When To Prune Muscadines

Q: My muscadines have not been pruned but the vines are just about fully leafed out. What do I do at this point?

A: It is tough to decide what to do this late in the spring. Flowers have already started forming at the base of the long shoots. If you prune the shoots back to two buds, as you would do in January, you will remove leaves that would feed the flowers as they develop fruit. In my opinion, you should first inspect the vines to make sure no choking tendrils from last year‘s growth have wrapped around the main cordons. Remove them when found. Then do some light ‘nipping and tipping’ to shape the vines enough to make mowing underneath and harvesting easy. Enjoy this year‘s grapes but be aware you will have a big job of pruning this winter to get the vines back to the shape they should be in before next spring. I have details on muscadine culture at http://www.walterreeves.com/food-gardening/muscadine-grape/.