The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing and Pruning Muscadine

Question: I have 3 muscadine plants that are 2 years old planted along a fence line. What type and when should the vines be fertilized? Also, what trimming should be done?

Answer: For muscadines, a basic fertilizer program is to apply a half pound of complete fertilizer (10-10-10) in spring, then 1/8 pound of ammonium nitrate (33-0-0) in late May and again in early July. Spread it in 2 parallel bands 12 to 14 inches from the trunk. Water well before and after fertilizing. Repeat in the 2nd year, but double the amounts and lengthen the bands to 48 inches. In following years, apply 2 to 4 pounds of complete fertilizer each March and 1/2 pound of ammonium nitrate each June, in bands 6 feet long starting 1 foot away from the vine's trunk. This information is from Sunset's "How to Grow Fruits, Nuts and Berries."

Muscadines should be pruned annually to spurs, which are short stubs of year-old wood that have two or three buds. The best time to prune grapes is in late winter, very early spring before new growth starts. The following site has pruning sketches.

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