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How to Grow Scuppernongs

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How to Grow Scuppernongs

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Overview

Scuppernongs, a North American native variety of grape, is also part of the muscadine grape family. Though scuppernongs are one only variety of muscadines, the name is often applied to all muscadine varieties. Scuppernong grapes resemble white grapes, but each grape is twice the size of a white grape. Scuppernongs grow in the warm climates of the southeastern United States where temperatures rarely fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Select a location with full sun and well-drained soil. Scuppernongs will grow in a variety of soil types, but cannot tolerate standing water. The best location to plant scuppernongs is on the south side of a hillside where they will get adequate light, drainage and air circulation.

Step 2

Erect a trellis system. Sink a 10-foot fence post that is 7 inches in diameter into the ground at each end of a scuppernong row. Do not make a row more than 600 feet long. Sink each post 1/3 of the way into the ground and slant them away from the trellis at a 15 to 30 degree angle. Dig holes with a post hole digger, place the post into the hole and fill with soil. Space each trellis at least 8 feet apart.

Step 3

Stretch a heavy-gauge wire between the posts. Attach the wire 5 to 6 feet off the ground and anchor it to the post with screw anchors. Place turnbuckles throughout the wire to take up slack should the wire sag. If you stretch two wires between the posts, one should be 3 feet off the ground and the other should be 6 feet off the ground.

Step 4

Erect posts every 8 feet along the row to support the wire trellis. The in-row posts should be 8 feet long and 5 inches in diameter. Sink each post 1/3 of the way into the ground.

Step 5

Plant vines in spring after all chances of freezing temperatures are past. Space each vine 10 to 20 feet apart. Plant the vines in the ground at the same depth as their original soil line.

Step 6

Prune the vine back to its single hardiest stem. Cut that stem so that it is only 2 to 3 buds long. Sink a bamboo stake into the ground and tie the stem to the stake with polyethylene plant ties so that it will grow upwards to form the main vine of the scuppernong. Retie the vine weekly as it grows and continue cutting away side shoots until the plant reaches the top wire of the trellis, and remove the tip of the vine to encourage it to develop side shoots. Tie these shoots to the trellis as it grows to form the cordons of your scuppernong.

Step 7

Apply ¼ lb. of a granulated, balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer in an 18-inch ring around the roots of the plant after planting. Repeat every six weeks until early July. Double this amount during the second growing season and widen the ring of fertilizer to 21 inches. Once vines mature, scatter 2 lbs. of fertilizer in March and June.

Step 8

Cultivate shallowly around the roots of the plant to remove weeds with a cultivating fork. Weeds steal nutrients and water and will stunt the growth of your grapes.

Step 9

Prune the side shoots growing from the cordons back each year to 2 to 3 buds.

Step 10

Water vines during the first two seasons after they are planted. Scuppernong vines are very drought tolerant, and do not require water once they have become established.

Things You'll Need

  • Post hole diggers
  • Fence posts: 10 feet long and 7 inches in diameter
  • Fence posts: 8 feet long and 5 inches in diameter
  • Heavy gauge wire
  • Turnbuckles
  • Scuppernong vines
  • Pruning shears
  • Bamboo stake
  • Polyethylene ties
  • Granulated, balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer
  • Cultivating fork
  • Garden hose

References

  • NC State University Extension: Muscadine Grapes in the Home Garden
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: The Muscadine Grape
  • Mississippi State University Extension: North Mississippi Garden Tips

Who Can Help

  • University of Arkansas: Muscadine Grapes
Keywords: growing muscadines, raising scuppernong grapes, grape trellises

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."

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