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Wire Frames

Wire frameworks are a classic, million-times tried-and-true system for fruit growing (viticulture, arboricutlure), and can -- with stainless steel cable-- also be used in the home 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 pre-assembled 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

In the vineyard, wire frames are often over 50 metres long. The trellises, subjected to the force of wind, loosen and sag-- an aesthetic defect but not a functional one. In commercial orchards, the wires are then usually left slack and then retensioned every few years. In a private/house garden, short wire frames usually only have 2 -3 stakes; for this-- small-scale free-standing row of espaliered vines-- FassadenGrün offers stainless steel cable system 0050.

Single or Double Wires

Wire frames in vineyards usualy have 2 wires- so called "double wires" on each tier. 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, double wires are generally not needed.

Suitable Climbing Plants

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) is used. 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- a proven choice for a small installation in a private garden
Stainless steel wire rope and accessories
Simplest wire frame

The most basic wire frame: here, rot-resistant pointed robinia stakes are hammered into the ground (life span 10-25 yrs); the wires or ropes hang slack because high loads are created in taut wires which tend 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 for raspberries-- without any guy ropes or reinforcement of the stakes to increase stability, and therefore with relatively slack wires to avoid pulling on the stakes. Three methods are possible to reinforce the solidity of such a structure: The three variants described below are available for additional bracing:

- Tensioning/Guying (standard solution)

- Stakes/support posts (strut)

- Cross (transverse) beam

 

Wire frame with ground spikes

The use of a metal spike on the base of the post makes it possible to use less rot-resistant wood and increase the life of the post. (Place the metal spikes in the ground, insert and screw the stakes/posts into them.)

Alignment with water level

Aligning the height of the posts is most easily done using the middle post as a reference. Once all the stakes/posts are driven in at the same height, the holes for staple nails or continuous wire ropes are marked and drilled.

Hammering down a post with a hand rammer

Drive in a stake by means of a post/pole 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 stakes/posts are cut to miter as precisely as possible and screwed to the end posts. Here-- in a vineyard -- galvanised lock screws were used instead of stainless steel. The aggressive robinia wood, however, already dissolves the zinc coating, as you can see from the discolouration.

Reinforcement via 'Guy Ropes'

tensioning with wire rope

Usually the end posts 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 about 2/3 the height of the post to prevent the post from bending in the direction of the tensioned wires or stainless steel cables.

Double-wires on a espalier construction

Vertical end post of a row of vines, supported with guy lines and double 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."

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 tensioners (turnbuckles) of the guy ropes are hooked directly into the ground anchors.

Tensioning of growing cable

Special case of horizontal guying. 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 screwed into the ground like a screw and can support a load of several hundred kilograms.

Wire frame system

The system 0050 is also useful when, for example, a neighbor does not want to see a hole in his wall (that is, you can't drill into a post, etc.). Here, dark varnished wooden posts were placed in metal ground spikes and fitted with zinc-plated cover caps (available in hardware stores). The guying of one side (in the photo above right) was done with a horizontal stainless steel cable mounted into another boundary wall.

Reinforcement via a Support Post

Posts supported from the inner side

As an alternative ('variant 2') to the guying described above, supporting stakes (made of e.g. robinia/lokust wood) can be used-- dug in and set on a stable pressure plate. This can be a natural stone slab, rock, or brick. The earth should first be compacted under the slab. Install the posts so that they 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 slanted supporting post in a vineyard near Meißen/Saxony; here made of reinforced concrete. The posts are inserted into notches.

Ground sleeve

A pressure-treated, weather-proof, darkly varnished wooden post for a trellis of vines in a ground spike (ground sleeve). Use long spikes at least 900 mm (35.43 inches) long.

Reinforcement via 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 with wooden crossbars. This third variant of reinforcement is particularly relevant for smaller trellis frames in the home garden.

Cross beam with head straps

Additional slanted struts 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 Ways of Tensioning

Wire frame with vertical wires

In some cases it may be a good idea to tension cables vertically, especially for voluble twiners, since they love to wrap themselves around vertical supports. 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 is 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. A ground anchor is screwed into the bottom centre. 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 changing the direction of the wires ropes, the ring screw element WH 06061 was used here.

Braiding of wire rope

Climbing aid made of intersecting soft wire-cable. Thin stainless steel wires are fundamentally "softer," more malleable, and thus more easily guided into angled forms, especially for short distances. In such cases, the comparatively harder wire makes tensioning more difficult.

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: If the length of the row is longer than 4 or 5 metres (13.1234 feet), additional posts are required (at intervals of every 4 or 5m). 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 the midway posts and secured with clamping rings.

 

Climbing aid made of wire rope

It is often more effective to tension a pair of wires (a "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 viticulture (commercial wine and fruit growing), galvanised metal stakes with the addition of aluminum ("Crapal" quality) are often used--  here, an intermediate post in a row of vines.

High posts of a trellis construction

Installations with system 0050 can be susceptible to lateral wind pressure, especially in exposed positions with full vegetation. When in doubt, go with longer ground sleeves (drive them in as far as possible), reduce the height of the posts and the amount of tension in your ropes- or use double 'guying' (tension-anchoring) at the end of each row.

Zinc die-cast wire tensioner

FassadenGrün recommends and sells this cable tension adjuster (GS-Nirosta), which can be added even after the wires have been mounted- onto taut or slack wires (to some extent also onto 3mm / 0.11 inch wire)- without cutting the wire, and can be finely tensioned at any time with a spanner/wrench.