Spacing of grape vines along 8 foot trellis
Hello, We are setting up a trellis in a corner of our backyard in hopes of growing grape vines for fruit (fresh eating and preserves) and additional privacy above our fence during the warmer months. We are planning to build a trellis that is 8 feet tall. To accommodate hanging a hammock and space restraints, we are planning to space posts as follows: 5 feet apart, 10 feet apart, 10 feet apart, 8.5 feet apart and 8.5 feet apart. How should we space our vines? Could we simply grow between the trellises with a less vigorous variety in the 5 foot space or will the plants be too crowded? Thanks, Katie
Clackamas County Oregon
Spacing between rows is the easy one to explain because it really has nothing to do with the vine growth itself. The main factors are more about maneuverability, sunshine exposure, and air flow. The idea is to make sure that you have enough room to work your plants comfortably. 5'-6' between rows is recommended if you are working the plants by hand. Use 5' if you have a smaller area and you need to take full advantage of your available land. Vine spacing within the row can be 6 to 9 ft. apart. A typical spacing might be 8 ft. apart to accommodate normal growth.
Based on a 6' tall trellis system, using a simple VSP (Vertical Shoot Position), anything below 5' between rows can cause one row to shade the next and also cause poor air circulation. Good air flow through the canopy helps control fungus disease. Most importantly, plant your vines in rows for best airflow and maximum sunlight.
The planting hole should be about 8" wide by 8-12" deep. If you have a grafted vine, then make sure the graft union is at least 2-4" above ground level. The root system should fit comfortably in the hole.
Moreover, take time to understand the growth habits of the particular grape variety you have chosen.
For a wealth of information about grapes please refer to OSU’s booklet Growing Table Grapes.
Good luck and happy gardening.