      crease the rate of growth. At the
                                                                                      Castle Hayne Research Station,
                                                                                      first-year plant growth in the
                                                                                      36-inch tubes was nearly twice as
                                                                                      much as those grown without
                                                                                      tubes. These tubes also allowed
Figure 5. Bracing and interior posts should be set before vineyard is planted.        wide-spectrum systemic herbicides

to be applied close to young plants          Drip irrigation is the most           before the soil is treated with the
with little possibility of injury. You    efficient method, but it requires a      preemergence. If applications of
must, however, weigh the added            sand filter for water from ponds         preemergence herbicides are not
costs of these tubes against the          and lakes. Water from most wells         followed within a few days by
benefits. Several companies carry         can be filtered inexpensively            irrigation or substantial rainfall,
them, and they range in quality,          unless it has high iron content. It is   their activity is often greatly
size, and price. In the Castle Hayne      highly recommended that you ask          reduced.
study, 36-inch tubes produced the         an authorized irrigation dealer in           Once the grapes begin to grow,
greatest total growth per season.         your area to evaluate your vine-         take great care to prevent any
Remove grow tubes before early            yard site and to properly design         contact with systemic or contact
winter to avoid any cold damage.          the drip irrigation system.              herbicides. Any contact of these
The tubes are reusable.                      Overhead irrigation can be used       herbicides with green leaves or
                                          in a drought, especially for the         stems may injure the plant. If used
Irrigation                                non-bearing years, but it has the        properly, grow tubes and home-
                                          following disadvantages:                 made or commercial shields for
Irrigation has only been recom-
                                              1) high initial investment,          sprayers or vines can sufficiently
mended recently only in the deep
                                              2) wetting of foliage, which can     protect vines from herbicide
South (e.g. Mississippi) and is not
                                                 increase disease,                 contact. Avoid spraying herbicides
common in North Carolina.
                                              3) inefficient use of water, and     on windy days. Consult your
Irrigation on wine muscadines is
                                              4) reduction of fruit set if used    North Carolina Agricultural Chemi-
normally not necessary after the
                                                 during the pollinating period.    cals Manual or local Extension
first three years. Since grapes are
                                                                                   agent for a list of herbicides
usually nonbearing during these
years, overhead irrigation is
                                          Weed Control                             labeled for grapes.
                                                                                       In recent years some growers
acceptable and preferable. If             During the first three years of a
                                                                                   have experimented with mulches
overhead irrigation is not avail-         new vineyard, weed management
                                                                                   in young muscadines to control
able, then hand watering of newly         is extremely important. As stated
                                                                                   weeds and reduce drought stress.
planted vines can be accomplished         in the planting section, elimination
                                                                                   It is probably best to use a durable
with a water trailer, but this is a       of weeds should be part of site
                                                                                   mulch, such as chipped hardwood.
time-consuming method. Drip               preparation. Here is where an
irrigation, moving guns, and soak         ounce of prevention is worth a
hoses have also been used. What-          pound of cure. Prevention is
                                                                                   Post-Plant Fertility
ever type of irrigation is used,          especially critical with perennial
                                                                                   and Liming
avoid overwatering the vines.             weeds, such as bermudagrass and          Generally apply 1/4 pound of
Water thoroughly and allow the            johnsongrass. Proper tilling             10-10-10 in a 18-inch circle around
soil to dry out before irrigating         techniques and systemic herbicides       each vine beginning 2 weeks after
again. During periods in which            can minimize or eradicate many           planting, and repeat every 6 weeks
little or no rainfall occurs, 1 inch of   problem weeds before planting.           up through the first week in July.
water per week is usually ad-             When the vines begin growing,            During the second year, double the
equate. For many years North              control of these weeds is much           application rate to 1/2 pound per
Carolina growers were able to             more problematic. Before weed            vine applied at the same time
grow grow muscadines success-             seeds germinate, treat the soil with     intervals. In the third year use a
fully without any irrigation.             a preemergence herbicide. To             rate of 1/2 pound per vine at the
However, during the past decade           maintain control throughout the          same intervals. It is sometimes
droughts have been common                 growing season, at least two             desirable to adjust fertilizer rates
during the growing season. If             applications of these herbicides are     to compensate for the effects of
growers have a clean water source         required. The second spray should        rain or drought. Overfertilizing
and are willing to invest the             also be made before weeds                during an extreme drought may
capital, a drip irrigation system         emerge. Any emerged weeds                damage vines. Never fertilize after
makes the most efficient use of           should be hoed or sprayed with a         the first week in July since this
water.                                    systemic or contact herbicide            may lead to winter damage and

