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Using living trees as a trellis for growing vines

 
Posts: 250
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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So I had this great idea that I must try. I was thinking of a way to grow fruiting vines up a tree while still being able to get excellent quality fruit.....as in, the fruit is sun ripened so it's sweeter and more nutritious. It's going to be a little while until I can stand back and see the results, but I just needed to share it to see if anyone has seen examples, or done, what it is I am imagining. Essentially it's just as the title suggests.....using living trees for your fruit/productive vines, instead of using poles/wires/iron/nails/screws/etc. The tree could also be a productive tree I imagine...as in you could use a fruit tree perhaps..?? But I was thinking that a vine growing up a N. fixing tree would work pretty well. I am going to order some N. fixing trees for early spring planting, and I think black locust would work well for this. I really don't know what would make excellent combinations though, but I intend to find out.

In the drawing, I basically drew a grape vine that has been trained/trimmed to grow on a black locust that has also been trained/trimmed to a specific shape. The branches of the black locust would be trained to grow north to south, and the tiered branches would be spaced maybe 2-3 feet apart. Then the black locust would be coppiced around 12 feet in height, and then the shape maintained during any trimming/chop and drop sessions. The black locust branches are bare out to the tips, then the tips are pruned in such a way as to create "fans" on the branch tips. At least this is how I've been imagining it. Then at some point during the growth of the black locust, you would plant a vine near the base of the tree, and then train it to the tree as needed. I'm excited to try this. I'm also thinking that if the black locust is planted a few years before the vine....then it may be wise to also bury a ceramic pot where you intend to plant the vine in the future. Maybe just keep the pot empty or grow herbs in the pot....then when you're ready to plant the vine, remove the pot and you'll have a nice hole ready made to plant the vine into. I still have a few ideas about this though....it may be more beneficial to plant both the vine and the tree at the same time though....?? I really don't know.....but I'm going to find out. LOL

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gardener
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I kind of do this. I am growing kiwis, grapes, and honeysuckle on the OUTSIDe of my trees. Here on the wet side of the PNW, fungal issues are huge in the spring. Having a vine grow through the core of the tree is asking for trouble. Having the vines grow up the outside of the tree allows it to get full sun, and not shade out the fruit tree, or increase fungal disease. Their roots can be in the shade, which is even better. I have to retrain them periodically. It is slower to get the kiwi to fruit than making a trellis in pure sun, but I'm trying an experimental permaculture approach.
John S
PDX OR
 
steward
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Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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Read this thread about a traditional method used in Italy:
https://permies.com/t/38454/trees/Ancient-grapevine-maple-guild
I have some documents in italian that explain the way the vite maritata was grown. I don't know if you can read italian.
 
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My brother Jeff has done massive amounts of this. Some are useful trees which he prunes and some are trash trees that he prunes to death and they become a trellis. Some trees can be maintained with just enough leaf that they cling to life, thus preserving their function.
 
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Location: northern northern california
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yes i have done this with willows, and seen it done with plums and grapes. i have posted about this elsewhere a couple of times. sorry i am too scatterbrianed and have my mind on other things to look it up but theres been some threads and posts about this.

some vines are probably better than others. cultivated grapes might get funky, wild grapes are more resistant to funks. kiwi doesnt seem to get funky.
 
Dale Hodgins
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One advantage of using a living tree is in frost protection and moderation of mid day heat. The water in living wood moderates temperature. This is more pronounced in a large grove. Leaf bearing branches can be severely pruned in spring, then allowed to grow and provide mid summer shade.
 
John Suavecito
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Lorenzo,
Thanks for providing a connection to the ancient Italian way. One of my favorite parts of using maples for grapes is that it worked really well for millenia. Then modern people started using plastic and steel and the grapes got diseases. They couldn't figure out why. Then the scientists analyzed it and realized that the maples maintained a small population of mites, spider-like bugs that would eat the disease while it was very small, so no one knew about it. When they planted the grapes on plastic and steel, there were no mites to eat the disease and it grew bigger until it destroyed the grapes. Peasants have known about permaculture for years. Maybe they didn't know exactly why, but they knew it worked. We are only rediscovering what they knew.

Io posso leggere in italiano e me piacere leggere le altre cose.

Grazie,
John S
PDX OR
 
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