How to Prune Muscadine Canes

Muscadine grapevines (Muscadiniana rotundifolia) are commonly called scuppernongs. When ripe, the berries range from bronze to dark purple in colour, depending on the variety grown. Because of their tough exterior, Muscadine grapes are mostly used for producing jelly, juice or wine. When eaten raw, their tough skin must be punctured and the pulp subsequently sucked out of inside. They need less frightening hours than other grape types and have a long storage life. Muscadine grapevines do well in many conditions and have an extremely high tolerance to pests and diseases. They need regular pruning each time to ensure decent fruit production and maintain healthy vigor.

Remove all but the two healthiest canes in late winter before bud break with pruning shears. Cut the weaker canes flush with the grapevine back or lateral branch.

Trim down the two present canes in early spring so every cane has just 12 to 15 buds remaining , making the cut 1/3 inch above the grass node. These buds will expand into posterior divisions, called spurs.

Grow the spurs in a spacing of 6 to 12 inches apart on the main canes. Prune away new sprouts that begin to develop between the spurs throughout the growing season.

Cut back spurs to four or three buds each fall before dormancy, 1/3 inch above the grass node. The rest of the buds will expand into new spurs the subsequent season.

Remove one-fourth of this fruiting canes during dormancy, four to five years after planting to force new wood to develop. Utilize the cut flush with the the grapevine back or lateral branch.

See related