It has been very low maintenance, is very sturdy, the grape vines are mostly out of the reach of deer, the grapes get good sun exposure, and there is plenty of room underneath it to grow other plants and even small bushes.
I'm looking to move more towards a natural trellising system for my grapes, using bushes, plants, or other natural materials, that are free to obtain or grow, to lower the cost in the future.
The downsides of this trellis is that it's pretty expensive.
However, it can be an easy way to build a quality trellis that will last a really long time, and if you have a smaller growing area, it allows lots of things to be planted underneath it if needed, to greatly increase the available growing area.
That does look nice. I only skimmed the video but it seems the main cost would be the wood posts, no? I am thinking a free alternative would be 8’ long, straight Redwood/cedar/locust poles about 4” thick, which can be found for free around here. Cut stave points on them for driving them in, and basically follow the first couple steps of a junk pole fence/English dead hedge, but instead of filling it in, finish with a wire run through the posts like in the video. Thanks for the idea!
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
Ben Zumeta wrote:That does look nice. I only skimmed the video but it seems the main cost would be the wood posts, no?
Yeah, the posts were expensive, but I think the wire was actually even more expensive. It is a thick multi strand steel wire with a plastic coating. I probably could have gotten it at a better price, but I got it at one of the big box stores, and paid a premium price for it.
I am thinking a free alternative would be 8’ long, straight Redwood/cedar/locust poles about 4” thick, which can be found for free around here. Cut stave points on them for driving them in, and basically follow the first couple steps of a junk pole fence/English dead hedge, but instead of filling it in, finish with a wire run through the posts like in the video. Thanks for the idea!
That's a good idea Ben! Yeah, I think cheaper posts could be found and even harvested from the property if possible, which would really cut the cost a lot!
I've seen apples grown fairly tight together as a hedge. This is done to facilitate quick harvest and so they can begin fruiting quickly. When a row of these apples is no longer useful, it seems like the perfect spot to grow grapes, since you would need neither posts nor wire. The apples could be girdled so that they die, and then prune away all of the little scrawny stuff, leaving everything over half an inch, as the support for the grapes. They would eventually rot and topple over.
Alternatively, the apples could be kept alive, but severely pruned so that their main function is to work as fence posts.
I do similar sorts of wire supports for various plants so I'll add three comments:
1. I sometimes use a turnbuckle to give a way to tighten or loosen wires as needed. If the hole is large enough for the eye section of the turnbuckle to go through, it also gives a tool-free way to slide the wire right out if you're doing major pruning or renovating and could do so either safer or easier with the wire temporarily out of the way. Grapes need it strong - a similar system for raspberries can be lighter, but really benefits from being easily unhooked for pruning.
2. We call the clip you used to hold the wire a "wire rope clip" and I find them very useful. They're adjustable, but they tend to damage the covering on the wire, so moving them a lot will increase the rust risk. Their other disadvantage is the tiny nuts are easy to loose in grass or mulch, so I've learned to put a tote bin/big sheet of newspaper/cardboard box under where I'm working to catch the nut if I fumble it. Theoretically, you can just loosen, but not remove the nuts when setting them up, but when working with stiff wire, I find it's sometimes much easier to remove the nuts completely.
3. I'm great at scrounging for free materials to build plant supports. But if I *have* to buy, I don't go cheap. Yes, quality wire is expensive, but grapevines are strong and heavy, and in the long run, I believe that it's more environmentally sound to buy quality and have it last than cheap and have to replace it. I've used similar wire/fasteners for temporary situations, only to be able to take it apart and reuse all the parts elsewhere.