There are a large number of designs for staking grapes. Each has different characteristics, and each is best for a different purpose. Understanding the composition of different vineyard trellis stakes can help you make an informed decision about what you require.
Things to Consider
When planning your vineyard design, there are a number of things to consider in order to get the best solution. For one vineyard trellis stakes might be needed. Others are perfectly functional with a less expensive option. There are other considerations as well, such as:
Know what size stakes and/or trellises the particular varietal demands. Knowing your soil and location is also important to determining the size of the plot and the required stakes to get the look you want.
- Slotted or not slotted
You will have to decide if the grapes you plan on will need slotted stakes or those with holes, or if they need solid stakes with not holes.
- Types of stakes available
There are a number of stakes available, but they basically involve either trellised stakes or plain stakes with no arms. There are variations as to the type of arms and wiring, and the type of posts used. All these things should be considered whether you are planning on using vineyard trellis stakes or simply center posts.
- Not all grapes require the same method of staking. The two main types of staking include:
These have wood and wire arms and wire trellises for the vines to trail on. They can go quite high with the higher wire trellises.
- Posts only
These are just heavy posts that come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different varietals. Some varietals do better with this method of staking that they do with trellises.
Parts of Vineyard Trellis Stakes
This is the main, center post beside which the dormant grapevine is planted. There is usually a collar or acrylic box surrounding the young vine the first year to provide a special climate for its health and superior growth.
- Wire System
This is the wires attached to the center post, usually with wood supports, that allow a surface for the vines ‘arms’ to attach to so that they will be supported when they bear their heavy load of fruit. These are sometimes built up in layers, going higher than the center post height to give the grape clusters a way to hang undisturbed to grow and ripen.
These are heavy wooden beams that are used to support the whole trellis system. There are end posts, side posts, and center posts. The use of these depends on the design of the vineyard and the needs of the particular variety of grape being grown.
- Earth anchors
These are metal augered stakes that help hold the end posts steady when the soil conditions are such as to require them. They give extra stability in soils that are too soft or sandy to hold the end posts steady.
There is software available that will design a vineyard to your specifications, determining when vineyard trellis stakes are needed and when stakes only will suffice. These are available to individuals, but are also available through companies that sell the supplies and make the services of this software available for free to help you plan the perfect design.
Claire loves every aspect of grapes, including vineyards. She has studied the benefits of different methods of staking, and has strong opinions about them. She feels that for home grapes, vineyard trellis stakes are the way to go. She has written about the method of staking before. She has written much about how to set up and maintain the home vineyard for optimum growth and the most delicious grapes. This includes writing about some resources such as planning software.