possibly crown gall. Apply any          Fertilizer Deficiency                 Visible symptoms generally do not
mulch or compost during the             Symptoms                              appear until the vine is critically
previous fall, winter, or very early    In North Carolina the elements        deficient in this micronutrient, so
spring to minimize winter injury        most likely to limit grape produc-    foliar analysis is important in
due to nitrogen being released into     tion are nitrogen, phosphorus,        monitoring boron status. For mature
the soil late in the season.            potassium, magnesium, and boron.      vineyards, a common recommenda-
   Accurate determination of            It is important to maintain soil pH   tion has been to apply 5 pounds per
fertilizer needs is essential. Annual   at 6.0 with dolomitic lime through-   acre of Borax (10 percent) every
soil tests may be used, but plant       out the life of the vineyard.         2 years or spray annually with
foliar analysis has been proven to          Nitrogen: Foliage of vines        1 pound per 100 gallons of water of
be the most accurate way to             deficient in nitrogen are green to    Solubor (20 percent) just before
determine the nutritional status of     yellowish over the entire vine. The   bloom. Excessive boron causes
the vine. This service is not free,     oldest leaves are the least green.    plant injury; do not exceed boron
but the cost is minimal.                Shoot growth is short and leaves      recommendations.
   Foliar analysis determines the       are smaller than on vines with
actual nutritional status of the        adequate nitrogen. On the other                          Pests
                                                                              Insect and Disease Pests
plants during critical periods of       hand, too much nitrogen will          Establishment
growth. Take leaf samples in June       result in excessive growth, causing
and early July. Collect a double fist                                         During the 2 to 3 years required
                                        late ripening of the crop and
full of mature leaves located                                                 for establishment, few insects or
                                        possibly deficiencies in other
opposite fruit clusters on fruiting                                           diseases are usually encountered.
                                        elements. Ideally, each shoot
shoots. Place the leaves in a paper                                           However, Japanese beetles can be
                                        should grow 30 to 36 inches each
bag and allow them to dry. Send                                               a fairly severe problem. They do
                                        growing season.
samples to the Agronomic Divi-                                                not persist over the entire growing
                                            Magnesium: Deficiency symp-
sion, North Carolina Department                                               season but normally feed over a
                                        toms develop first on basal leaves
of Agriculture. To be most effec-                                             4- to 6-week period; spray as
                                        and shoots. Unless the deficiency
tive, continue the practice from                                              needed. Japanese beetles feed on
                                        is severe, it does not become
year to year to help establish                                                grass roots and may emerge in
                                        evident until late summer. Chloro-
trends and change in nutrient                                                 large numbers on land that was
                                        sis, or yellowing of the leaves
levels. Unfortunately, no single                                              previously a well-established
                                        between the veins while the veins
method is completely accurate.                                                pasture. If the vineyard is to be
                                        remain green, gives a “Christmas
Consequently, the alert grower                                                established in an old pasture, make
                                        tree” effect. As a vine becomes
uses all means available to develop                                           an extra effort to kill grass during
                                        more deficient in magnesium,
the fertilizer program for a particu-                                         the growing season preceding
                                        chlorosis becomes more intense in
lar vineyard. Appropriate levels                                              planting. Sprays and/or cultiva-
                                        older leaves and progresses to
based on whole-leaf nutrient                                                  tion are effective methods for
                                        younger leaves. Young terminal
concentration are shown in Table 5.                                           eliminating grass. Consult the
                                        leaves may never show symptoms
                                                                              North Carolina Agricultural Chemi-
Table 5. Appropriate Levels of
                     Levels             unless the entire vine is extremely
                                                                              cals Manual or your local Coopera-
Nutrients Based on Foliar Analysis
                   Foliar               deficient.
                                                                              tive Extension agent for specific
                                            Boron: Boron deficiency may
Element (Unit)              Range
                    Optimal Range       result in poor fruit set. Leaf
                                                                                 Growers inclined toward
Nitrogen (%)        1.65 to 2.15        symptoms are similar to those of
                                                                              sustainable agriculture may be
Phosphorus (%)      0.12 to 0.18        magnesium deficiency; however,
                                                                              willing to accept a greater level of
Potassium (%)       0.80 to 1.20        newer terminal leaves are affected
                                                                              damage. They may also try inter-
Calcium (%)         0.70 to 1.10        rather than older leaves. Probably
                                                                              planting companion plants or
Magnesium (%)       0.15 to 0.25        the most noticeable are the die-
Boron (ppm)         15 to 25                                                  borders to repel or attract the
                                        back of terminal shots and the
Copper (ppm)        5 to 10                                                   beetles. Although no research has
                                        prolific growth of lateral shoots,
Iron (ppm)          60 to 120                                                 clearly proved its effectiveness,
                                        often several from each node.
Manganese (ppm)     60 to 150                                                 milky spore disease is frequently
                                        Boron deficiency is more common
Molybdenum (ppm)    0.14 to 0.35                                              used in an attempt to control the
                                        on sandy soils with a high pH.
Zinc (ppm)          18 to 35                                                  grub stage.

