Wednesday, March 16, 2016

At what point do muscadine vines begin to taper off in production?

Our family has a set of muscadine vines that are about 35 years old. They are prolific when pruned yearly. How long should I expect these vines to produce before we cut them down and replant? I saw your video where you pruned 50-year old vines. At what point do vines begin to taper off in production?

There's no particular age at which point vines begin to taper off. As long as they're maintained well, they can live to ripe old ages. The oldest scuppernong, known as the "Mother Vine" growing at Manteo, NC, was estimated to have been over 400 years old. I think it died fairly recently.

Sometimes even with annual pruning, the vines can become overgrown, so need to be renovated, cut back real hard to remove some or most of the old "spurs that" that have grown to look like antlers. You'll lose some production in doing so. I'm in the process of doing some of that now. Some are going strong. I'm removing a few unproductive vines. It's possible that some unproductive vines cut down to the ground will re-sprout from the trunk and give you a fresh, new, productive vine from the old roots.

The vines can certainly outlast the trellises they grow upon.

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