[NAFEX] muscadines for the north?
lovehd at comcast.net
Sun Mar 7 10:59:06 EST 2010
Southern Home is probably 90-95% muscadine and very late. The non-muscadine component is from pure V. vinifera (from ~6 generations back), which does not add any significant hardiness. Even if hardiness was much improved, muscadines require a lot of heat and ripen very late, so the length of the growing season is as much of a limitation as hardiness. There are many other hybrids out there between muscadine and bunch grape developed many years ago by Bob Dunstan and later by Bob Zehnder, but these are mostly very late and not very cold hardy. None are commercially available-most are in the hands of private breeders and collectors. There are a few F1 hybrids of muscadine with very hardy, early ripening bunch grapes, but no large scale work is being done with these. I have a couple of these that just barely set a few berries. The F1 hybrids are often highly sterile, but can sometimes produce a few good seeds when backcrossed. These backcrosses can result in hybrids with much improved fertility, but breeding progress is painfully slow.
There are also some wild muscadines at the very northern limit of their natural range that may be more suitable for zone 5/6 areas. These are on the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Kentucky up to about Rockcastle County. This region is mostly zone 6a, but has a few small areas listed as zone 5b on the old zone maps and has much lower summer heat levels than the areas where most of the improved muscadine cultivars came from originally. I doubt anyone has ever worked with this material, so it could be worthwhile for someone to explore it's "northern" potential.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Melissa Kacalanos" <mijwiz at yahoo.com>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 7, 2010 9:16:53 AM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: [NAFEX] muscadines for the north?
I really like the unique flavor of muscadine grapes, but I live in zone 5. (Where I can grow plenty of other great grapes, so I shouldn't complain, but...) I read that muscadines are hardy only to zone 7, so I was resigned to being unable to grow them, but then I read about this muscadine/bunch grape hybrid:
Apparently, hybrids between the two species are usually sterile, but this one is fertile. It seems to be mostly muscadine. Unfortunately, the nurseries selling it say that it, like regular muscadines, is hardy only to zone 7.
But it got me thinking that, if one fertile hybrid is possible, more should also be possible. If someone crossed a muscadine with a really cold-hardy grape, they might produce something I could grow. Is anyone doing something like this?
getting tired of looking at snow
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