   Grape root borer is not a threat     fungus growth disappears, but the      on susceptible cultivars such as
during the first 3 years. Appar-        grapes become rough-skinned            Carlos. The cultivar Pride is highly
ently the borer requires some           (russetted) and may crack. Grape       susceptible and may be killed by
degree of shade for successful          drop and reduced size of grapes        the bacterium. Growers should
establishment in a vineyard.            occur.                                 avoid propagating from symptom-
   Symptoms of black rot may               Ripe rot also causes a grape rot    atic vines. Chemical control is not
appear on the leaves of musca-          near harvest. In recent years it has   available.
dines during the establishment          become the most damaging fruit            Crown gall is caused by a
period, but since no fruit is usually   rot disease. Rotted grapes turn        bacterium frequently associated
present and infections are not          dark brown over part or all of the     with gall formation on grape vines.
usually severe, sprays are not          grape and have pink or orange          Galls are fleshy, irregularly shaped
usually necessary.                      spore masses on the surface. Ripe      growths. The disease usually
   A good sprayer for disease and       rot infections can occur at any        occurs in association with freeze
insect control is essential for         stage of fruit development, but        injury, and galls may form all
profitable production. To cover the     fruit infected in the green (unripe)   along the length of the trunk and
leaf and fruit surface for disease      stages do not rot until they begin     cordons. Fall planting exposes new
control requires high pressure and      to ripen. Once infected grapes         vines to freeze injury and should
many nozzles or a high-speed air        begin to rot and produce spores in     be avoided.
blast to break the material into        the vineyard, the disease can
small particles.                        spread rapidly to other ripe fruit.    Controlling Major Diseases
                                        The most devastating losses to this    Resistance. Plant disease-resistant
Mature Vines                            disease occur on susceptible
                                                                               cultivars. For instance, among
Symptoms of Major Diseases              cultivars during rainy harvest
                                                                               large-fruited bronze cultivars, Fry
                                        seasons. Generally speaking, dark-     is very susceptible to ripe rot,
Angular leaf spot is an important       skinned cultivars (Noble, Pride)
leaf disease. Faint, light yellow                                              while Triumph is not. As men-
                                        are more resistant, while bronze
                                                                               tioned earlier, dark-skinned
spots first appear on the leaves. As    cultivars (Carlos, Scuppernong,        cultivars tend to have less ripe rot.
the yellow spots become more            Magnolia) are more susceptible.
noticeable, irregular brown flecks                                                Cultural Practices. Reduce
                                           Macrophoma rot causes small,
                                                                               diseases through cultural practices.
develop in the center of the spots.     sunken, black fruit spots that are     Mowing or otherwise reducing
As the growing season progresses,       round with distinct edges in the
the disease often increases and                                                undergrowth near vines will
                                        early part of the season. As harvest
                                                                               improve air movement through
causes extensive defoliation by         approaches, these spots may            the vineyard. Timely harvesting
harvest. If heavy defoliation           develop a greasy-looking soft rot
occurs, the yield and quality of the                                           and removal of leftover fruit at the
                                        around the initial lesion. A halo
                                                                               end of the season help reduce fruit
grapes are reduced.                     develops around the black spot,        rots. Avoid excessive late-season
   Bitter rot can be a very destruc-    and the entire fruit may rot just
tive fruit disease. Infection occurs                                           fertilizing to reduce disease and
                                        before harvest. Infections are
                                                                               the likelihood of winter injury to
shortly after bloom. Just before        sometimes not visible until the soft   cordons and trunks of vines.
harvest, infected grapes turn black     rot stage occurs.
with spore-bearing structures                                                     Fungicides. A regular spray
                                           Black rot causes a circular
                                                                               program with an effective fungi-
(acervuli) erupting through the         brown leaf spot and a black scab       cide plus an insecticide is highly
skin of the fruit. Rotted grapes        on grapes. Occasionally, lesions
may or may not fall to the ground                                              beneficial and profitable. An
                                        occur on the young stems and
                                                                               effective disease control program
before harvest. The fungus infects      tendrils. Black rot seldom causes      is essential to produce the high
fruit stems, leaves, and young          much damage in sprayed vine-
shoots.                                                                        yields of quality grapes that are
                                                                               possible with the newer varieties.
   Powdery mildew attacks berry            Pierce’s disease is a bacterial     In new vineyards, begin the
clusters and young grapes just          pathogen of little importance on
after flowering. Infected grapes are                                           disease control program in the
                                        most muscadine grapes, occasion-
                                                                               second or third season after
covered with a white fungus             ally causing a marginal leaf burn      planting. Repeated early season
growth. As the grapes enlarge, the

