Muscadines are frequently damaged when temperatures at or below 0oF occur. The following are suggestions which may help to lessen or eliminate cold injury and speed the recovery of the vines.
- Do not plant cold tender cultivars in north Georgia and avoid them in middle Georgia if possible. Do not plant cold tender cultivars on marginal sites (too wet, poor soil, very low elevation, etc.) anywhere in the state.
- Prune cold tender cultivars late in the winter.
- Do not overcrop cold tender cultivars. Do not allow any cultivar to carry significant amounts of immature fruit into the winter. This can be a death sentence. Apparently, the immature fruit continues to “sap” the vine even into the winter.
- Keep the vines healthy by control of the grape root borer and retention of the leaves with fungicides, proper weed control and proper fertilization.
- Do not wrap vines excessively on the wire while training. The cold metal wire is a good conductor of warmth away from the vine. (This statement is a supposition; not a proven fact.)
- Cold damaged vines frequently will lose one arm or a section of an arm. If pruning has not been conducted prior to the cold injury, a long, vigorous “bull” cane can be placed on the trellis wire after cutting off the damaged arm.
Vines killed to the ground will often resprout. Use milk cartons or some type of physical protection around the vines after the new shoots emerge to prevent contact with herbicides.