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Wire Frames

Wire frameworks are a classic, million-times tried-and-true system for fruit growing, and can also be installed at home in the garden. Trellising with stainless steel cables is particularly practical for grapevines, raspberries, blackberries, or other espalier fruit trees. Here you can see the different possibilities, from the simplest wire trellising to the most complex pergolas. Under wire rope system 0050, you will find two of our ready-made kits.

Wire frame between two natural stone columns in a private garden
Wire frame between two natural stone columns in a private garden

Mounting with Supports

Dimensions

Wire frames in the vineyard are often more than 50 metres long. The trellises, subjected to the force of the wind, loosen and sag. This constitutes an aesthetic defect but not a functional one. In commercial orchards, the wires then usually remain slack or are retensioned every few years. In the house garden, short wire frames usually only have 2 -3 posts/supports; for this FassadenGrün offers stainless steel cable system 0050.

Single or Double Wires

Wire frames in vineyards often have 2 wires- so called "double wires" on each level. In addition, there are sophisticated spacers which keep the wires apart. All this makes fastening the vines to the wire frame easier: the vine shoots can be inserted more quickly between the wires, and tying is no longer necessary. In the house garden, however, double wires are superfluous for vines. 

Suitable Climbing Plants

The vine can be trellised just like fruit trees. In the home garden, wire frames are ideal for espalier fruit (for grapes, raspberries and blackberries)... Instead of stainless steel cables, simple wire of four or more horizontal lines (usually with double wire on each of the tiers). The sloped 'guy' ropes (tensioning ropes) are suitable for additional greening, e.g. with annual climbing plants.

Little vineyard with wire frameworks
Wire frame in viticulture, small vineyard in Taucha / Saxony
Stainless steel cable instead of single strand wire has proven itself for small but attractive plants in the house garden.
Stainless steel wire rope and accessories
Simplest wire frame

Here rot-resistant pointed (Robinia) stakes/posts are driven or, more simply-- hammered with a hand hammer (stake driver)-- into the ground (life span approx. 10-25 yrs), the wires or ropes hanging slack because high loads are created in tensioned wires which want to pull the lateral stakes inwards. The stakes should therefore be set at an angle to the outside right from the start, or better, braced using one of the three options below. 

Espalier for Raspberries

Here is an example of the simplest wire frame design--  a double espalier/trellis for raspberries-- without any reinforcement or stiffening of the posts, and therefore with relatively slack wires. The three variants described below are available for additional bracing:

- Tensioning (standard solution)

- Stakes/support posts

- Cross (transverse) beam

Wire frame with ground spikes

It is recommended to place galvanised goosenecks/hammer necks in the soil and to insert and screw the stakes/posts into them. In this way, less resistant wood can also be used, and with resistant wood, the life-span of the structure increases.

Alignment with water level

Aligning the height of all posts is most easily done using one of the middle posts. If each one is driven in at the same height, the holes for staple nails or continuous wire ropes are marked and drilled evenly on all of them.

Hammering down a post with a hand rammer

Drive in a stake by means of a pile driver. Such a device can be easily rented in wine or fruit-growing regions or at building supply and hardware stores. Every 2 or 3 strikes, the desired alignment is checked and corrected by means of a vertically positioned spirit level.

Screw position on posts

In the case of Robinia wood, the slanted support stakes/posts are cut to mitre as accurately as possible and screwed to the end posts. Here-- in a vineyard -- galvanised lock bolts are used instead of stainless steel. The aggressive Robinia wood, however, already dissolves the zinc coating, as can be seen from the discoloration.

Reinforcement by Means of Tensioning

tensioning with wire rope

Usually the final/end stakes are anchored in the ground at an angle towards the back. In vineyards, heavy stones are also buried in the ground with a wire attached, thus creating and strengthening the tension.

The anchors are not quite set on top but at approx. 2/3 the height of the stake/post to prevent the post from bending in the direction of the the tension wires or stainless steel cables.

Double-wires on a espalier construction

Vertical end post of a row of vines, supported with tensioning and doubled wires.

Slanted end posts at a vineyard

Slanted end posts in a small winter vineyard, Robinia trunks (whole, half or quartered) with almost vertical "guying" (tensioning).

Slanted wire rope fixation

With a slanted position of the end posts, the anchoring can be brought more vertically into the ground. This method is applied mostly in the vineyards to win the last few inches in a row of vines for the fruit-bearing 'leaf wall' or canopy. 

Tensioner after an earth anchor

The screwing tensioners of the guy ropes (tension wires) are hooked directly into the ground anchors.

Tensioning of growing cable

Special case of horizontal guying/tensioning. The wall eyelets required for it must be sealed in ('glued in') conically with compound mortar; plastic rawl plugs are not sufficient for such loads.