Table 6. Fungicide Effectiveness in Control of Grape Diseases*
         Fungicide                                                                           counties will be verified as grow-
                                                                                             ers and Extension personnel
Fungicide            Angular      Bitter    Powdery      Ripe phoma         Black   Plant
                                                                                             closely examine vineyards.
(Rate/Acre)         Leaf Spot      Rot
                                   Rot       Mildew       Rot
                                                          Rot   Rot
                                                                Rot          Rot
                                                                             Rot    Safety      Control. Natural enemies
                                                                                             include barn swallows, mocking-
Captan 50WP                                                                                  birds, crested fly catchers, larvae of
 (4.0 lb/acre)         XXXX       XXXX          0        XXX     XXX        XXXXX   XXXXX    fireflies, a number of fungi, and a
Wettable Sulfur                                                                              species of nematodes. Other
 (4.0 lb/acre)          0           0        XXXXX        0        0         0      XXXX
                                                                                             parasites and predators undoubt-
Nova 40WP
                                                                                             edly exist. However, when
 (5.0 oz/acre           0         XXXX        XXXX        0        X        XXXX    XXXXX
                                                                                             weather conditions are unfavor-
*(0 = ineffective or injurious; xxxxx = very effective or very safe)                         able, they fail to control the grape
                                                                                             root borer.
applications of fungicides (May-                                                                Resistant root stocks show some
                                                    fly only by day and bear a striking
June-July) are the most effective.                  resemblance to wasps. However,           promise, but will not be available
                                                                                             commercially for many years.
                                                    grape root borer adults are more
Grape Root Borer                                                                                A periodic and constant surveil-
                                                    sluggish than wasps. Also, their
                                                    hind pair of wings are clear and in      lance of vineyards during July and
 The grape root borer is a native                                                            August could reduce infestation
species belonging to a family of                    flight have less rapid wing vibra-
                                                                                             through elimination of adult
insects known as clear-winged                       tions. They are dark brown with
                                                    two orange and yellow bands on           females. Females, once engaged in
moths. The larva or borer, once                                                              egg laying, can very readily be
finding a root, eats through the                    the abdomen and have orange-
                                                                                             approached and killed. The female
outer bark and then begins to                       colored tufts on the tips of the
                                                    abdomen.                                 releases a strong sex attractant that
excavate an irregular burrow. This                                                           attracts males for mating. Studies
burrow may encircle the root                            Life Cycle. The grape root borer
                                                                                             are in progress using a mass
several times or run with the grain                 overwinters in the larval stage, and
                                                    pupation occurs near the soil            trapping and mating confusion
of wood. In larger roots this                                                                technique. Identification and
excavation is most likely to be                     surface in June and July. The pupal
                                                                                             commercial availability of the
found along the underside of the                    stage requires about 39 days.
                                                    Adults emerge from the pupal case        pheromone are under investigation.
root. Severe pruning and girdling                                                               Grape root borers can be
of roots lessens the feeding area of                at the soil line during July and
                                                                                             controlled with chemicals. Apply
the vine, weakening the plant.                      August. After mating, female
                                                    moths lay some 500 eggs indis-           Lorsban 4E at the rate of 4 1/2
Large numbers of borers cause                                                                pints in 100 gallons of water.
discoloration, loss of vigor and                    criminately on weeds, leaves, and
                                                                                             Apply a quart dilute mixture of
production, and eventual death of                   bases of grape vines during their
                                                    7-day life. Flight occurs during the     spray to the soil at the base of the
the vine. The effect of borer                                                                vine. Make a single application
feeding may not be immediately                      day, especially from noon to 4 p.m.
                                                                                             with a herbicide low-pressure
apparent.                                           Eggs hatch in about 15 days, and
                                                    larvae enter the soil in search of       sprayer 35 days before harvest. Do
   Detection. Grape root borer                                                               not let spray contact the fruit or
injury first appears as discolored                  roots. The cycle is repeated in
leaves. Wilting, loss of production,                2 years.
                                                        The grape root borer has been           Tests in North Carolina indicate
and eventual death follows over a                                                            that plastic or ridges of soil placed
period of years. Examine weak-                      reported on bunch grapes in
                                                                                             around the base of vines provide a
ened, wilting, and dead vines for                   Rutherford, Cleveland,
                                                    Mecklenburg, Johnston,                   physical barrier that prevents adult
previous damage by borers or                                                                 emergence. It also helps control
actual feeding. Full-grown borers                   Henderson, Stokes, and Onslow
                                                                                             weeds around young vines. Proper
are whitish with brown heads,                       counties. Reports on muscadine
                                                    grapes have been verified in             timing (about August 1) is critical
sparsely covered with stiff hairs,                                                           with this procedure and needs to
1 ¾ inches long. Pupal skins shed                   Onslow, Anson, Richmond, Moore,
                                                                                             be determined for areas and
near the base of vines in August                    Robeson, Lenoir, Jones, Pender,
                                                    and Bladen counties. Additional          individual vineyards.
are also signs of infestation. Adults

