Harvesting Latefry Muscadine
Today we talk about Harvesting Latefry Muscadine. The Latefry variety is a wonderful bronze variety of muscadine that tastes similar to a sweet grape. We will discuss some basic muscadine information, how to harvest them, and how to prune them.
Basic Muscadine Information
The Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) is a grapevine species native to the southeastern and south-central US from Florida to Delaware, west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. Muscadine fruit range from bronze to dark purple to black in color when ripe with a few varieties staying green when ripe. There are over 300 varieites grown in the US. Many need a pollinizer, but some are self-pollinating. A black self-fertile muscadine vine can pollinate a bronze female muscadine vine and vice versa. Female Muscadine vines average 50-60 lbs of fruit per plant and 60-80 lbs per self-fertile muscadine vine.
They grow well in sandy loam and like full sun. Muscadine are hardy in zones 7-9 and should not be grown in regions where temperatures frequently go below 10° F. They will be more cold hardy if planted against a south facing wall. They are very pest resistant and require little or no spraying.
Muscadines have a tight, non-shedding bark, warty shoots and unbranched tendrils. The leaves are slightly lobed, 2-1/2 to 5 inch with coarsely serrate edges and an acuminate point. The round, 1 to 1-1/2 inch fruits have a thick, tough skin and contain up to 5 hard, oblong seeds. Muscadine grapes start ripening mid-September to late October.
There are several patented varieties out there. I have two varieties that use to be patented, the ISON and Late Fry. They were patented, but a plant patent runs only 20 years so the patent has expired on each of these varieties. While you can now legally propagate them, you cannot market them with the name ISON and Late Fry, because the names are trademarked.
The Late Fry muscadine variety is another late season grape that is bronze and self-fertile. It produces delicious fruit that contains 20% sugar. The fruit is large and has high yields.
When they have a bronze color they are ripe. They are harvested by just reaching up and pulling on them. They will stay ripe on the vine for a while. The outer skin is a little tough. The inside is bright green and is sweet and slightly tart.
The vines consist of the trunk, permanent arms, and the fruiting spurs. Pruning must be done each year to get a good yield of large fruit. Pruning should be done in winter or earliest spring, before the buds swell.
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