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Build A Trellis For Grapes At Home

Updated on December 9, 2010

Trellis for Grapes

Making the best
trellis for grapes
will have you harvesting pounds and pounds of sweet succulent grapes from your own garden for you & your family!

Which Type of Trellis for Grapes Should I Make?

Thinking of starting your own grapes at home?

Your grape trellis is a very important part of your success. It's necessary to give the grape vines a lattice to which it can be trained so that you can keep the fruit off the ground away from pests, maximize sunlight exposure and airflow through it, and make it easy to harvest your grapes. It's really not hard to do at all, just a little planning ahead of time will greatly increase your fruiting yields. You'll be glad you did!

A trellis design known as the 'Geneva Double Curtain' was developed by researchers to be more fruitful than with other trellis for grapes systems. With the Geneva Double Curtain trellis, your vines will produce bountiful yields year after year. This is because this trellis allows for a greater number of fruiting shoots for buds in a smaller area by maximizing exposure to sunlight more than with any other type of trellis for grapes.

The Geneva Double Curtain trellis looks very much like a Y-shaped clothes line post, with a strong vertical post and a 'Y' or 'T' shaped top."

Trellis Construction

Geneva Double Curtain Trellis for Grapes
Geneva Double Curtain Trellis for Grapes

Because your vines can grow prolifically with this trellis for grapes design, a strong post system is necessary to support its weight. If you plan for a length of 20-feet or less, then two posts, one at each end are sufficient. For longer expanses, plan for a series of posts, in-line, no more than 24-feet apart, and a minimum of 8 feet between rows. Try to position your trellis in a north to south orientation for maximum sun exposure, and make sure the roots have good drainage.

Trellis Height

The length of growing season in your area will guide the final height of your trellis for grapes. For those with longer growing seasons and mild winters, such as in southern regions, a taller trellis of 7-feet is recommended, whereas in areas that endure very cold winter weather and shorter growing seasons, a shorter trellis of around 5-feet is recommended.

Geneva Double Curtain Trellis for Grapes End View
Geneva Double Curtain Trellis for Grapes End View

Post Installation

It's not necessary to exactly copy the 'Y'-shaped post, but it should resemble it. For example, a 'T'-shaped post will work just as well. It's very much like a clothes line, but made with strong cabling, instead of clothesline.

The cables that the vines will be trained to need to be drawn taught and not sag, so the posts need to be buried a minimum of two feet for support, preferably deeper. 4x4 inch, pressure treated posts are ideal for strength and longevity. If you live in an area where you experience sustained freezing winters, your posts should extend into the ground to a depth of at least the frost line to prevent heaving. Frost depths of 36 to 42 inches are common, but vary from region to region. An 8-foot post sunk into the ground 3-feet, will leave a near perfect height of 5-feet above ground.

If you're just putting in three or four posts, each hole can be dug manually in about 10 to 20-minutes with a post hole digger. Dig and measure until you achieve your depth, and then drop in your posts. Making sure the posts remain plumb, either tightly tamp the soil around the posts, or fill the holes with concrete. Concreting them gives them immense stability and provides an excellent self supporting structure, eliminating the need for end bracing. This is especially good if you have limited area in your garden.

Cabling & Hardware

Stranded cable with vinyl coating will be very strong and will not slacken during temperature swings. The cables can be threaded through screw eyes at each end of the trellis, folded back on it self and fastened with two cable clamps, or for adjustability, add a turnbuckle for each cable. The cables are threaded through bored holes in the center posts.

For a 5-foot trellis, I recommend the first horizontal cable strung at about 18” off the ground, and the next one around the 36 to 38-inch mark. Then you can have one cable strung between the posts at each end of your ‘T’ topped posts. For a 7-foot trellis, the cables could be at 18”, 36”, and 54”, then your two cables at the top.

Trellis for Grapes
Trellis for Grapes

Planting and Care

Plant the grape vines 6 to 8-feet apart. After the first growing season, each vine will send out several shoots. Determine the best and most vigorous shoot on each planted vine. Train this one best shoot (cane) by tying it loosely with twine or cloth to the lowest trellis cable so as to facilitate its growth upward. At the end of the first growing season, prune off and eliminate any other shoots, so that you're left with that one cane, as these extra shoots are undesirable growths. In the following season, you'll see focused growth of this one remaining cane, as it thickens and lengthens. As this single main shoot becomes long enough, continue to tie the vine to the cabling, training it to the desired structure, shown above, as it grows.

Keep the base of the vines free of weeds, so that they won't siphon off vital nutrients that are intended for your grapes. This is very quickly and easily done by scraping the ground with a garden hoe, which will sheer off the tops of any weed growth.

Going into the third growing season, your grape vines will be poised to offer you a bumper crop of sweet, succulent, anti-oxidant rich grapes. Enjoy as wholesome snacks right off the vine or use to make your own wine!

It's really not hard work. It all starts with your own trellis for grapes proven design that'll turn your vines into grape production machines. You just need a basic plan and a little care. Enjoy!

Succulent Grapes from your Own Backyard
Succulent Grapes from your Own Backyard

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The Complete Grape Growing System

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