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RonObvious

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Our new vineyard seems to be off to a good start. We have the following vines in the ground here in central MA:

100 Seyval Blanc
50 Petite Pearl
50 Marquette
10 Aromello
10 Arandell

All seem to be growing well, so it's time for me to start thinking about trellising, and I have a few questions.

1) From what I understand, all of these varieties will do well on high-wire cordon training. That would make it easy as then I only have one training system to deal with. Does that sound correct?

2) Recommendations for end-posts? Searching my local big box stores, it's hard to find any landscape timbers longer than 8-feet, but that doesn't sound long enough to me. If I bury an 8-foot timber 2 feet into the ground and then tip it back away from the vines, it would only be somewhere around 5 or 5.5 feet high, which sounds barely high enough for high-wire. And that's with burying them only 2-feet in the ground, which again sounds like barely enough. Can I ask what others used for end-posts? How much did they cost and where did you buy them?

Thanks in advance!
 

grapeman

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Watch the landscape timbers- they only last a few years. Well treated round fence posts are better. Get about 6 inch by 9 feet for the ends and you can get away with 5 inch by 8 feet for inlne posts. Yes Top-wire will work for those varieties. Tractor supply usually has them and sometimes Lowes. I suspect other stores will carry them as well.
 

garymc

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I used those tilted back, wired to an earth anchor with a ratchet strainer. So far, so good. I'm 5'6" and I wanted the wires above my head. They are, barely.
 

grapeman

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Store names vary from region to region and you may need to check out a few to find what you want. Here Tractor Supply is common and they carry several sizes and lengths. Don't worry about the name of the post as long as it is what you want.
 

jgmillr1

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I've used the 8ft ag posts from tractor supply and they've worked well. Still going strong after 5 years.

I recommend drilling holes through the wood for the wire. This way you never have to re-attach wire to the posts when it pulls out after a wind storm or winter heave. I also used angled anchor posts wired to the end post for support. The trellis wire is ratchet tightened in the middle of the row.
 

RonObvious

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So 8-foot posts, buried 2-feet in the ground, tipped back, what? About 30 degrees or so?

I must say it's good to know that others have used 8-foot posts with success. The few 9 or 10 footers I've found online seem to be very expensive, so this makes me feel better about keeping costs down.
 

jgmillr1

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Yes, 8ft posts that are in the 4-5 inch diameter range at a 30deg angle. I put them in as deep as the tractor auger reaches and the hand held fence post digger can clear out, about 30-36in deep. I then chainsaw off the top 4 feet of the post to use as an anchor at the other end of the row.

What is left is an angled anchor stub sticking out of the ground by a foot or so. I then tighten wire between the stub and the end post and crimp the wire. Nails are used to keep the wire from slipping along the wood. Once both anchor ends are wired, then I will install and tighten the top wire which also tensions the wire between the endpost and the anchor. I finally put in the low training wire that I don't bother to ratchet tighten (fence puller is enough).

Used this method a year ago with our vineyard addition and no real problems. Still had to go through and tighten up the wire a bit this spring. Maybe I shouldn't have tightened up the top wire so much until the anchors were set better in the loose soil. No real trouble otherwise.
 

jgmillr1

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That's right, I used a wood stub. I guess I'm overly concerned with inadvertently clipping the edge of the earth anchor with the mower. Using the wood anchor keeps the wire at least a foot above the ground.

That being said, I did put a few rows in place that were anchored with 4ft metal earth anchors and have managed to avoid hitting them. They do seem to do a better job staying tight than the wood stub posts. I put those in by hand though. If I were to put in hundreds of earth anchors, I'd certainly buy one of the tractor attachments to do it.
 

RonObvious

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Gotcha.
So what does your first actual post look like? Does it stand vertical or is it tipped back?
 

jgmillr1

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The first post is vertical. Since the grapes are trained to the top-wire, then the top wire is tensioned and this balances the tension forces with the wire between the end post and anchor.

Note that this configuration won't work if the bottom wire is tensioned for low-wire trained vines because of the torque it would generate on the end post.

Here is a sketch of the system.

trellis.jpg
 

UBB

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The first post is vertical. Since the grapes are trained to the top-wire, then the top wire is tensioned and this balances the tension forces with the wire between the end post and anchor.

Note that this configuration won't work if the bottom wire is tensioned for low-wire trained vines because of the torque it would generate on the end post.

Here is a sketch of the system.
That's how I have mine

 

grapeman

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When I first began I drilled through the posts like you mention. That is fine until the post rots off and there is no way to get the wire back out of the post without great difficulty. I have had to put in a new post near the original and just leave the rotted off post. I use large fence staples now instead. Yes those can pull out occasionally but you just put a new one in a bit from the original.
 

RonObvious

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Excellent - thanks for the diagram jgmillr1 and the beautiful picture UBB. I get it now. A few more quick questions for you:

1) Is the top wire the same wire that runs down to the stub? Or is the wire that goes from the stub tied off at the top of the post, and then a separate wire run for the top wire?

2) Do you use the same type of posts (round 8-foot fence posts) for the line posts as well? Or could one get away with metal t-posts or some cheaper wooden posts?
 

wfournier

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I'm Mass as well (near Amherst) and just planted a small vineyard this year (smaller than yours, starting with 64 vines).

I'm new to this so take this with a grain of salt, but based on the materials available to me locally I decided to go with H end posts using the 6" posts from Tractor Supply. At the end of my rows I have another post 7' from the end post and plan to put the brace at about 4' from the ground (a previous experiment with the higher let to the tension pulling the end posts out of the ground.

This should hopefully work similar to what's illustrated on page 11 here: http://www.prairiefirewinery.com/Cellar/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Vineyard-Trellis-Construction.pdf

Wellscroft Fence near Keene in NH lists longer posts (and they are running a sale this month as well). http://www.wellscroft.com/
 
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RonObvious

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Pleasure to make your acquaintance, wfournier! Lovely part of the state you live in - I love the Pioneer Valley. We're in Hubbardston, not too far away from you.

Thanks for the links - that PDF is very informative. I had not heard of Wellscroft before - they're not too far away, so I'll definitely check them out. The engineer in me really loves the H brace systems, but the lazy side of me is of the opinion that they may be too much work. ;) Sure looks very strong though.
 

jgmillr1

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Excellent - thanks for the diagram jgmillr1 and the beautiful picture UBB. I get it now. A few more quick questions for you:

1) Is the top wire the same wire that runs down to the stub? Or is the wire that goes from the stub tied off at the top of the post, and then a separate wire run for the top wire?
It is not the same wire that ties down to the anchor. I double-looped a wire from the anchor to the endpost and tightened it with a wire puller before crimping it. Then I looped and crimped the top wire around the end post.

2) Do you use the same type of posts (round 8-foot fence posts) for the line posts as well? Or could one get away with metal t-posts or some cheaper wooden posts?
Yes, I used the same wood posts for both line and end posts. The problem with metal posts for me is that the strong winds we get with t-storms that blow through will bend the metal posts because of the top-wire load causing a large torque. If you are somewhere less prone to severe weather then metal may work, though you may still have to use a metal t-post for each vine. Just consider the forces on the posts and how you will be able to support the wire. Cheaper posts are not necessarily less expensive in the long run if you have to replace them in a few years.
 

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