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Best time to install trellis?

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Bkat

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We're planting 150 vines and I've read some advocate installing the trellis, then planting. On the other hand, reading Grapeman's excellent thread Vineyard From The Beginning there seems to be a certain logic to getting the vines established, then installing trellis the following spring. Any thoughts? With farm workload, the latter has a lot of appeal, unless I'm missing something. Thanks.


 

bumblebeetuna

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Anytime before the second season is fine, no right or wrong. The first acre I did it first, while the second acre I did the following year. It is easier to get a tractor in and out doing it first.
 

BigH

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I installed my trellis during the summer of our first growing season. Ran the tractor and post hole digger perpendicular to the rows. It worked out ok. Time would not have allowed me to build the trellis first.

What equipment are you planning to use to plant vines and to set posts? Do you think you could build the trellis before the vines arrive and it is time to plant?

H
 

Bkat

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A post hole digger on a sub-compact is sorta the plan. Unless there's a better way? With everything else going on, probably not feasible to build trellis first. I had thought about perpendicular so glad to hear it works.
 

BigH

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Newine

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I finished the trellis after planting on the first four rows I established. Never again. Added another row last year, trellis first very easy. Adding four more rows this spring and the trellis will be in first. Hate playing catch up and
working around things when it's so much easier to do without plants in the way. Thinks it's a personal deal
 

Newine

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Coming from a construction background I approached it like I would in construction. Layed out all holes for post and grape Vines and then ran my tractor with augur straight down the line. Drilling holes for posts and grapes at same time. Did all of this after running a single bottom plow ass deep as I could through the whole area in fall, layering a bunch of composted manure and waste hay in it, letting soak in all winter, then tilling it in good in spring as early as I could, then start the trellis and grape vine holes.
 

Bkat

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I see logic in planting and trellis in one swoop, although workload issues concern me a bit. I wouldn't want to drill a hole for the vines then leave it sit for any length of time to dry out. We avoid the plow whenever we can. Way too hard on the soil and all that dwells within it. Section in question was overwintered in cover crop which winter killed. Just disced that in a few days ago and, a couple days before planting time I'll harrow it to knock back any weeds that might be lurking. Once vines are planted I'll probably mulch with composted manure and old hay or straw.
 

Newine

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Yeah, my ground is 11 acres that was part of a typical corn field on a clay based soil when I bought it in 2011. First garden I dug you could not find an earth worm. I have since planted a combination of native grasses and pasture mix. Stopped herbicides and pesticides and have been spreading composted manure and waste hay as well as incorporating it deeper into the soil via a plow and once in a while roto tilling. First year tested soil and adjust pH. Tilling areas before permanent plantings like my orchard and vineyard. Now we have earth worms everywhere! Bee houses that are used. Preying mantis ("seeded" those) and we see frogs, toads and turtles, we are on a hill! So we try to take care of the ground and everything that lives in it and on it. Sounds like your of a similar mind set. We even frequently have a small (12 to 18) group of pheasants that eat bugs in our 1/4 acre garden, we raise a few grass fed beef (my source of composted manure) with no outside inputs and no growth hormones (my source of meat, besides wild game). I work full time and would rather over work myself, timing everything to be done in a one fell swoop. My added rows this year will only be a couple hundred vines so I will get it done quick and because I've incorporated a fair amount of organics in my clay soils it will not get much of a chance to dry out. Again, it's kind of a personal thing how you approach it, I try to avoid doing things that reduce my productive time. That's why I advocate for doing trellis before vines are planted, just me. Like to think I am neither wrong not right, just doing me.
 

Bkat

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Sounds like you're somewhere in the Corn Belt? Ours too was badly abused soil from years of Big Ag corn/beans. What is supposed the "best soil on earth" was all but devoid of life and, when disced, turned giant clay boulders rather than actual living, crumbly earth. What really instilled a sense of the damage wrought was when I was hand-digging a hitching post on the other side of our windbreak, where it had never been farmed. I found 24" of rich black earth before I even touched clay. A reminder of what once was...

We're still a work in progress (I figure another 1,000 years and we'll be well on our way to the start of some good prairie soil) but we now have abundant wildlife that has returned. In addition to earthworms and a variety of fauna, we have a colony of about two dozen killdeer that nest on our little parcel each summer since its a rare green spot in a vast sea of cornstalks around us.

Needless to say, we do not use chemical herbicides or pesticides. I've seen first hand what they can do and it isn't good. I know growing grapes this way is a challenge in the humid Midwest, but it can be done. Besides, everything else we grow is organic so I'm on a first name basis with a lot of bugs and weeds.

But anyways, grape growing, if done wisely, can fit in nicely with low-impact cropping of land.
 

Newine

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Yep, North East Nebraska. We are on a hilly little bit. When I was installing some augered fence posts in the bottom of a Swale I found a lot of that black top soil that had washed down off the tops of the hills and had similar thoughts.
 

balatonwine

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It depends. Such as what types of grape you are growing.

We had a excavator come in and drill a few thousand holes for planting. If the trellis wire was there, it would have been the way, and that would not have been possible.

But the sooner you can get the trellis installed, the better.

That being said, I planted a few years ago, and still have not installed the full trellis. Because not all my vines have needed all the wires yet. Yes, the posts are in, but not all the wire. So I could spread out that cost over several years (Note: I use a VSP trellis for vinifera, not a top wire one, so your needs may differ)
 

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