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Section 11: Vineyard Planning for Post and Plant Spacing

Set the posts or set the posts and finish the trellis before planting. It is much more difficult to set the posts after planting. Mark the rows and post holes again by running the subsoiler a few inches deep down the row and across the rows. String tied to the end posts can also be used to mark the location for rows and posts.

Set posts 20 feet apart in the rows and 10-12 feet between rows for the single wire trellis. Twenty feet apart in the row and 12 feet between rows is the standard plant and post spacing for the single wire trellis (182 vines per acre). This allows for a plant to be set next to each post, a definite advantage in supporting the fruit load and protecting the plant from damage in the case of mechanical harvest.

Photo 11.1: Plant near the post to help support the area of greatest weight.

Plants can be set as close as 12 feet in the row,and this increases early yields.However, most muscadine cultivars are vigorous and tangling of adjacent plants may be a problem when the vines are set close together.Twelve feet between rows allows for a full size pick-up truck to be driven in the aisles of a mature muscadine vineyard.

For the Geneva Double Curtain, set the posts 20 feet apart in the row and 12-14 feet apart between rows.Set the plants 14-20 feet in the row.The distance between the two cordon (arms) in the Geneva Double Curtain is four feet, so use 14 feet between rows if you plan to drive large equipment down the aisles. To determine the number of posts or plants per acre, multiply the post or plant spacing and divide this into 43,560 (i.e. 14 feet x 14 feet = 196 square feet, 43,560 square feet per acre 196 square feet per vine = 222 vine per acre).Following planting, train the vine as outlined in the “Training the Vine” section of this bulletin. If it is possible that mechanical pruning and/or harvesting may become a part of the vineyard operation, it is extremely important to set the plants near the line posts. In later years, the trellis posts will help protect the trunk from machinery. Muscadines produce their greatest concentration of fruit near the trunk so this is another reason for setting the vines close to the trellis posts.An exception to this rule is if hand harvest with catch frames is planned.In this case it is best to plant the vines between the posts. Spacing plants as recommended provides good air movement, adequate sunlight, and enough room for the plants to grow. It also provides room for equipment to move freely between the rows. Allow 20 to 30 feet at the end of rows for turn-around space.

Section 12: Selecting Posts