• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Trees for use as trellis?  RSS feed

 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What would the best tree be for a trellis?

I have thought since honey locust are not the best of shade trees, leaf out late and fall early, they would perhaps make a possible trellis for kiwi vines... I mean especially since they are already growing there and are already useful, no sense in getting rid of them, but why not make them even more useful?

If not arguta kiwi then arctic beauty? if not a female kiwi for better yield in full sun, perhaps a good place for the male vine?

what about pruning a tree to make room for the vine? if the tree was pruned in the right way perhaps it could be non harmful to the tree and allow for near full sun for the vine.

or who cares about the curse tree, for instance all those dang box elders... trellis the vine up the tree, break off the branches and feed the leaves to the goats! cut it down about ten feet up and leave the biggest branches you can, a ten foot tall tree standing, then run the vine along it. Every year cut it back and feed it to the goats!

Much longer lasting and useful than a wire and wooden t stake trellis or any other kind than i can think of!

Box elder is particularly nice for this, since it is there, goats love the leaves, you can tap it for syrup, they have not much other good uses besides loads of... MULCH! plus a log for growing mushrooms in, plus a living/dying tree to grow mushrooms in! They love to branch out weird and almost bush like at times, perfect shape to spread out a vine.

Perhaps a crab apple wouldn't be a bad choice either...

Gosh, sure glad I decided to write this out, I sure am pleased with the brainstorming I came up with here.

So all that is left is to try it out, any comments or other ideas guys and gals?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3380
Location: woodland, washington
81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
good topic.

I've used black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) for this a lot, less because it's ideal, and more because it's there.  there is the nitrogen-fixing to recommend it, and I think the thorns will discourage browsers.

I'm trying to pleach several black locusts together to make something a little more trellis-like.  I really don't know if this will work or not, but it's fun to play around with.  if it works, though, I think the odds of the fairly brittle branches holding up a laden kiwi vine will be improved.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Boy that spam isnt cool!!


I was toying around with the idea of using dwarf fruit trees as posts for stringing up grapevines. Though I suspect the weight and tension might be too much for the trees.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
one warning about vines climbing trees..

i had a group of 3 beautiful canadian hemlock trees..a bittersweet vine climbed up two of them and choked them..you couldn't tell there was any damage until the entire top half of two of the trees..just literally fell off..when you looked at where they fell..the vines had literally grown into the  trunks and cut off the trunk..they were green andhealthy looking tops of the trees, laying flat on the ground when i got up one morning..just laying there..

that was a month ago and the cut off tops are still green..but not connected to anything.

wierd.

anyway..if you love the tree, be careful what you grow on it.

we have vines growing up into other trees and no problem with them..i have ivy on a huge maple tree, clematis growing up trees, and some grapevines..

i think whatyou want to watch is how the vine grows..if it encircles the tree and is really strong..don't do it
 
Toby Hemenway
author
Posts: 105
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kiwis are awfully aggressive for trellising up trees. I've seen one kiwi pull down a full grown apricot. In general, trellising edibles up trees is a nicer theory than practice, because harvest becomes very difficult. The major edible vines are very vigorous growers and will choke or shade most trees after 5 years or so. They do it in Italy, but mostly the vines grow on wires between the trees, and they prune the vines away from the trees.
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Many of the trees I was speaking of would be cleared if not used for this. I don't mind it being difficult to harvest, I am sure that my critters will love to eat whatever I can't get to after it falls off. The trees I was thinking of are of very decent size too, big old box elders and honey locusts. Well okay the honey locusts won't get cut, but something has got to be done about those box elders... and we probably don't want to keep all the crab apples either. Also, the vines are rampant but that's good though right? Cause I have read the leaves make good food for pigs and I assume goats as well.

We don't have a giant space to work with, even if harvest is difficult, it's better to use up the space than to just cut down the tress no?
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Toby,
Does this technique used in Italy for the wires between trees have a name that I can look up? That is what I am going to do with my grapes and fruit trees, but I wanted to research it some more. I didn’t realize anyone was doing it. Thank you.

