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Section 5: Vineyard Location

Muscadine grapes produce best in full sun on fertile, well-drained soil with good waterholding capacity. Soils types with high yield potential for row crops make the best muscadine grape sites. Your soil conservation agent can help you determine which soils on your farm are best suited for muscadines. Muscadines can also be grown successfully on lower quality or very sandy soils with timely irrigation and fertilization.

Sites with good elevation and cold air drainage are preferred because they are less prone to late spring freezes. Late spring freezes can be a problem at very low elevations, since cold air settles in these areas during radiation freezes. Muscadines break bud relatively late in the spring, but the new growth is very frost tender and freezes at around 30 degrees F. Fortunately, muscadines will often produce a second crop of blooms from secondary buds after a freeze.

Photo 5.1: If available, select a vineyard site with good air and water drainage.

Muscadines tolerate marginally wet soils better than most fruit crops, but in these situations the vines are not as healthy and consequently not as long-lived. Improvements in soil drainage can be made through preplant bedding, tile drainage, or ditching. When bedding on wet sites, be sure to make the bed wide enough to contain a large volume of well drained soil. A bed at least four feet wide is suggested.

In many counties there are opportunities for pick-your-own operations. Other counties already have one or more existing operations and consideration should be given not to infringe on the market another farmer has developed. There are many other fruit crops which can be successful grown for the pick-your-own market such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, and plums. Detailed information on these crops is available from your county Extension office.

Section 6: Cultivars