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Fall is time for muscadines

POSTED: October 14, 2009 4:00 a.m.

There are many things I enjoy about this time of year: Cool nights, changing of the color of leaves, college football and muscadines.

  

Yes, I said muscadines. 

  

If you are truly from the south, surely you remember the great taste of muscadines. The muscadine grape was one of the most pleasant surprises found by the early colonists that settled in the southern portion of the United States.

  

One question that is often asked relates to the difference between a muscadine and scuppernong. After a little research, I discovered the scuppernong is only a cultivar of bronze muscadines found growing wild on the Scuppernong River in North Carolina about 1810.

  

Most wild muscadines are small and black, but the scuppernong cultivar has a large bronze fruit. For many years, scuppernong was the main type of muscadine grown by homeowners. Today there are many popular muscadine cultivars that grow well in our area.

  

Muscadines produce best in full sun or fertile, well-drained soil. The soil pH and fertilization need of the soil is important. A soil test by the University of Georgia Extension Office is recommended before the muscadine is planted. 

Plants of recommended cultivars are either female or self-fertile (perfect flowered). If female cultivars are going to be used in a vineyard, they must be interplanted with perfect flowering cultivars for pollination.

  

Trellis for muscadines is most important. The weight of a mature muscadine vine can be great. Construct a trellis that cannot only hold weight, but last for many years.

  

Growing muscadines in a homeowner vineyard can be enjoyable for many years, but planning ahead before you plant is the key to their success.

  

For more information on soil sampling, plant selections and growing muscadines, call the Dawson County Extension Office at (706) 265-2442.

 

Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.

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