I am far from a muscadine expert, but seems like it would be faster to concentrate the energy to a single upward vine. You only need the 2 10-foot “fruiting arms” at the top - it’s kinda wasted growth to have double the “trunk” growth.
Also - what were your factors in deciding on an 8-foot high wire?
My Ison muscadine is flushing lots of nice vegetative growth, but it appears to have far fewer flower buds compared to last year.
I’m not sure if this is due to our hard freeze in mid-April and 2 near-frosts in early May (MAY!!!), or if it’s because I allowed it to overcrop last year.
I have a hard time knowing how much to thin the vines. Ison’s growing instructions say something like “X pounds of fruit per vine” but how in the world are you supposed to know what that looks like? LOL
My Darlene vine looks really nice too but seems to have about the same amount of flower buds as last year, which isn’t a ton. Last year was it’s third year in the ground I think, and first year to fruit.
Thanks. That makes sense. I’ll pinch back the shorter shoot to direct the energy into the other one, but probably leave it there for while so the leaves can help feed the plant until it gets more active growth established.
In terms of the height of the wire, it may actually turn out to be closer to 7.5 feet up, but basically I’m growing the vine along the west side of a garden plot and I’d like it higher to keep it out of the way of other things and so that it doesn’t block airflow, etc. As long as most growth is at or below the wire I should still be able to prune it and pick fruit without a step ladder. If it was just an open area I would keep it at 6 feet or even a little less to make it easier to manage.
I don’t grow either of your varieties but some just don’t fruit as heavy as others. In my case my lowest producer as of now is Black Beauty and it is also my favorite taste wise so it has a home with me. Lane and Supreme always give me a good crop. I suggest not to over think the pruning and just cut back every winter to 2-3 buds of last years growth. Each year there will be a gradual increase in buds/potential fruit.
I really really like the Ison videos. Recommend them highly!!! I go back and watch them from time to time, to check myself, as we go through the first season. We put in 6 new vines this spring, and most are just reaching the wire and splitting off to go in their own direction. Everything is really scrawny at this point, but I am fertilizing and pinching back the suckers . . . just like Mr. Ison says!
It is amazing how fast the vines grow with the Ison’s method. Some of my vines got to the end of the wire in one year and some didn’t. As my season got hot in July and August they did slow down some. Six mature vines have the potential to produce more than one family can use. Muscadines are enjoyable to grow and if I had room I would plant several more than I could use.
Weather forecast looks good to finish a strong muscadine pollination season. As always Lane and Supreme are looking the best. My Black Beauty has less fruit than the others and looking forward I will probably leave more buds when I winter prune next time around.
I agree, the Ison videos are great. They have also been pretty good about answering the occasional email question.
I got the “plus” vines or whatever they call their slightly-more-expensive offerings. One was already long enough to reach the 5’ wire when i received it.
I’ve ordered blackberries from them too, and they have done well. I feel like they have high-quality plants.
Last year I didn’t trim my vines and they were a pain to mow around. This year I have been pinching the tips when they are about 3’ long. I have a set of cordless hedge cutters that I plan to use and cut them about 18" from the ground.
it just seems like you have way more fruit than i do.
how old are your vines?
Mine are starting their 4th year in the ground I think.
I also noticed yesterday that on my Darlene vine, several flower buds are turning brown. I can’t say I’ve really noticed that before.
It has been quite dry here - that’s my suspected culprit. I’ve taken to watering the vines over the last couple days. They don’t appear to be drought-stressed otherwise.