Our Native Grapes: Muscadines Growing and Cultivating Tips – Washington Daily News

Our Native Grapes: Muscadines Growing and Cultivation Tips

Published Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 5:11 p.m.

There are few country homes in the southeast that don’t have a vine growing somewhere. Old style overhead he arbors, new single trellis placements, or even just wild growing. These are almost all muscadine grapes (Vitis rotandifolia). There are two reasons for this. First, muscadines are native to the southeastern United States. His second reason here in eastern North Carolina is Pierce’s disease (Xylella fastidiosa).

This is a disease that affects common table and wine grapes (vitis vinifera) cause burn symptoms and ultimately death. Cases of Pierce’s disease have made it nearly impossible to grow these grape varieties here. The disease is spread by insects by feeding on infected host plants and then on healthy hosts. Pierce’s disease is a bacterial disease and there is no prevention or cure.

I have several people who have been able to grow hybrid varieties and Concord (Vitis Labruska) for a period of time with limited success. However, they are usually plagued with diseases such as grape anthracnose before succumbing to Pierce’s disease.

Another misconception to resolve concerns muscadines and scappernons. The term muscadine in some circles refers to darker grapes, while scappernon refers to white or bronze grapes. They are a bit like humans, they may look a little different, but basically they are all the same. So we can say that all scapappanons are muscadines, but not all muscadines are scapappanons.

But Scappanon is one of the oldest varieties of muscadine, dating back to Tyrrell County in the late 1700s. Isaac Alexander chose wild white grapes for cultivation. Today there are several cultivars that are very suitable for home production.

North Carolina State University, in partnership with the University of Georgia and the University of Arkansas, has for several years conducted a successful breeding program at its Horticulture Research Station (Castle Haine, NC). Visit the NCSU Grape Portal (grapes.ces.ncsu.edu) to find recommended varieties for eastern North Carolina.

Muscadine grapes have thick skins and several seeds that make eating the grapes a bit of an art form. I like to put a whole grape in my mouth, pop the pulp out of the skin, separate the seeds from the pulp, and spit out the rest. My kids love the same thing and enjoy eating grapes. Some close friends of mine eat the skin and pulp after spitting out the seeds. I think it’s a bit like peanuts, in that people have their own ways. A darker red variety called “RazzMatazz” and a bronze variety called “Oh My!”.

Growing muscadines is fairly easy. It prefers well-drained but moist soil and grows well in pH 6.0-6.5. However, it tolerates a considerable range of pH. The vine should be placed in an area that receives plenty of sunlight. There are few pest problems associated with them. The main diseases are black rot and bitter rot. These can be prevented/controlled by timely application of fungicides throughout the season.

The optimal trellis system is a single overhead line system that allows the plant to grow two 10-foot long cordons in opposite directions from the trunk. This will give you a vine that is 20 feet long. Parallel trellis systems also work well, increasing production by about 30%, but are more difficult to maintain and harvest. Overhead arbors are not recommended, mainly due to maintenance issues such as pruning. These systems require extensive pruning with ladders each year, which is very time consuming and physically taxing. This triggers a growth response and promotes fruit set. This is one of the main reasons I get calls from homeowners about missing fruit. Muscadines and fruit in general need sunlight to produce. A vine that has not received regular pruning will be in severe shade from overgrowth and will not bear fruit.

Another common problem I encounter is choosing varieties with female flowers. Some of our muscadine varieties have only male or female flowers that require pollination to produce fruit. There is. and can self-pollinate. If you plant a male vine, you won’t get much fruit! If you choose a female vine, you will need to plant a male vine for it to bear fruit.

If you’re interested in planting muscadine vines in your landscape, NCSU has a few resources to check out. These can be found by consulting your local cooperative extension center or your local horticultural agency.

If you’re having trouble growing your home, call the Extension Office at (252) 946-0111, email gene_fox@ncsu.edu, or ask the master gardener on the Blacklands Area Horticulture Facebook page. please. If you have plants that you can’t tell apart or want to find out the best locations for your spring garden, let us know. Like your family doctor, they will also make house calls if the problem persists.

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