So I want to build a grape trellis...

rosieo(7 NC)May 7, 2013

I need to build a trellis for my grapes but the more I read, the more confused I get. My neighbors have trellises that look like clotheslines with a piece of fencing laid across the top. So you walk underneath to pick the grapes.

But the ones I see online look like thin wires stretched between poles. So you would stand in front of it to pick the grapes. That seems easier from the picker's perspective.

Which is better, stronger, longer lasting, gives the best yields? Can you point me to some simple, illustrated instructions?

I have a very handy husband who can make anything. I just need to give him some instructions to go by. I'd like to plant, I don't know, maybe 5 or 6 grapes? The space I have available is about 35' long.

Here's a photo of my neighbor's trellis. What I don't like is the fencing panels he used. The gauge is too thin and it's sagging. If it was taut it would be easier to pick. It made for very awkward picking because you have to stoop, look straight up, pick, and watch out for bees, all at the same time. So I think a vertical system would make for easier picking. What kind do you all have?

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3 4x4 green treated posts set in concrete 6' above ground, 2' below. Ends anchored with earth anchors to keep end posts from bending under the load. One support post in center with wires run straight through the middle. 2 12ga wires, one at 6' another at 4', inline turnbuckle to tension wires. I can take some pictures of my 2 trellis's when I get home if you need a visual. Depending on how wide your area is, you could maybe install 2 separate trellis's and double your grape area... When you set your posts, put crushed rock or sand at bottom of the hole, put in post and THEN add concrete, you dont want the concrete to seal the bottom of the post or you make a cup that will hold water and rot your post much faster. You can add the earth anchors at a later date when/if you need them, but you probably will.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:06AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I trained my grapes on a double cordon, I had my boyfriend build a structure like the one in my Western Garden Book. It seems to be working well, the grapes are in their third year and I'm hoping to get lots of fruit this summer.

I think you're right about a vertical system being easier for picking, also for pruning and training. In my opinion an arbor is more for the esthetics, I think a grape covered arbor is a beautiful thing but if you're serious about getting a lot of good grapes a cordon is better.

Here is a link that might be useful: Academic article on grape training

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:15AM
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I have had it both ways vert and horz. I like the way the grapes hang under the trellis. If you get fungus on the leaves it stays off the grapes and I find the grapes easy to find, then in the middle of the leaves and vines. Also I can lightly hose off the grapes without getting the leaves wet on top.(bugs/spiders)
The vertical way I think prunning is easier but the grapes are up against /in the leaves, pest can be a problem. Did I get more grapes with one setup or the other, no it was about the same. Training is about the same. I really think it comes down to the look you want. My ruby reds (8yrs)are loaded again this year. Oh happy day

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 1:13PM
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rosieo(7 NC)

Aaacckkk. I was hoping everybody would agree on one method being superior. :)

Derek, if you could take a picture that would be really helpful. Your directions were concise and specific, thank you so much. With that trellis stretching 35' how many grapes could I fit in it? I'm hoping I don't need two trellises, I plan to use the space beside it for berry bushes.

Peachymomo, thank you for the link. Lots of good info there. My problem is when they try to describe various methods I get confused trying to decide which method is best. I just want The One True Way, lol.

My plan is to only plant disease resistant varieties. It rains a lot here so I won't need to worry about rinsing the grapes. My neighbors don't have problems with mildew (in spite of the rain) so I think this must be a good area for grapes.

I honestly don't care how it looks, I'm more interested in function.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Hi- I had a similar question for 5 grapes in a 40' row. I hoped for a simple single 6' wire, but based on the high fertility of the soil I plan two wires 6+ feet high and 3.5 feet apart (Geneva Double Curtain) with two 5" end posts angled out in concrete 40 feet apart and a support in the middle (no concrete), with two turnbuckles. The OSU publication is helpful. Good luck.

How did anyone find 12 gauge fence wire, and is 'high tensile' needed? I already have 9 gauge, but think it will be too thick to work with, or tension with turnbuckles.

Similar question:

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Pub with Trellis Instructions

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:22PM
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I am attaching a close sample of the trellis we are building now.

Ours will be built from 1' iron pipe. It will have another horizontal pipe half way up to stabilize the trellis. Rather than filling the base of the pipes with concrete, we will use 18" rebar rods that fit up into the pipe. 2' of the pipe will be below ground. We are using 10' pipe, trimmed to fit inside a 10' raised bed for additional stability. Anyone see any problems? We buy the pipe and fittings in two days.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:46AM
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Here's my arbor....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:24PM
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Here is mine 4" dia pole set in cement holes drilled through all poles at same level. 1 pc.rebar pushed strait through from first pole thru all to last pole
8 years old- no sagging -this pic was from last year about Nov.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:44PM
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#2 Hope you can visual it
Ck bottom right you can just see the rebar inserted thru the bottom part of the pole
3x10' rebar =3 vert. rows
3x4'' dia poles

This post was edited by campv on Wed, May 8, 13 at 19:57

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:52PM
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