 
Toby Hemenway
author
Posts: 105
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I first heard of this in a book called "Landscapes of Bacchus: the Vine in Portugal" by Dan Stanislawski. The book cover a lot of Mediterranean planting techniques integrating trees, vines, and crops. They use chestnuts as a host tree, but also Quercus robur (English oak) and large cherries. They prune them heavily, even pollard them to keep them small but stout. The two main techniques of vines between trees are the festoon, where often they graft branches between trees to run the vines on, or the Arjoado, where the trees are farther apart and there are two layers of wires between trees. Sometimes they run wires vertically to the ground to stabilize longer runs of wires. Friends from Italy (I have lost touch with them) told me they do the same thing there.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Perfect thanks so much.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.agroeco.org/doc/agrof-portugal.pdf

After a quick search...
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In W. Washington, I have just started tormenting a bunch of 3 year old red alder (alnus rubra) in a variety of ways, stooling, limbing up and coppicing, hedging, pleaching.  It is fast growing (6-12' tall in 3 years, and 1.5" DBH), nitrogen fixer, with fast decomposing wood, but good tool and fuel quality, easy to propagate, and good for growing oyster mushrooms.  However it doesn't have a good reputation for stump sprouting or coppice.  I have thought about planting some for a pagoda, but want to see how it responds to mistreatment first.  In some ways, the poor response to coppice may reduce maintanenace...
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
trees can be problematic for trellising stuff on.Harvest from such a high location would be difficult.I use cerain shrubs successfully.I grow grapes on hazel bushes.I grow hops on servicberry.The shrubs I use are chosen because they grow slowly and have dense wood wich makes them strong enough to hold added weight.I also use them along drives as they dont bend so much in the snow.I have hardy kiwis growing on cascara and vine maple.All of my living trellis systems are pretty young though.Time will tell.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4096
Location: Missoula, MT
370
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
If not arguta kiwi then arctic beauty? if not a female kiwi for better yield in full sun, perhaps a good place for the male vine?


Years ago, I took a class on growing kiwis at Seattle Tilth. From what I recall, the fuzzy kiwi is a huge nitrogen and water hog and since one vine can be laden with 200 pounds of fruit, it was recommended to use, at a minimum, 6" square posts for your trellising. Not exactly tree trellis friendly.

As you probably know by suggesting them, the arguta, arctic beauty and more hardy varieties are more shade and cold tolerant than the fuzzies, and usually have smaller fruit, too, so would likely be less of a potential threat to a tree. I just purchased a self-fertile, supposedly container friendly issai (sp?) hardy kiwi variety that I'm trying here at my condo. I wonder if it would be gentle enough for tree trellising?

The class said kiwis require massive nutrients (planting in soil that was akin to compost was literally recommended) and ample water, which can be difficult around the base of trees. My sister recently commented that her vegetable annuals just don't survive well when they are too close to her trees' drip lines.

So this makes me wonder, could even a nitrogen-fixing tree out-compete a kiwi for nutrients and water? How do the Mediterranean tree-vine-crop growers compensate for the trees' potential dominance?
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Years ago, I took a class on growing kiwis at Seattle Tilth. From what I recall, the fuzzy kiwi is a huge nitrogen and water hog and since one vine can be laden with 200 pounds of fruit, it was recommended to use, at a minimum, 6" square posts for your trellising. Not exactly tree trellis friendly.

As you probably know by suggesting them, the arguta, arctic beauty and more hardy varieties are more shade and cold tolerant than the fuzzies, and usually have smaller fruit, too, so would likely be less of a potential threat to a tree. I just purchased a self-fertile, supposedly container friendly issai (sp?) hardy kiwi variety that I'm trying here at my condo. I wonder if it would be gentle enough for tree trellising?

The class said kiwis require massive nutrients (planting in soil that was akin to compost was literally recommended) and ample water, which can be difficult around the base of trees. My sister recently commented that her vegetable annuals just don't survive well when they are too close to her trees' drip lines.

So this makes me wonder, could even a nitrogen-fixing tree out-compete a kiwi for nutrients and water? How do the Mediterranean tree-vine-crop growers compensate for the trees' potential dominance?


I don't quite understand your logic in the first paragraph, many trees are much large in girth than a 6" post. The trees I am thinking about are certainly larger than that.