   Cultural methods like weed
control, fertilization, irrigation,
clean cultivation, and weekly
cultivation (disturbance of top
1 inch of soil) help reduce injury.
Hence, the condition of the vine,
                                                   String or Wire
whether it is a healthy, good                                                                               Post
producer or a weakened, poor
producer because of the lack of
good cultural practices, is a
deciding factor in the decline of a                      Buds              Stake
vine as a result of injury by borers.

During the first two or three           Figure 6. Methods of training a young vine.
years, vines need regular training
(Figure 6), which means working         Pruning Mature Vines                           from buds set on the previous
on each vine once a week through-                                                      year’s growth (Figure 8). Shoots
                                        Unpruned vines become a tangled
out the growing season. Training                                                       arising from older wood usually
                                        mass of unproductive and often
establishes the optimal shape and       diseased wood. Figure 7 shows the              are unfruitful. Pruning principles
position of the vine for vineyard                                                      are the same whether you are
                                        vine structure of a properly
management and maximum                                                                 training your muscadine vines to a
                                        pruned muscadine. If you have
productivity. Proper training is        “inherited” a poorly managed                   vertical wire (VW) trellis or a
accomplished by selecting a single                                                     Geneva Double Curtain (GDC).
                                        muscadine vine, use the steps in
shoot and training it up a bamboo                                                      Most important is to leave an
                                        “Pruning Neglected Vines” to
stake or string. Various materials      renew the fruitfulness of vines                appropriate amount of last year’s
are used for attaching vines to the                                                    wood on the vine. One-year-old
                                        where annual pruning has been
stake. The current standard mate-                                                      wood is the only source of fruitful
rial is a plastic tape sold by most        Pruning is a key to maintaining             shoots on the plant. The only
vineyard supply companies. The                                                         difference in the VW and GDC is
                                        healthy fruit-bearing wood. Fruit is
tape seems to decay, so girdling is                                                    the arrangement and number of
                                        borne on current season shoots;
not common.                             however, these shoots must arise               fruiting arms. The VW system has
   Train the young vines up the                                                        two permanent fruiting arms or
stake or string to the wire. When
the vine reaches the wire, pinch it
back to approximately 4 inches                                         Fruiting Spur
below the wire. This will encourage
a V-shaped branching. Choose two
of these lateral branches and begin
training them along the wire as
future cordons. Continually remove
lateral suckers along the trunk in
order to direct all the plant’s
growth into the growing tips of the                                                             Permanent
cordons. Until the cordons reach
full length, cut back side shoots to
approximately 4 to 6 inches during                                                              Trunk
the growing season. Likewise,
remove all fruit at the earliest
possible stage in order to direct
growth to the desired shoots.           Figure 7. Framework of vine.

