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DIY Hop Trellis

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Apimyces

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I've used the search function, and found a bunch of trellis ideas, but it's mostly all people proudly showing off what they've just built, and gives no idea if those concepts were durable or not.

I've got a bunch of temporary solutions for my hops right now, but I'm looking to make something a bit more long-term, planning on 7x 5m rows. At least 8' high, but probably closer to 18'.

My local co-op proposed 4x4s with stakes like this. I'm somewhat skeptical as to how stable this would be. I saw a few people with electrical tubes, but I have no idea what the price is on those and if it really works on the long term.

I'd really love some input from people who've had their treillis for a few years and have had time to ponder on what could have been made better or cheaper. :p
 

mirthfuldragon

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I would not trust the spike you length to handle a heavy hop load over the long term. Hop bines are heavier than they seem.

Something along the lines of 7 rows @ 5m each is almost commercial in size - if I were to go that big, then take a look at http://www.agriculture.vsu.edu/files/docs/agricultural-research/trellis-construction.pdf.

For something smaller, you could use heavy gauge fence post (like for chain-link fences) with eye bolts. My setup is below - I am on year four without any problems. Overall height is 13'. The uprights are 1.5" fence top rail, and in retrospect I would have gone with something heavier. At this point in the year, the cable is sagging another 6" or so with the weight - it is enough to pull the uprights closer together.

20170531_194117 (1).jpg
 

PapaBearJay

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Think long-term about what you're trying to accomplish. Do you want to breed hops or do you want to grow hops?

If the former, ask yourself what you're breeding for. If you want to breed for a shorter trellis (dwarf) hop, then you should probably start there. If not, then choose something larger. If you want flexibility then choose an intermediate height.

Once you've decided the height, you can determine spacing. Shorter trellis means you have a greater planting density. Higher trellis means a lower planting density.

Think long and hard first, until then you can put something less permanent in place.
 
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Apimyces

Apimyces

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Commercial? Hehe, maybe "dedicated enthusiast" level. Even if I were super lucky, that scale would yield me... a few dozen pounds of dried hops, I think? Take out expenses, don't think I'm gonna get myself a huge salary off that. ;)

Gave trellis height some thought this afternoon. It's no secret I have a personal interest in dwarves. That said, potential clients grow on conventional trellis, so if I can't get dwarves with competitive yields, then I can't limit myself to them. So I need at least some rows on traditional 18' trellis so I can run personal trials before submitting them to potential clients for evaluation. 2 of the planned rows are at a different spot, so I can make those 18', and the other 5' I could have lower, between 6.5' and 12', depending on potential materials to use.

And yea, I don't trust a single ground spike, tightened for a few inches at the base of a 4x4, to keep it stable very long. Forgot to mention, but my soil is heavy clay. I'd reckon spring thaw would likely end up moving it a bit over the years. That said, 5m is about 16.5'... I tend to space all of my fruit rows at 2m distances (6.5") and was thinking of sticking with that (no machinery; nice simple metric measures!). If I put a bunch of 2x4s to screw/bolt all the poles together, then it would probably be fairly stable.

The poles in the linked budget seem like overkill, at 80$ a piece, plus however the hell I install them. They are usually put at each 10m, and if I want rows that long, I'd need to dig a lot of gravel from my parking. Well, unless I space them east-west instead of north-south, but that still eaves the other issues. :p

Where does one find 13' fence poles? What kind of prices are we thinking of? Looks promising. Since it's half the length between posts, doesn't need to be as solid as a commercial trellis. For most of them they'd just be about half height too, so even less of a burden.

Whatever I use, 4x4s, fence posts, poles, at least I'll have multiple rows to be able to cross-wire everything into the ground to stabilize it. I don't have a large lot, but it's not a small residential yard either.
 

Kent88

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sub'd, carry on.

Particularly interested if someone has a nice design that incorporates a durable 2-person swing.
 
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Apimyces

Apimyces

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Wow, when they say people underestimate the weight of hops... I would not have thought this possible:

 

TeeJo

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It's not just the weight, it's a geezly big bloody sail that catches the wind.

TeeJo
 
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Apimyces

Apimyces

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Yea though the farmer said that didn't even happen during a storm!
 
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Apimyces

Apimyces

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After some hesitation, I think I'll be going with short trellis for the first 5 additional rows, keeping everything within arm reach (about 7.5' probably, I'll measure what height I can reach comfortably first :p). My garage is practically standard height already, so I can just use that spot for trialing for conventional trellis, and move the plants that are there elsewhere. I've got hundreds of shrubs I could move in as windbreaks, too, so half-rows with half-height (or less) should make for a much lower weight/sail issue.

Anyone's got any suggestions as to how deep to put posts in the ground? I would rather not use concrete. My soil is a heavy clay.
 

GiavaBear

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Hi Apimyces, just read through the thread and thought I'd add my amateur 2 cents! In the spring of this year I planted 3 rhizomes and 3 small hop plants. As they began to grow I planned my trellis around them. I placed the hop plants 8' apart from one another along the edge of my fence. I then began construction of the trellis. I wanted design and function with it, so I dug holes for 7 posts, again, 8' apart, beginning 4' on the "outer edge of the first plant, then the next in the middle of plant 1 and 2, exactly 4' from post to hop, to post to hop, and so on to the other end. Hopefully the pictures will make that explanation easier. Now, for the post holes, I dug down 2' into hard clay (thanks Colorado) 1 foot in diameter. I researched and found for 4x4 cedar posts, you should have at least 25% of above ground post length in the ground (8' posts, 25%=2' in ground). I used quikrete quick setting concrete to stabilize the posts in the 1' diameter hole (concrete a must, imho). After the concrete was set, I measured out and refined-cut some rough edge cedar 2x6 to go on both sides of the posts. I hung the leveled 2x6 beams. Then lastly, I attached the rafters to create the pergola trellis appearance. I hope this makes sense and helps you out!
 
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