Basics of a Grapevine Trellis

Uploaded by NCExtension on 18.07.2011

I’m Lee Tyre with the Northampton County Cooperative Extension Service, and we’re
going to talk about constructing grape vine trellises.
A grape trellis is a structure that holds the
vines off the ground, allowing sunlight in evenly, and making management and harvesting
of the grapes easier.
There are several different types of trellises. What we’ve constructed here today
is a very simple one, what’s called a “high cordon grape trellis”. The grapes we are
training to the trellis today are an American type, and they prefer to grow downward. So
what we’ve done, is we are going to train the cordons,
the heavy limbs of the grape vine, along the top wire here, and as they grow,
they’ll send laterals downward. And we’ll probably come in later and add a second wire,
here below it.
As you can see here, older, mature vines can become quite large, putting a good deal of
strain on the trellis. Since we want these structures to last for a long time
construction materials is an important consideration. You want to make sure you use
materials that are resistant to decay, and can support the weight of mature vines.
Once you have selected your materials, it’s time to begin construction. When setting your
end posts, make sure they are anchored well. With a short trellis, this could be a
4” by 4” post sunk 2 to 3 foot into a clay soil.
With longer runs, or looser soils, setting the posts in concrete or additional bracing
may be required. With a long enough run, even very large posts like this one require extra
bracing to help support the load.
Of course, the last main part of a trellis is
the wire. Again, you want to select a heavy enough wire to support your vine for years
to come. In addition to the wire, think about
adding a device to allow you to adjust the tension on the wire easily. Wires will sag
with time, and something like a fence line tensioner, a turnbuckle, or other devices,
will allow you to quickly, and easily adjust the tension on your vine.