                                                                                         (of 1-year-old wood) close to the
                                                                                         original fruiting arm.
                                           4” Fruiting Spur                         4.   Experience has shown that it is
                                            (1 Year Wood)
                                                                                         better to gradually thin out the
                                                                                         older bearers starting in the
                                                                                         third fruiting season (5- to 6-
                                                                                         year-old vine), than to wait until
                                                                                         the fourth or fifth fruiting
                                                                                         season (7- to 8-year-old vine).
                                                                                    5.   Each year, remove wood that
                                                                                         has grown at the top of the
                                                                                         trunk. This helps to maintain
                                                                                         vigorous growth and good
                                                                                         yields along the lengths of the
                                                                                         fruiting arms. If an arm be-
                 Thicker, Older                                                          comes cold-injured, or broken,
                                                                                         REMOVE IT ENTIRELY BACK
                                                                                         TO THE HEAD OF THE VINE,
                                                                                         AND TRAIN A NEW CANE TO
                                                                                         REPLACE IT.
                                                                                    6.   Grapevines grow tendrils that
Figure 8. One-year wood and spurs.
                                                                                         bind to the trellis or whatever is
                                                                                         nearby. They are especially
cordons; the GDC has four perma-           “bearers” (approximately
                                                                                         bothersome when they encircle
nent arms or cordons (Figure 9).           6 inches apart).
                                                                                         the trunk or fruiting arms. To
Step-by-step pruning:                   3. After the 4th or 5th year of
                                                                                         prevent girdling damage,
                                           fruiting, begin to thin out some
1. In the dormant season, prune                                                          remove all tendrils attached to
                                           of these bearers. This thinning
   back all 3-inch-long wood                                                             the trunk or fruiting arm of the
   (called “canes”) that grew the          will force new spur growth to
                                           replace these older bearers. It is
   previous year to fruiting spurs.                                                 7.   Vines pruned in late winter will
                                           critical to keep fruiting spurs
   No scientific evidence suggests                                                       Harvesting of muscadine grapes
   that yields or fruit quality in
   muscadines will be improved
   by more time-consuming
   “balanced pruning” methods or                                                         Before Pruning
   more complex formulas used in
   bunch grape pruning. Musca-
   dine pruning is quite simple
   and can be accomplished with a
   mechanical hedger or hand
   pruners. However, use great                             Prune where
   caution when pruning with any                          bars show cuts.
                                                                                 After pruning
   mechanical hedging equipment.                                                (about 25 spurs
2. On young vines, leave the                                                     per 10’ arm).
   1-year-old “shortened canes,”
   or “spurs,” about 6 inches apart.
   As the vine grows older, it will
   develop clusters of spurs at each
   of these locations on the fruiting
   arm. These clusters are called       Figure 9. Pruning a mature vine.

                                                                                several harvests for fresh marketing
                                                                                and in one harvest for processing.
                                          Before Pruning                           Mechanized harvest: Mechani-
                                                                                cal harvesters permit once-over
                                                                                harvest for grapes to be processed,
