Zones for Muscadine Grapes

snoggle75July 10, 2010

Most things I've read list the zones for muscadines as 7-10, but a few include zone 6. Is there any reality to this, or are they just trying to sell more plants?

I want to try planting them on the fence by my heated greenhouse - thought that might create a slightly warmer microclimate. Does anyone know which varieties that have edible skins are more cold hardy? If I'm gonna give it a shot, I'd like to use the most cold hardy varieties I can. I'd like to use them for fresh eating, so I'd prefer edible skins, but hardiness is more important.

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BTW - I'm not picky about color, I'll try the blacks, reds, or bronze ones.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 12:09AM
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This publication mentions cold hardiness for dofferent cultivars.

Vines can also be laid down and buried in earth or thick mulch for winter.

The descriptions in the Ison's Nursery and the Bottom's Nursery websites might help for other characteristics of the fruit.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 7:41PM
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According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, "Carlos, Magnolia, and Sterling are three of the most consistently cold-hardy varieties. Noble and Nesbitt are also more cold hardy."

From what I've read the most common problems with them and the cold is that sometimes the cordons will die back from cold damage. The plant's roots survive, but you loose the cordons and must start over with new growth after a bad freeze. They also seem sensitive to warm spells during winter to which they start coming out of dormancy and then get bitten back by cold snaps afterwards. Planting with east exposures might be best with protection from cold northwest winds and warm southwest sun. I'm in a 6b-7a zone, where I'm trying to grow 3 of them in large containers and trained to a PVC arbor that stands in the container. I'm planning to bring mine inside the garage for the winter. There are wild grapes that grow along the fence line behind my lot, and they seem to get killed back to the base about half the time over the past few winters, so I'm going to try to protect mine. Also don't prune them until all thread of frost is past, because it will stimulate new growth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Muscadine PDF file from NC Coop Ext Serv

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 9:38PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have found they can often take lows down to about zero without much dieback. Maybe even a couple degrees lower than that. But if you are getting -5F or colder most winters its probably not worth it. I found Supreme and Darlene more hardy than Carlos so I'm not sure what to make of that NC recommendation.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 11:37PM
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Supreme and Darlene are both newer varieties with really great fruit from everything I've read. The NC Coop Ext Serv mentioned several of the other new varieties including Supreme, for people to try. They are making recommendations not just for home growers with a few vines, but also for farmers that are planting many acres of vines, so they don't recommend new varieties until there is lots of experience with them. Darlene is a patented variety from a grower in middle Georgia. Having lived in Macon, GA for several years, I can swear that it is hotter than hades. Plants developed for summers with triple digit temps and dew points near 90 are not the first ones that come to mind for cold hardiness, although heat and cold tolerance are not always mutually exclusive.

From what I've read about both Supreme and Darlene, they both produce really great fruit when they've got the right conditions, but there seems to be some question of what those conditions are. Researchers are getting conflicting results with great crops in some places and not-so-great in others. Some confusion from the test plots is that there is no clear indication of why they have not done well in the areas where they have not.

One of the reasons it is so great to grow our own fruits is that we can grow varieties that produce great fruit in our location, even though that variety may not function well for commercial growers elsewhere.

Another website that has really detailed information on all kinds of fruit including muscadines, is the small fruit growers consortium. They consolidate information from lots of the state Coop Ext Services along with commercial growers experience with fruits.

Here is a link that might be useful: other muscadine varities

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 2:13PM
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