How to Tend to a Grape Vine Growing on a Trellis

Grape vines will naturally grow on a variety of structures like fences, trees or walls. Therefore it is important to establish a well-constructed structure that your grape vines can use as an anchor. A trellis system is important because grape vines cannot support the weight of a full harvest by themselves.

There are many different ways to build a trellis. Some trellises are built for functionality while others are meant to add to the landscape of the home. They can be simple or complex, and you can build it yourself or contract the job out to professionals. It all depends on the taste of the grape grower.

A trellis can come in an array of different shapes and sizes in order to suit the needs of the grape grower. They can be made out of a variety of different materials such as iron, pre-treated wood, stainless steel, PVC pipe, or aluminum. The height of the trellis depends on the area where the grapes are growing. Shorter trellises are used in colder climates, since a trellis that is shorter has a better chance of withstanding winter weather. It also makes it easier for the grape grower to prepare the grape vine for winter. Taller trellises can be used in warmer climates. Shorter trellises use posts that are about three feet high while larger trellises require a post that is about eight feet high. While every trellis system is different, there is one thing that they all have in common – they must be sturdy and well made. Since a grape vine usually takes a few years to produce any grapes, the trellis system is going to be in place for a while.

The trellis system should be placed in the yard so that the grape vines will be exposed to a good amount of sunlight and good air movement. Natural sunlight and good air movement are huge factors in ripening the grapes and controlling grape diseases. After you have found the best location for your trellis, you should cement the posts that will support the trellis into the ground. Some grape growers secure their trellis posts by using catch wires anchored to the ground or by placing another much shorter post set in the ground next to the main post. The posts should be set into the ground about eight feet apart. Two rows of galvanized steel wire should be run between the posts. The first wire row runs along the bottom of the posts about three inches from the ground. The second wire needs to run along the top of the posts. A staple gun can be used to staple the wires in place.

As soon as your grape vines starts growing, you will want to start training them to grow on the trellis. This can take years. The main shoot that is growing should be tied vertically to the trellis. You can use string to do this. String will not damage the shoot like wire could. Grape vines grow very slowly, and after the next dormant period, two shoots from either side of the main shoot should be tied horizontally to the trellis. These shoots will serve as the base for the fruit.