                                                                                working at the rate of 1 acre per
                                                                                hour. This equipment is very
                                                                                expensive, and growers are
                   Make cut 6 - 8”                                              advised to have their wine grapes
                     from “V”.                                                  custom-harvested. Bulk bins
                                        After Pruning                           handled with forklifts are used
                                                                                with harvesters, completing the
                                                                                mechanization process.
                                                                                   Catch-frame harvesting is used
                                                                                where custom harvesting services
                                                                                are unavailable and the vineyard is
                                                                                too small to justify an investment
                                                                                in a mechanical harvester. Catch
Figure 10. Pruning a neglected vine.                                            frames fit under vines and collect
                                                                                berries as they fall. Berries are
   begins in early September and             arise in the spring from the       usually shaken from the vine by
   continues through October,                renewal area for training into a   striking the trellis with a padded
   depending on location and                 new fruiting arm.                  club, and the catch frame funnels
   variety. Generally, the fruit is       2. Remove all other shoots that       them into a suitable sized con-
   picked over several harvests for          develop from the renewal area      tainer, commonly perforated
   fresh marketing and in one                during the summer. These will      plastic bins. Catch-frame harvest-
   harvest for processing.                   only compete with the shoot        ing requires three to five people for
                                             you have selected for the new      maximum efficiency. Average time
Pruning Neglected Vines                      fruiting arm. You will essen-      per vine is 3 to 7 minutes.
                                             tially lose a season of produc-       Fresh fruit: Carefully hand-pick
Unless a vine is pruned in each
                                             tion as a result of this proce-    fruit that is to be used for fresh
dormant season, fruit-bearing
                                             dure.                              sales. Some varieties, such as
wood develops farther and farther
                                          3. If more than one vine is in-       Carlos, are easily removed from
away from the permanent fruiting
                                             volved in a renewal project, cut   the vines and have a dry stem scar.
arms each year. Eventually, there is
                                             back half of the vines the first   Other varieties (Fry, Magnolia, and
only a thin layer of new growth
                                             year, and the remainder the        Noble) tear when pulled from the
over a mass of tangled, nonbearing
                                             second year to avoid losing an     cluster and have wet stem scars, so
wood. If this occurs, the procedure
                                             entire crop.                       clip the entire cluster with shears.
described below is necessary, but it
                                          4. In many instances, setting new     Sort and grade the berries, then
is never required if annual pruning
                                             vines may be preferable to         package the best fruit in a suitable
is practiced, and if the older
                                             renovating poorly trained vines    container. Unlike the American
bearers are gradually thinned out,
                                             that do not have good trunks       (Eastern Type) Bunch Grape
starting in the vine’s third fruiting
                                             and fruiting arm structures.       industry that has established
                                                                                USDA standards, there are no
Step-by-step renewal:                     Harvesting                            maturity standards or grades for
1. Cut away most of the perma-                                                  fresh bronze or black muscadine
                                          Harvesting of muscadine grapes
   nent arm (cordon), and leave                                                 varieties. To prolong shelf life, use
                                          begins in early September and
   only a 6-inch “stub” at the head                                             plastic clamshells and hold grapes
                                          continues through October, de-
   of the vine (Figure 10) for each                                             at approximately 34° F until the
                                          pending on location and variety.
   arm that requires renewal. Use                                               fruit is sold.
                                          Generally, the fruit is picked over
   one of the new shoots that will

