Monday, January 13, 2014

Renovating an old muscadine grape trellis

Q. Mr. Marshall, about 20 years back my mother planted some muscadines on a t-post arbor system. She passed away shortly after, and depressed, we all let the land kinda fall into disrepair. I've been working on bringing the yard back, and I finally got to the back where the muscadines were/are. Evidently a tree fell on the trellis at some point and though her original plantings still live, it is horribly over grown, there are shoots every where and trees that need felling. I found remnants of old fruit and rabbit droppings so I believe they are were still fruiting, but I had to cut down the older ones to get at the t-post and mesh it had snarled around. I left about a foot off the ground. It seems to be okay, but there is one gnarled up sucker that has 3 trunks.  Are these things hardy enough that I can expect them to come back? Are they responsive to hard cutting back? Or do you think I probably lost them?

I'd like to set them on a 1 wire trellis like you have here.
A.I think you would do well to cut the old trunks flush with the ground. It will be easier for you to work around them clearing brush, setting up your new trellis, etc. If the plants are in reasonably good health, they should sprout. After a few weeks of growth, choose the strongest vine to become your new trunk. Remove the others. It will take some doing to keep the others from returning, but stick with it.

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