Muscadine grapes (vitis rotundifolia) grow in the wild throughout the Southeastern United States. There are well known varieties and my favorite is the Scuppernong. When I established my vegetable garden 3 years ago I had a small growing area and, in my wisdom, ignored the instructions to “set the plants 20 feet apart in 10 foot rows”. Instead, I set up 3 horizontal wires, 5 ft high, 1 ft apart, and ran this down the middle of my vegetable garden. I figured the horizontal wires would give the plants adequate sun exposure, the 1 ft spacing would allow air circulation and my heavily composted soil would support a larger number of closely planted muscadines. Sounds good in theory. What I did not know is that muscadine roots can travel long distances (I heard one grower say up to 70 ft). I suppose the roots are a bit like the vines, which also grow interminably. Result was the muscadine roots began invading my raised beds, my tomato plantings, in fact all my plantings.
So I waited until first frost (a few days ago) and am now replanting 6 of the vines. Not a simple task. It is easy enough to trim the vines to 10 ft lengths, but extricating 10 ft lengths of root without damaging them is more difficult. Where the root forks you have to be careful not to tear off and strip of the root.
I previously had run a 5 ft high cable between my fruit trees to support tomato cages for my tomato plants. Also not a good idea. While the vegetable garden is circled by a 5 ft fence which keeps out squirrels, deer etc. my fruit orchard is not protected and a lot of wildlife visitors enjoyed my tomatoes this year. So I removed the tomato cages, dug a ditch below the cable and aligned the roots of the muscadine down the trench, covered with compost and soil, and watered. And I hope the muscadines will survive and grow. This took care of 3 of the 6 muscadines, but I had to develop a location for the other 3 muscadines.
I decided to extend the cable further down the orchard which meant inserting another post to carry the cable. I attached the augur to my tractor and used a large drill to dig a 3 ft hole. Then with a chain attached to my tractor bucket I hoisted my post (an 8 ft cherry tree trunk) into the air and lowered the trunk into the hole. Remaining steps are to extend the cable and transplant the remaining muscadines. A lot of work to correct a mistake made 3 years ago.