[NAFEX] Muscadine Arbor - Pruning/Training Q and other stuff

BRosholdt rosholdt at erols.com
Sun Apr 8 17:46:06 EDT 2007

I am Zone 7a (central Virginia).  We got 5" of snow on Friday night.  It 
melted almost all away on Saturday (my winter lettuces were fine and the 
spinach was happy  but the snap peas were a little shocked).  Then 
Saturday night it went down to 23 deg.  I guess we get another night of 
it tonight.  My young apple trees on the north slope have not yet begun 
to bud, and the Meader persimmon I don't think was budding yet.  The 
oriental persimmon, also on a north slope has not shown a lot of  bloom 
yet, but the warmer peaches had bloomed, and some of the pears, wherever 
the orchard was warm...

I received two magnifient grapes from AA Vineyards.  The root on the 
Mars was impressive, and the Neptune fine.  But the row for the grapes 
was not ready, so we heeled them into an old cold compost pile.  One 
week won't hurt, I thought.  Ohboy, then this weekend - needless to say 
the bed is not ready yet.  I am very Much hoping for good weather on 
Friday so I can get the grapes planted next weekend.  AA Vineyards has 
truly impressive vines.  I like their catalog too - lots of precise 
information about the varieties in text and charts - just the way I like 
it.  Ison's has sold me my blackberries and I have some Ouachita and 
some Kiowa.  The plants were very nice - I got the Kiowa late last 
spring and they told me it was late.  I spite of it, the plants survived 
my stupidity and are threatening to grow this year.  The Oachita came as 
very nice plants, ready to go, and are probably just laughing at the 

I went out to check the Ison and heirloom muscandines I have on an 
arbor.  The leaves are just beginning to come out.  The guy I got the 
heirloom root start from tells me I shouldn't prune at all ever, or they 
will bleed to death.  However, it gets real "stemmy" if you don't prune, 
and nothing I've read said you couldn't prune.  The Ison book stated 
that pruning in the fall was a bad idea.  Anyway, I've made up my mind 
to prune, but now that the leaves are out, do I have to wait for real 
warm weather in May for summer pruning or can I get in there now while 
we are having a spate of cold weather - even with the little leaves out?

Also these grapes are being trained up 10' to the top of an arbor.  Last 
year, Ison got up there with three shoots.  The heirloom didn't quite 
make it.  Lon, I read your book.  Should I treat the heirloom like a 
regular bunch grape and cut it back down and let it try again?  I don't 
see a lot on muscadine pruning, and almost nothing or muscadine pruning 
on a 10x10 arbor!  Suggestions?

Barbara R.

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