How to Prune & Train Muscadine Vines


Muscadine vines are an ideal plant to grow and train on a trellis. One of the most common ways to grow them is on a vertical trellis system in your garden or landscape. It is necessary to train the vines for them to learn to climb up the trellis, and an important part of this is pruning them. If not pruned correctly, vines can become a tangled mass of non-producing branches.

Step 1

Create a three-line trellis for the muscadine vines for the optimum growth. Insert a wooden or metal stake into the ground next to each muscadine plant, then string three lines of twine between them 2 feet apart, with the bottom line 2 feet from the ground. The height of the stakes depends on the height of your plant, but it should be several feet taller than it's current height to accommodate future growth.

Step 2

Cut off the side shoots from young muscadine vines with the pruning scissors to develop a central trunk. Do this as the vine grows, making sure there are only offshoots at the lateral support lines. These will create arms that spread out from the muscadine trunk. Use the pruning scissors for smaller vines, and the pruning shears for thicker branches or vines.

Step 3

Prune off the top the trunk with the pruning shears when it grows to 6 inches below the top trellis line. This is called topping the muscadine plant. Allow the two sprouts that form on top to become the top arms.

Step 4

Wrap young vines that sprout loosely around the lines when they are 6 inches or longer. Do not remove leaves from the trunk; these are needed to nourish the plant.

Step 5

Trim any shoots that grow from the young vines with the pruning scissors, making them 6 inches shorter or less. This helps encourage the growth of the primary young vines you have trained to become side shoots or arms.

Step 6

Prune every winter when the vines are dormant, cutting back to the basic framework and leaving just the trunk, young vines, and fruiting spurs. Cut off any shoots sprouting from old wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Trellis materials (wooden or metal stakes and twine)
  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning scissors


  • About Muscadines
  • Pruning and Training Muscadine Vines
Keywords: muscadine training, pruning muscadine, caring for muscadine vines

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.