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How to Plant Muscadine Vines

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Discovered by the first explorers and settlers of the southeast United States, the muscadine grape is known as the first native grape. Since then, hundreds of varieties have been developed of the muscadine grape for you to choose from. The muscadine grape should be planted from December to February and does not tolerate frost or cold. It will not survive if you live in an area that experiences temperatures at or below zero degrees F. Somewhat challenging to establish, the mature muscadine grape is a vigorous grower with an abundant yield of grapes.

Select an area to plant your muscadine grape vines that receives full sun and has rich, loamy soil that will drain well. Avoid areas that are low lying and may be susceptible to frost. These low-lying areas may also be too wet for your muscadine grape vine to flourish. Cold and too wet soil for your muscadine grape are to be avoided for successful cultivation.

Dig a hole that will accommodate the entire root ball of your muscadine grape, usually 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep and wide. Your muscadine grape vine will establish itself much faster if you dig the planting hole wider than the root ball size so that you are filling in around the roots loose, loamy soil that the roots can easily grow into, instead of the slick, compacted soil of the hole wall.

Add to the dug out soil organic material and sand to make the soil richer, loamier and drain better. Although the muscadine grape is not particular about the soil it grows in and adapts well, it grows faster if the soil has the richness of organic matter and the drainage and air circulation for the roots that the addition of sand provides. If your soil is heavy with clay, mix into the soil you removed organic material and sand in a 1-to-2 to 1-to-1 ratio, organic matter/sand to clay soil.

Add one to two gallons of water into the dug hole before planting your muscadine grape vine. Place the entire root ball of your muscadine grape into the hole and fill in around it with the enriched, loamy, sandy soil.

Fertilize your muscadine grape vine after you plant it with 1/2 lb. of 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. The fertilizer should be spread on the soil 12 to 14 inches away from the vine trunk and in two separate bands. In late May and early June, add 1/8 lb. of ammonium nitrate to the soil in the same manner. Repeat this fertilizing procedure the next year, but double the amounts.

Water as needed, using a drip irrigation system. In areas where 30 or more inches of rain fall annually, you usually do not need to do additional watering of your your muscadine grape vine unless a period of 60 days goes by without rainfall. If an extended dry period happens, begin watering your muscadine grape vines using a drip irrigation system until the rains resume.

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