   Customer harvest (“U-Pick”):          In addition to the information in      Muscadine Grapes. Fouad M.
Some growers have had success            this publication, consult with           Basiouny and David G.
with growing muscadines for              successful growers, research             Himelrick, Eds. 2001, ASHS
customer harvest. Successful             stations, winery representatives,        Press, Alexandria, VA, http://
U-Pick operations are located near       and your local Cooperative     
population centers. It is best to        Extension agent for advice before        mgrapes.html
start a U-Pick vineyard on a small       planting. After you have decided       North Carolina Agricultural
scale and expand as demand for           to plant, follow the guidelines          Chemicals Manual, “Musca-
fruit increases. Pre-picking fruit for   carefully. To be successful, you         dine Grape Spray Program,”
sale at the vineyard or for sale at      must do a complete job of growing        NC State University, published
farm markets and/or satellite            and marketing. There are no              annually and on the Web at
stands is becoming increasingly          secrets or shortcuts.          
important as fewer people seem to                                                 chptr7/707.pdf
have the time and interest in            References                             North Carolina Agricultural
harvesting their own grapes.                                                      Chemicals Manual, “Weed
                                         Grape Root Borer. Insect Note
Larger grapes like Triumph,                                                       Control in Fruit Crops,” NC
                                           #G-4, NC State University, http://
Nesbitt, and Supreme are becom-                                                   State University, published
ing increasingly popular for direct                                               annually and on the Web at
                                         Insects Reported on Grapes in
                                           North Carolina, Insect Note
Conclusion                                 #G-2, NC State University,
As a commercial grower or pro-   
spective grower, you can now fit           notes/Fruits/NoteG-2.html
the pieces together on the most          Muscadine Grape Diseases and
current varieties of muscadines for        Their Control. Fruit Disease
both fresh and processing uses,            Note #12, NC State University,
and follow the guidelines on     
vineyard establishment, manage-            notes/Fruit/fdin012/fdin012.htm
ment, harvesting, and marketing.

                                                                        Prepared by
                                                E. Barclay Poling, Professor, Horticultural Science
                                      Charles M. Mainland, Professor Emeritus, Horticultural Science
                                 William T. Bland, Agricultural Research Technician, Horticultural Science
                                        Bill Cline, Research and Extension Specialist, Plant Pathology
                                                   Kenneth A. Sorensen, Professor, Entomology

                                       Special thanks to the North Carolina Grape Council, Inc., and
                                                 the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium
                                            for underwriting the cost of printing this publication.

                                    2,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $0,000.00 or $.00 per copy.

                                                         Published by
                                          THE NORTH CAROLINA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race,
color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local
goverments cooperating.

04/03 —2M—JMG/VG                                                           (Revised)                                                                      AG-94

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