April 23, 2016
Some of my best childhood memories are of driving along dirt roads with my grandparents and picking wild muscadines along barbwire fencerows and then cooking jelly with my grandmother. My wife and I have recently purchased some wooded property with muscadine vines all over the shaded ground and running up some of the trees. We didn't see any fruit this year. I don't know if these are male plants, or females without males nearby. I have seen online self-pollinating muscadines for sale and they claim these will pollinate nearby vines. What species is/are the native muscadine here in Central Arkansas? What do you recommend for increasing production of fruit on the native plants already growing? What variety of muscadine should I get if I purchase plants to aid in pollination and what do you think of self-pollinating vs. male/female plants? Is there anything we can do to beat any wildlife consumers to the grapes when we get some?
The wild muscadine is Vitis rotundifolia but taste and color can vary by plant. In the wild there are separate female plants and separate male plants. The self-fruitful varieties have perfect flowers, with both male and female parts together. These self-fruitful types can pollinate your wild plants, provided your wild plants are females. You can order female plants and perfect flowering or self-fruitful plants. If you have room to plant more muscadines in your yard then plant a variety of types to get a wide range of fruit. If space is limited, plant one of the self-fruitful types . The resulting fruit on the female plants tends to be a tad larger than the fruit on a self-fruitful variety, but they both taste great.
We have an unknown vine that grows on our back yard fence. In the spring it blooms tiny yellow fragrant flowers and in the fall it bears fruit/berries. The fruit is first light green with white spots and ripens to a black color. The inside is soft white meat with a nice smell. A very slight touch of the meat to tongue tasted sweet but not like anything we have known before.
I believe you have some type of muscadine--what particular variety; I am not sure, as I am not an expert. Some varieties do have fragrant flowers and the fruit size can vary, variety to variety. The skin of muscadines is typically pretty leathery and tough, but it has flavor and you can eat the meat inside, and then spit out the seeds and skin. Some new varieties have edible skin, but most of our wild ones, you chew on and discard the outer shell. They typically ripen in late summer to fall, depending on our growing season.
I have a scuppernong vine that has gotten out of control. I was recently told to cut the vine down to the ground and let it restart. This seemed a little extreme and I am not sure I would be brave enough to do this to mine. What are your thoughts on this advice?
Is it producing well? If it is, then there is room to salvage it. Scuppernongs are a type of muscadine grape and they can be quite prolific. You also need a male and a female plant to get fruit. I would try to prune it back by 1/3 – ½ and try to keep it pruned to a trellis or fence. If left to its own devices, it can grow up into your trees and all over your landscape. Growing in the shade of a large tree can cut down on its production. It does much better in full sun. Make sure to prune annually to keep it growing and producing to its full potential.
I have looked up information about pruning muscadines but after looking at mine I am confused as to how to prune them. Last year they had a lot of foliage but very little fruit. The year before that they had a lot of fruit. I have a main stalk then several long branches out from that and from the branches I have hundreds of very little twig-like branches. The vine is on a chain link fence. Can you tell me how I need to prune these?
Muscadines should be pruned every year in late February. Muscadines produce fruit on spurs- the short stubby growths that occur on the main vine or arm of the grapevine. You probably have two arms or main runners on the top of the fence. Prune those to a length of two to three feet in each direction and then shorten the spur growth along the cane. When you are finished it will look pretty bare, but each spur should contain 3-4 buds which produce fruit.
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