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SPECIES:  Vitis aestivalis


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Carey, Jennifer H. 1994. Vitis aestivalis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : VITAES SYNONYMS : Vitis bicolor Leconte [24] SCS PLANT CODE : VIAE COMMON NAMES : summer grape silverleaf grape blueleaf grape TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for summer grape is Vitis aestivalis Michx. (Vitaceae) [10,18,24]. The following two varieties are recognized: V. a. var. aestivalis (summer grape) V. a. var. argentifolia (Munson) Fern. (silverleaf grape) [10,18,24] LIFE FORM : Vine FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : See OTHER STATUS OTHER STATUS : Summer grape is listed as threatened in Maine [6].


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Summer grape occurs throughout the eastern United States. The range of the typical variety extends from southern Maine west through southern Ontario to Wisconsin; south to Texas; and east to Florida [6,10,11,18]. Vitis aestivalis var. argentifolia generally occurs farther north and inland than the typical variety; its range extends from New Hampshire west to southern Minnesota and south to Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia [10,32]. Both varieties are uncommon at their northern limits [20]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES18 Maple - beech - birch STATES : AL AR CT DE FL GA IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO NH NJ NY NC OH OK PA RI SC TN TX VT VA WV WI ON BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K098 Northern floodplain forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K101 Elm - ash forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K113 Southern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 50 Black locust 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak 70 Longleaf pine 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 89 Live oak 93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash 110 Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Summer grape occurs in open forests, woodlands, woodland borders, and thickets [10,11]. It climbs nearly all hardwood and conifer tree species that grow in its range [20]. Summer grape may be exceedingly abundant in or completely absent from a particular vegetation type [3,4].


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : More than 80 species of birds and animals eat summer grape berries; they include songbirds, gamebirds (ruffed grouse, wild turkey, ring-necked pheasant, and northern bobwhite), and furbearers (black bear, raccoon, and skunk) [20,26,32]. Ripe grapes are available on the vine from mid-August through mid-March; the peak abundance of fallen grapes occurs in early November [20,26]. White-tailed deer browse foliage in the spring and early summer and fallen leaves in the fall [20]. The twisted and tangled vines provide excellent escape and nesting cover for songbirds. Birds use the peeling bark for nest construction [20,26]. PALATABILITY : Summer grape is highly preferred by wild turkey [29]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : In a 4-year-old black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) stand, nitrogen concentrations in summer grape leaves and stems averaged 2.36 and 0.44 percent oven-dry weight, respectively [2]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : The fruit is edible and is used to make wine. Numerous cultivated forms have been developed from summer grape [29,31]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Summer grape damages and sometimes kills standing trees. Summer grape generally reduces timber quality by breaking tops and limbs, twisting and bending the main stems, augmenting winter damage by collecting snow and ice, and interfering with photosynthesis by shading tree foliage. On fertile sites, summer grape is often present in 50 percent of the tree crowns [25,26]. Summer grape can be controlled in commercial forests by manually severing the stem. This control method is effective if there are no canopy openings and trees are tall enough that summer grape sprouts cannot reach the sunlight within two growing seasons [25,26]. Summer grape survival after cutting the vine at ground level was assessed in a mature West Virginia mixed hardwood forest. At the end of the first growing season following the severing of 20 large summer grape stems, all 20 plants had sprouted and a few sprouts exceeded 12 feet (3.7 m) in height. At the end of the second growing season, most first year sprouts had died and a few new sprouts were present. By the end of the third growing season, all summer grape plants were dead. A similar 3-year pattern was observed in thinned and unthinned 12- and 18-year-old stands. However, sprouts grew into the canopy of a thinned 7-year-old stand that averaged 9 to 10 feet (2.7-3.0 m) in height [26]. Trimble and Tyron [26] recommend that trees be a minimum of 25 feet (7.6 m) tall if summer grape stems are cut when the stand is thinned and a minimum of 18 feet (5.5 m) tall if no thinning takes place. Summer grape removal from shorter stands by stem severing should be postponed. Herbicides are effective against summer grape in commercial forests that are too young for control by severing. Summer grape should be cut 4 years before tree harvest to prevent the fast-growing sprouts from interfering with the postharvest tree regeneration. Summer grape seedlings are abundant after tree harvest but are not as detrimental as sprouts to regenerating stands. One year after clearcutting in West Virginia, there were 70,000 summer grape seedlings per acre (172,900/ha). However, after 6 years, only 278 vines per acre (687/ha) were established in tree crowns. Only 5 percent of the trees were infested [25]. Seed collection and propagation techniques are described for summer grape [20].


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Summer grape is a native, deciduous, high-climbing liana [10,11,18]. It climbs by tendrils to about 33 feet (10 m), or sprawls over low bushes and trees [22]. The stem diameter is usually about 1 inch (2.5 cm) but may be as much as 9 inches (22.9 cm), with ages approaching 100 years [26]. The fruit is a berry 0.2 to 0.5 inches (0.5-1.2 cm) in diameter [18]. The roots are large and hard [29]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Summer grape regenerates by vegetative reproduction and by seed. Sprouts originate from vegetative buds both above and below ground. Sprouts may grow 5 to 15 feet (1.5-4.6 m) in the first growing season. Sprouts survive only 3 years under a closed-canopy forest. Summer grape also reproduces by layering [25,26]. Summer grape produces seed 3 years after establishment. Good crops occur most years in those vines with access to full sunlight [3,4,20]. Summer grape vines that do not receive full sunlight may flower but usually do not bear grape clusters [3,4]. On fertile sites in North Carolina, cluster-bearing summer grape vines averaged 1.2 ounces oven-dry weight fruit per vine (37.1 g/vine) excluding fruit lost to disease and insect predation [4]. Seed is disseminated by wind and animals [20]. Summer grape fruit production is reduced by black rot fungus (Guignardia bidwelldii) and curculio beetle (Craponius inaequalis). In years of heavy black rot fungus attack, seeds may only be 50 percent viable [20]. In a 2-year study of a North Carolina mixed hardwood forest, 37 percent of the summer grape berries were infected by black rot and 57 percent were damaged by curculio beetles [4]. Summer grape seeds accumulate in the seedbank and germinate only when light and temperature conditions are favorable. In a West Virginia study, the germination rate averaged 19 percent after 11 years of soil storage [32]. Seedlings grow much more slowly than sprouts and the tops are usually winter-killed after the first growing season. In West Virginia seedling height after two growing seasons averaged 0.51 feet (0.16 m) [26]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Summer grape grows on fertile, well-drained, upland sites with abundant soil moisture. It grows on bench areas, coves, and southeast-facing slopes of ravines where organic matter has accumulated [20]. In North Carolina, summer grape is abundant on slightly rocky, steep sites with an east-southeasterly aspect and below 4,230 feet (1,290 m) elevation [4]. Summer grape occasionally occurs on floodplains or lowlands [11,17], including hydric hammocks of Florida [30]. Summer grape grows on a wide variety of soil types including sand, clay, and loam but is most abundant on light, nutrient-rich soils [21,24,26, 29]. In Mississippi, summer grape grows in the poorly drained clay soil of bottomland hardwood forests [8]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Summer grape is intolerant of shade. It persists in closed forests only if it is present in the upper canopy. Under closed canopies, summer grape seedlings are seldom present and vegetative sprouts die within 3 years [26]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : In North Carolina, summer grape flowers emerge with leaves in mid-April. Leaves are fully grown by the end of May. Flowers bloom and pollination occurs the first 2 weeks of June, and fruit sets by late June [4]. In the southern Appalachian region, fruit ripens in early fall, with large clusters falling by mid-November [4,20,24].


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Although abundant in moist hardwood sites which do not commonly burn, summer grape also occurs in many communities which regularly experience fire including oak (Quercus spp.) and pine (Pinus spp.) forests [5,12,16]. On Cumberland Island, Georgia, summer grape occurs in scrub communities which historically experienced wildfire every 20 to 27 years [14]. The ability of summer grape to sprout and to accumulate dormant seed in the soil enables it to resist fire. Canopy openings caused by fire favor summer grape establishment. Fire exclusion may lead to a decline in summer grape. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community) Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Summer grape is probably top-killed by most fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Summer grape sprouts from the root crown after fire, and dormant seed in the soil probably germinates after fire when conditions are favorable. In an oak-hickory (Carya spp.) upland community in Missouri, summer grape was present in annually and periodically spring burned plots, but not in the unburned control plot [16]. In an upland oak forest in Tennessee, summer grape was more frequent on plots burned every 5 years by late winter fires than on the unburned control plot [5]. After twelve years of biennial burning on a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) site in Louisiana, summer grape was present on at least half of the four plots assigned to each of four prescribed fire treatments: March, May, or June biennial fires and an unburned control [12]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Summer grape can function as a ladder fuel, especially when foliage is dry or debris accumulates along the vine.


SPECIES: Vitis aestivalis

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24. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]

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