Muscadine vines must be pruned every year; if a year is missed it will take several years to bring the vineyard back to normal production. For a great many years the idea has prevailed that pruning Muscadine grape vines from January through February and March would kill the vines. Through experimental work, we have proven this idea erroneous. Pruning may be done at any time while the vines are dormant. Bleeding will occur when late pruning is done, however there will be no adverse effect on the vines. Late pruning will delay bud break from three to eight days. Sometimes this is beneficial because the delay could result in escape from late frost.
The fruit spurs are formed by cutting back the first lateral growth which arises from the main arms. This lateral growth is normally formed by the end of the second growing season. These lateral canes are cut back to two or three buds. Every year thereafter, the growth of the current year is cut back to two or three buds. The build-up of numbers of those short spurs determines the productivity of the plants. The purpose of pruning is to balance vegetative and fruit growth, increase berry and cluster size, increase yields and to hold plants within convenient bounds.