How to Train Muscadine Vines


The muscadine grape, a wild plant, grows vigorously across the southeastern parts of the United States. It must be pruned or it will quickly overtake an area, creeping to the tops of trees. Without nearby trees, it will form a thick tangle of branches with very small, sour fruits. But muscadine grape vines can be pruned back to produce grapes high in phenolic content, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticlotting properties, according to Jim Core of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Train muscadine grape vines to up a trellis to contain the plant growth.

Step 1

Establish a strong structure by pruning back the plant so that there is one main trunk about 6 feet high. If you are cutting back a bramble, this might be quite a task. If you are starting with a new plant, allow one main stem to grow without pruning the first year. This will be the trunk of your muscadine grape vine.

Step 2

Tie the top of the vine with a wire that stretches upwards to the trellis, putting some tension on it to force it to grow straight upwards. Don't put so much tension on it that it pulls the plant out of the ground. Don't cut the top growth bud until it reaches the top of the trellis. Keep the top trimmed back to force side growth.

Step 3

Allow three or four side shoots to grow into fruiting branches. Let them grow all summer until the plant goes dormant in the fall, then cut the side shoots back to only two or three buds long. Prune any branches that grow off these side branches.

Step 4

Trim off any tendrils that might cut off circulation on the trunk and branches of the plant. As the plant gets bigger, these tendrils tend to get tighter and will girdle the branch. It is much easier to trim them back while the plant is small, before the tendril is buried in the bark of the vine.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Wire
  • Trellis


  • USDA: Grape Expectations - New Muscadine
  • University of Arkansas: Muscadine Grape Production
Keywords: muscadine grapes, pruning grapes, grape vine, pruning vines

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.