Not sure that the hardy kiwis are less rank in growth than the non hardy ones. I have seen a fuzzy kiwi growing in Brooklyn, they are indeed massive.

we are planning on building hugelcultures for our kiwis, they also require decent drainage, which we do not have, in fact 2 feet down it almost never dries up... even though we are on top of a hill... there seems to be some sort of a spring somewhere...
so that should take care of the compost! 8 foot tall hugelcultures here we come heeh!
 
Trevor Newman
Posts: 42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have thought of using both honey locust and black locust as kiwi trellises...always been a little skeptical of using fruit trees as a kiwi arbor..unless perhaps it was something like Fig, which is a very light feeder.

It would make sense to use a nitrogen fixing tree or a non fruiting tree...maples seem to be a good choice. You would get sap,firewood,mushroom wood, mineral rich leaves, fodder, and a place for your vines to grow. Multistemmed birches would serve this same function..plus they're very aesthetically pleasing.

Martin Crawford uses his coppiced linden(Tilia cordata) trees for a hardy kiwi arbor..this would make sense for managment as you can prune both the tree and the vine on a rotation... as well as getting both edible leaves and kiwis!

Grapes seem to always be growing up mulberry trees in the wild, plus they often grow as multistemmed trees..perfect for vines- perhaps we could mimic this relationship with Actnidia spp.?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4096
Location: Missoula, MT
370
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
asmileisthenewak47 wrote:
I don't quite understand your logic in the first paragraph, many trees are much large in girth than a 6" post. The trees I am thinking about are certainly larger than that.


Oh, you're certainly correct about the trunk girths. I was thinking of branches that the vines would find, as well as the girdling/strangling effect Brenda commented on.
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My idea is to prune off all but the largest, sturdiest branches.
 
Jordon Thompson
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast, Zone 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
6 years later and I'm curious if any of you have had any success with this. Also,

Toby Hemenway wrote:Kiwis are awfully aggressive for trellising up trees. I've seen one kiwi pull down a full grown apricot. In general, trellising edibles up trees is a nicer theory than practice, because harvest becomes very difficult. The major edible vines are very vigorous growers and will choke or shade most trees after 5 years or so. They do it in Italy, but mostly the vines grow on wires between the trees, and they prune the vines away from the trees.


Could you not prune the kiwi vine vigorously or even cut it down to the ground every year or two? It seems like that would be manageable on a small scale. I planted mimosa in the same hole as my fruit trees and I come by once a year and chop it to the ground. If I could do that with the vines, I'd kill two birds with one stone.
 
Jay Vinekeeper
Posts: 78
Location: Northwest Lower MI
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trees as trellis?

I like the idea very much ... especially as it relates to the cost of production for Actinidia species ... specifically, the hardy kiwifruit.

We have many thousands of acres of conifer plantations,  mostly red pine, but also white pine, spruces, and firs.  Many of these stands are now overstocked and overgrown with deciduous trees (especially Sugar Maple) growing underneath the conifer canopy.

Meanwhile, trellis system for vines like Actinidia will cost in the neighborhood of $10,000 - 15,000 per acre.

In our tests of trees as trellis, we thinned and pruned our red pine plantations as high as a pole saw can reach.  Then we rigged surplus wire cables to run from tree to tree at a height of about 2 meters or about 6'6" from the ground.  This would allow most folks (not YOU Emil) to walk comfortably under these wires and be in a comfortable position to harvest fruit growing on vines trained to go up the tree and then along the wires.

Actinidia are fairly shade tolerant and do not need full sun to produce fruit crops.  SOME sun will do just fine.  In our managed conifer plantations there is increasing sunlight underneath the canopy of pines now reaching some 40 or so years of age.  Kiwis love a partial shade, it turns out.

Lots of pruning of young vines, to be sure, but once up the tree and on the wire they are easy to work.  Females are trained to the wire while the male pollinators are trained UP the tree rather than the wire.  The elevation of the male plants may help in the pollination process of the female, fruit bearing vines.

This all appears to be a fairly workable system.  Since it SAVES the cost of trellis by other means, this is a huge advantage. 
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!