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Mr. Smarty Plants - Propagation of mustang grape

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Thursday - March 10, 2005

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of mustang grape
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I'm looking to plant several vines of mustang grapes near my parents retirement home in Beeville, TX (78102). I really have two questions - what's the best way to find them at a nursery or relocate part of another nearby plant? There are several vines along a creek bottom not too far away, but I'd really like to move them toward the house to make it more accessible. My second question is, what do I need to do make sure they're successful (location, water, sun), and yield a decent amount fruit? Thanks!

ANSWER:

On the Wildflower Center web page you can search for plant suppliers over the United States that specialize in native plants. On the side bar choose Explore Plants, then Suppliers Directory. On that page you can choose Nurseries or Seed Companies and then search by state or region. I made a preliminary search in Nurseries under Texas and found Natives of Texas Nursery near Kerrville listing mustang grape plants for sale in their catalog. You might find more nurseries with mustang grapes for sale by contacting those on the Nurseries list for Texas by telephone or by visiting web sites of those nurseries who list them. Nurseries that carry the mustang grape will most likely have a hardy variety that will produce abundant fruit. Another suggestion for producing lots of grapes is to have more than one vine growing and producing flowers. Although grapes have perfect flowers (flowers with both male and female parts) and will self-pollinate, they tend to produce more fruit if they cross-pollinate with flowers from another vine.

There are several methods for propagating the vines yourself. Sowing the seed outdoors in the fall should produce plants emerging in March. Plants can also be produced by rooting wood cuttings. The wood should be semi-soft to mature wood collected in the fall from that year's growth. They will root in moist sand or vermiculite (something that allows good drainage); in regular soil, they usually rot before they root. Another possibility for producing your own plants is to do ground layering from the vines on the creek bottom near your parents home. You can read more about the mustang grape and its propagation and cultivation on the Plants for a Future database and also in the Native Plants Database.

A word of caution--grape vines tend to "take over". You would do well to provide a trellis or other structure for them to climb on and not allow them to invade healthy trees that you are interested in maintaining. To illustrate how invasive grape vines can be, the Wildflower Center is currently involved in the Healthy Trees for the Trail program to control mustang grapes and non-native invasive plants along the shores of Town Lake in Austin that are threatening the native pecan, cypress, and cottonwood trees.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mustang grape
Vitis mustangensis

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