My Trellising Was Completed   July 1, 2003

The type of trellising system is important and may vary with your growing climate and grape selection.
The fall is the optimum time to put your trellis system up. It's even better to construct your trellis system the fall before you even plant your vines.   Well, I wasn't that patient or organized, so now I have one year old vines, needing a trellis system.   I had better get started.

There are dozens of trellising systems used around the world, with each one suited to different climate and grape varieties.  The overall goal is to get the vine up off the ground.   This keeps the vines away from the colder freezing air which may lie on the few inches above the ground.  I plan on puting in a modified type of trellis system.   Like many of the grapes we grow, it can be considered a "hybrid" I guess.   I am going with a modified Geneva Double Curtain and a Bilateral Three-wire training system.   Perhaps the trellis is the same, but the training is different, I'm not sure.   The over all product will look like a "T".   It's that simple.

This is a list of the items I am going to need and use for my trellising system.  Keep in mind that each row has 16 plants spaced 8' apart.   I put a post every two vines, but could have gone every three vines.  

bulletEnd post - 6"-8" x 8' (4) These are pretty much standard CCA treated fence posts.  I'll  be painting mine white to add another layer of protection to the post, but this is not necessary if it is treated.  Mainly this is for looks.  
bulletEarth Anchors - (4) These are large "screws" which auger themselves about three feet into the dirt to "anchor" your end posts to. - Orchard Valley Supply
bulletRow Post - 4"-5" x 8' (14) These are pretty much standard CCA treated fence posts.   Steel fence posts can be used instead, however; I like the look of painted wood fence posts.
bullet10 Gauge High Carbon Wire - (1,000') High carbon or high tensil-strength 11-12 gauge wire.  I'm going with 10 gauge since I expect the concord to have high growth. - OK, I used the  10 gauge wire, and wish I would have listened to Orchard Valley and gone with the 12.5 gauge wire because the 10 gauge was so hard to work with.    Orchard Valley Supply
bulletWirevise Tensioner - (14) These hold the wire tight at one end and keep the wire from slipping under full load.  The wire can slip thru them one way, but not back. - Orchard Valley Supply
bulletWire Ratchet - This is a dandy little item to help maintain tension on the wires.
bulletGrade 8 Rock - This is to be put in the holes with the bases of the posts to ensure a solid foothold and not sink or bend in the upcoming years.  This is not necessary, but I want to do this only one time, and to do it right.  Beelman Truck Company 
bulletVine Ties - These are used to tie the vines to the new trellis wires.  Orchard Valley Supply has provided me with 5 different types to try out.
bulletTools - Shovel, post hole digger, cordless drill, roll of string, level, tamper, large pliers, crowbar, and a good cooler of water, because this my take a while.

Trellising system options
Here is a list of the different trellis systems.

bulletSingle Stake - used to grow the cordon (vine) straight up along a stake
bulletOne Wire Trellis - one wire strung between posts at around 6'
bulletTwo Wire Trellis - one wire strung at 40" and the other at 6'
bulletThree Wire Trellis - first wire at 40", second at 55" and the third at 72" roughly
bulletLyre or Movable Wire Trellis - prefabricated arms adjustable wire locations.  The appearance of this is similar to a football goal post.
bulletGeneva Double Curtain Trellis - one wire at 50" and the other two on the outer parts of a 30" cross bar at the top of the post (72") making a "Y".

Well, first off, I put down string along the base of the vines and drew it tight so I'd know where to dig my post holes in a straight line.   We dug the 18 holes and made sure they were all right at 24" deep, so I'd have 6' of post out of the ground.   This sounds a lot easier and quicker than it is, but this is mostly what I got done on Sunday.  

We set the posts, leveled them (vertically) and put grade 8 rock and dirt in the hole as we tamped it to make a solid fit.  I have not yet been able to put the wire up, but did use the existing string and nailed it to the two end posts and tied the vines off the ground at about 40" for now until I can make time to get the wire strung.   (hopefully later this week).    You want the vines off the ground so they are not damaged by the frost.

I now have the posts secured, anchors are in, and the first wire is mounted at 50 inches.   I'll be making a top crossbar or "T" in early spring and running a wire on each side.   This will give the grapes more sunlight and air.   Be sure to check back often on any other progress.

Here's the finished product.... just 8 months later.    :o)   




It is best to consult your grape vine vendor to see which trellising system they recommend for that variety.   

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Download this presentation on various trellising types from Orchard Valley Supply.

Size does matter
It is better to "overbuild" your trellis as I am,  than to have your poles snapped off after a storm.   There may be more than 2,000 lbs of force affecting the trellis under full load and in a strong wind.

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