Trellis Hints

  1. Don’t string wire between trees. Dick did this and built a lightning rod that fryed two trees and vaporized the trellis along with a variegated Akebia.

  2. Avoid cheap trellises. They fall apart and are a bitch to replace after the vine has grown up. Build them so Orangutans can swing from them.

  3. Always try to trellis borderline plants on poorly insulated south facing walls and plan ahead for a place to staple microfoam to if you are going to cover them for winter. 

  4. Avoid using ties that girdle the plants. 

  5. Many vines look great scrambling through shrubs or small trees.

  6. Avoid planting something on your house that is likely to eat it.

  7. Try training a single stem up a pipe to make a weeping standard. If you want to get really fancy you can do a hollow braid around a piece of pipe which can latter be removed.

  8. If you must use that flimsy pressure treated lattice, sandwich it between two pressure treated 2 x 4’s. Better still, mark the outline on the inner and outer 2 x 4 and dado or route grooves so it fits flush. Then glue and screw the 2 x 4’s together. It will look like the lattice is growing out of the side of a 4 x 4 with no visible seam. For a more durable and massive trellis, use paired 4 x 8’s on either end and dado in grooves for 2 x 4’s for the actual lattice work. A few lag bolts and some glue and you are done.

  9. Glued up schedule 80 PVC pipe makes a fair trellis. Sweated or braised copper pipe is nicer still. For an adjustable trellis, there are socket fittings that lock with a hex screw that will work with either aluminum or galvanized pipe.

  10. If you are on a tight budget, pipe and channel can be easily scrounged from a junkyard for next to nothing and welded up. (It is mandatory that you watch a few episodes of Junkyard Wars to get in the proper spirit. Yes, teams, you have ten hours to build a combination suborbital glider and wisteria trellis.)