The scuppernong grape, also known as the muscadine grape, is native to the Southeastern United States. Scuppernongs grow well in the region’s warm and humid climate, their vines growing 60 to 100 feet. Much of the work that goes into caring for scuppernongs centers on pruning the vines properly. Heavy annual pruning of the scuppernong vines ensures healthy and bountiful fruit production. Also, pruning assists in training scuppernong vines on the trellis.
Prune your scuppernong vine back to one stem after planting it. Cut the remaining stem back to two or three buds, or “spurs.”
Choose the strongest shoot and cut away all the other shoots after new growth begins. Tie the shoot loosely to a stake placed beside the scuppernong vine plant. Remove side shoots from the main shoot every week.
Cut the growing tip when the vine is just below the trellis wire. This will force lateral buds, which you can train down the wire.
Prune back the side shoots to two or three buds during the first dormant season. Leave the one-year spurs about 6 inches apart.
Cut back all lateral shoots to two to three buds during every dormant season thereafter. Prune back all shoot growth from the past growing season until you’re left with fruiting spurs 4 to 5 inches long.
Thin the clusters of spurs that develop after the fourth or fifth fruiting year. Thinning of these spurs will encourage new spur growth, bearing healthier fruit than the older spurs.
Things You Will Need
- Pruning shears
- While pruning your scuppernong vines, watch for pests like leaf hoppers, aphids and flea beetles. Also keep an eye out for fungal diseases, such as bitter rot, powdery mildew, angular leaf spot and black rot on the fruit, leaves and flower clusters.
- Don't make your trellis so tall that you can't reach the upper vines and shoots. Scuppernong vines require regular, aggressive pruning, so you'll need to be able to reach the entire vine easily.