Earth anchor

FassadenGrün recommends this ground/earth anchor for an easy and optimal "guying" --tensioning/anchoring. It is driven into the ground like a screw and can support loads of several hundred kilograms.

Wire frame system

The system 0050 is also useful when, for example, a neighbor's garage wall may not be "bored (drilled) into." Here, dark glazed wooden posts were placed in metal ground spikes (impact sleeves) and fitted with galvanised (zinc plated) cover caps (available in hardware stores). The tensioning of one side (in the photo above right) was done with a horizontal stainless steel cable and a level into a boundary wall. Another example can be seen below in a photo.

Reinforcement via support post/stake

Posts supported from the inner side

As an alternative to the tensioning described above, support poles/stakes can also be used as a 2nd variation-- e.g from Robinia wood - and then dug in and set on a stable pressure plate. This can be a stone or a brick. the ground below the pressure plate must be compacted somewhat pressure-tight. When installing the poles, they should lean outwards slightly, to counteract the subsequent settling and tendency to shift inwards.

Espalier construction for blackberries

Trellis system for blackberries with double wires and staple nails and an additional support post in the middle.

Support / Bracing

End posts with a sloping post/stake in a vineyard near Meißen/Saxony; here made of reinforced concrete. The posts are inserted into notches.

Ground sleeve

A pressure-treated weather-proof, dark glazed wooden post for a trellis of vines in a commercially available ground sleeve/spike. Long sleeves/spikes have to be used with a length of 900 mm. (35.43 inches).

Reinforcement with a Cross Beam

Wire frame with cross beam

Long before there were wires in the vineyard, the individual posts were connected to each other and stabilised wooden crossbars. This third version of reinforcement is particularly relevant for smaller trellis frames in the house garden.

Cross beam with head straps

Additional slanted "head straps" are used to further reinforce such wire frameworks.

Schematic of a pergola

If transoms (cross beams), also called 'riders' are put above the climbing frame, the trellis frame becomes a pergola.

Alternative Forms of Tensioning

Wire frame with vertical wires

A vertical tensioning makes sense with, for example, twiners, because they love growing on vertical climbing aids. The easiest way is to guide the ropes through the cross beams (transoms) by drilling holes and fastening the ropes from behind with clamping rings.

Wire frame with hops

Hops on vertical stainless steel cables

Beans in Bloom

Beans also need vertical climbing aids

Wire in fan form

A fanlike tensioning looks particularly attractive

Wire spanning on a trellis frame

Combination of horizontal and fan forms on a climbing frame

 

Wire rope fans crossing one another

Here the ropes of several fans intersect each other, creating a dense vine braid. In the middle at the bottom, a ground anchor is screwed in. Eyebolts WH 06060 or inexpensive staples nails KN 04055 are screwed into the frame of the wood. A cable can also be carried by multiple eyelets (3 or 4), so that ultimately fewer cable clamps are required.

Fanned wire ropes

For the redirection (deflection) of the wires ropes, the characteristic/aesthetic element WH 06061 was used here.

Braiding of wire rope

Climbing aid made of soft wire-cable over-crossing or threading. Thin stainless steel wires are fundamentally "softer," more flexible and thus more easily guided into angled shapes (so forms with edges), especially for short distances. In such cases, the comparatively harder wire makes tensioning more difficult --kinking and threading eye bolts, as well as threading wires...

Through-hole fastening of an eyelet

For heavily-stressed eyelets (those serving as a 'feeder'  for multiple outlets), we recommend the eyebolt WM 08080.

Further Technical Details

Wire frame with intermediate post

Intermediate posts: Starting from lengths of approx. 4 m (13.1234 feet), posts should be placed at intervals of 4 - 5 m for wire frameworks. In the vineyard, long rows of 80 to 100 m length are formed in this way. 

Intermediate post and wire rope

Stainless steel cables pulled through intermediate posts and fixed with locking rings.

 

Climbing aid made of wire rope

It is often more effective to tension a pair of wires ("double wire") per tier instead of just one wire. Shoots of  growing plants can then not only be tied to a wire but be inserted between the 2 wires. The wires should be tensioned sequentially from top to bottom. 

Steel post for wire frame

In commercial wine and fruit growing, inexpensive galvanised and aluminum ("Crapal" quality) posts are often used. Here, an intermediate post in a vine row. 

High posts of a trellis construction

Installations with system 0050 can be susceptible to lateral wind pressure, especially in exposed positions with full vegetation. In any case of doubt, use longer ground sleeves/sockets (goosenecks), shorter heights, less rope tension or double and slanted 'guying' (tension-anchoring) at the ends.

Zinc die-cast wire tensioner

FassadenGrün recommends and sells this wire tension adjuster which can be retrofitted onto taut or slack wires (to some extent also onto 3 mm (0.11 inch) wire without cutting the wire, and can be finely tensioned at any time with a spanner/wrench.