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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - August 13, 2010

From: Gatlinburg, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Vines
Title: Need some information about wild native grapes in Gatlinburg, TN.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have some wild grapevines growing on a southern exposure eroded bank. They are providing assistance in reducing erosion with rapid growth. Do these plants develop ground contact as they grow? In Tennessee, do they die back in the winter? Thanks!

ANSWER:

In looking through our our database, the native wild grapes in Siever County are likely to be one of the of the following:

Vitis riparia (riverbank grape)     (more information)

Vitis rotundifolia (muscadine)      (more information)

Vitis vulpina (frost grape)            (more information)   {scroll to the bottom of the page}

As grape vines grow, they produce modified stems called tendrils that allow them to latch on to every thing in their path that will help them get their leaves up into the sunlight. They generally don't produce adventitions roots which would attach the stem to the soil.

Grapes are perennials and lose their leaves and enter a dormant phase during the winter.

 

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