Raising muscadine grapes with growth tubes

J. Lu, Z. Ren


An experiment to accelerate grapevine growth and reduce the maintenance cost was designed to test the effectiveness of growth tubes on muscadine grapevine growth. Thirtysix inch-tall and 2.5-inch-diameter Clipper Growth Tubes (Treessentials Company, Mendona Heights, MN) were used for containing the grape vine. Three muscadine cultivars, Try', 'Late Fry', and 'Pam' were used for this study. The vines were planted in late February, 1999 and measured twice during the growing season. The first measurement was taken 3 monthsafter planting, and the second was conducted 2 months later. Results from this study indicated that the growth tubes significantly increased the growth rate of the muscadine vines. Most of the vines growing in the polyethylene tubes reached the trellis wire only 4 months after planting, at least 4 months earlier than the normal growth. The vines growing inside the growth-tubes also had significantly more leaves and slightly more shoots than the control. No difference was found in size of main stems among vines raised with or without the growth tubes. No additional disease or heat damage was observed on vines within the growth tubes. Since vine training is not necessary until trunks reach the trellis, labor cost is expected to be reduced greatly by using the growth tubes. In addition, the growth tube makes it much more convenient for workers to spray herbicide without herbicide accidentally contacting the leaves. Overall, the results favor the use of growth tubes for raising muscadine grapes in the southeast United States.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283