What is the reason for the support structure?
Grape clusters are heavy! When your vines produce fruit, those bunches of grapes will cause the vines and branches to sag, bend, and break; you need a support to protect your fruit and your plant.
Growing your grapes on a structure also makes pruning easier. Since proper, regular pruning is vital to the health, strength, and productivity of your vines, that trellis or arbor is important to your viticultural endeavors.
Harvesting grapes is easier when your vines are trained to a frame, giving you better access to the fruit clusters. Weeding is also simpler when leaves and branches are growing above the ground and out of your way.
What makes a support structure?
- The most common grape trellis is the T-shape. Poles are put in the ground to support the vine’s main trunk, and wire or cables are stretched between those poles. Depending on how you choose to train your vines, the t-shape is the simplest trellis to deal with.
- Sometimes known as the high cordon trellis, the T-shaped arrangement is a straightforward method. With pruning and tying, train your vines to the wires; your plant will grow a strong main trunk, productive two-year vines, and plenty of new starts for the next season.
- The vertical shoot position method also uses posts, but instead of one or two wires, posts are strung with six to eight wires and the grape vines are trained into a hedge-like arrangement.
Do I have to use one of those methods?
There are other options for supporting your grape vines as they grow. Anything that is sturdy and allows the vine to be trained for best growth can be used. Arbors are a good choice; they can bought one or built and provide great support. They not only provide support, but shade and a lovely garden feature, as well.
Other supports, such as chicken and hog wire, chain link, or lattice also serve nicely as support for your grape vines. The important thing is to make sure the structure is sturdy and well-grounded, and that your vines are trained to grow on it.