January and February is the time to prune your grapes and Muscadines, while the plants are still dormant. Grapes and Muscadines require a lot of care and training for the first couple of years to establish the proper framework to insure a good strong plant. Plants can be trained to a one or two wire trellis as shown in the LSU AgCenter publication 1920 Home Muscadine Culture. A one wire trellis requires you to have two strong lateral shoots and a two-wire trellis requires you to have four strong lateral shoots. The one wire trellis is the easiest to establish when the plant is young. Do not fertilize your plants when you plant them.
To prune plants, you need to remove weak shoots and spurs and your vigorous shoots will be headed back to two to three strong buds. Remember the key to productive vines is not to have a crowded cluster and have good strong productive shoots and spurs. To achieve this, you need to thin crowded clusters every two to three years.
Now that you have your plants pruned properly, in the dormant season, you are now ready for spring fertilization. You need to apply one-half pound of complete fertilizer, 8-8-8, 13-13-13 or 17-17-17 and in June apply approximately one-quarter pound of ammonia nitrate in a three-foot diameter circle around each plant, one foot from the base of the plant.
For more information concerning grapes and Muscadines, contact County Agent Donny Moon at 318-628-4528.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture