Grape Trellis Done Wrong?? Worried

csh77nyApril 18, 2012

I created a grape trellis the other day. I live in the hudson valley of New York. So we do get cold winters but I've seen local apple orchards have also grown grapes. I bought three cheap trellises from Lowes. I cut each one in half and then screwed the halves together to make a V shape. I wanted it to stand up with out having to rest next to anything. I wanted to do it the way the farmers do by using posts and wire but our ground is way too rocky and I'm a women so I don't have the physical strength to dig the deep holes for the posts. I wanted to do this myself with out my husbands help. Now I am worried that I goofed big time. The slant of the trellis is 3 feet but if you only measure from the ground up to the top of the trellis on the side it is only two feet from the ground. The length from the right side to the left side is over 6 feet. I have three plants. Two seedless concord and a seedless red grape. I am now thinking that three plants was too much and that I should have done only two but I was thinking of adding an addition to this trellis next year even. I'll buy more trellises to keep in the garage for when I want to expand down the road. I also put that special fabric under the trellis to keep weeds from growing under it and put wood chips on top. Now I am worried the trellis is too close to the ground. My husband says the lower grapes could touch the ground but I thought I could just then move some of the woodchips away from the grapes if they touched the ground, then they would only be touching the fabric. I also thought I could keep the grape vine clipped if it gets to be unmanageable or expand too much. What do all of you think. I have an attached photobucket site that shows pictures of what I did. Also the vines are in direct sunlight all day, so I planted them in the right place. I'm thinking of knocking down my trellis and trying something different.


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I think that trellis is too small for grapevines.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Agreed, I think you are seriously underestimating the size and vigor of a grape vine. Often times you don't see grape trellises, you see grape arbors. A couple of vines would be enough to swallow the side of your house if left to their own devices.

Check this link:

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Do grapes somewhere else...that is real nice for melons or cucumbers though....

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Carolyn, grapes are grown higher up partly because the air circulation is better so diseases are less. Your trellis is in a very open spot so it may not matter as much how low it is but your husband is right that grapes may end up touching the ground (and rotting). Also 6' is usually the recommended spacing for a single grapevine, not three.

One way you could grow those three grapes there is to just put three stakes and grow them head-trained. That means they each will have a "head" of vines at the top 4-5' off the ground, with no trellis for any sideward growth. It may not sound like you would get any grapes but the "head" size will grow over the years. In the winter they would be pruned back to short stubs. See below for a picture of a very old vine. Head pruning was the most common grape pruning system 500 years ago but it is not so common anymore. One reason why I suggest this method is with your grapes already sprouting you don't want to move them this year but they don't look to be in a good position to do some other kind of trellis. Head-pruned vines can be planted much more closely than when training vines on a trellis.


Here is a link that might be useful: head-trained old vines

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:31PM
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