Muscadines are native to Southeast United States and grow best in hot, humid climates. They are a member of the grape family and produce a tough-skinned, dark-purple fruit. When muscadines are ripe they appear black in color. This fruit is often used to make wine, jellies, jams and syrup. Muscadines are not tolerant to extreme cold temperatures. An early frost can destroy a crop of muscadines until the following year. The fruit matures in late summer and the plants become dormant in the winter.
Select potted muscadine plants from your nursery. Choose plants that are at least 4 to 6 inches tall. Look for healthy plants that have no wilting leaves.
Choose a location to plant your muscadines. The area should get full sun throughout the entire day. A few hours of shade will cut your fruit production. Planting sites should get six to eight hours of sun a day.
Test the soil to make sure the pH is between 5.5 and 6.5. If the soil pH is too high you should add 1 lb. of sulfur for every 100 square feet of soil. If the soil pH is too low you should add 15 lbs. of lime for every 100 square feet of soil.
Dig a hole about 8 to 12 inches deep or large enough to accommodate the entire root system without bunching it up. Place the muscadine vines into the hole with the roots about 3 inches below the ground. Refill the hole with soil that was removed when the hole was dug. Pack the soil down gently with your foot so that the plants are secure.
Water the muscadine vines with 2 gallons of water per day from May to June. A drip irrigation system is the best way to water your vines. Normal rainfall is usually enough to water the fruit for the rest of the year.
Apply 1/4 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil at the first of the month in April, May, June and July. The fertilizer should be dispersed about 12 inches from the base of the vines in a circle. Add 1/4 lb. of calcium nitrate on the 15th in April, May, June and July. Increase the amount to 1/2 lb. in the second year.
Add 4 to 6 inches of mulch at the base of the vines. The mulch will help hold water in the root zone and will control weeds.