Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 21, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Interest in both dooryard and commercial muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia, Michx.) production has increased dramatically in the last two decades, mostly due to improved cultivars for both fresh consumption and wine production, and to numerous studies touting their extraordinary nutraceutical properties. The pruning of muscadine grape vineyards annually is essential to maintaining optimum production level. The recommended pruning technique involves retention of 3-bud fruiting spurs spaced approximately 15 cm apart along the main vine cordon. Muscadine grape cultivars vary in vigor and in their ability to produce fruiting buds. It was hypothesized that the practice of 3-bud spur pruning with the periodic retention of canes cut to a length of 45-50 cm may allow for increased production and higher yield on the retained cane’s fruiting buds. A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of cane pruning on young vines of five widely grown muscadine grape cultivars at McNeill, MS in 2010 and 2011. Results of this study indicated that muscadine grape cultivars showed a differential response to pruning. Two cultivars , Nesbit and Noble, responded by yield increases of 54 and 63%, respectively when canes spaced 0.5m apart were retained during pruning in comparison to the 3-bud spur alone technique. No yield response was detected for ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Carlos’ or ‘Summit. Pruning technique had no effect on measurements of fruit quality including berry size, berry firmness, soluble solids content or pH. These results suggested that muscadine grape cultivars differ in their capacity develop fruiting buds on canes, and that enhanced productivity may be achieved by practicing cane pruning in those that do possess this trait. Additional studies will include these and an additional treatment involving 3-bud spur + cane pruning spaced at 0.25 m.